We’re FinallyTaking Vacations
It looks like American workers have finally realized they don’t need to leave vacation time unused
First some stats that will sound familiar: The average unused paid time off in 2021 was 4.6 days. In 2020, American workers left an average of 33%, or 5.6 days, of paid time off on the table, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
But here's some promising news: 57% of Americans have taken a vacation of at least a week, to a destination 100 miles or more away from home, in the last year—an increase of 44% from the previous year.
According to Allianz Partners USA's 14th Annual Vacation Confidence Index, it marks the highest percentage of participants who have reported traveling since 2009. Further, per the survey, 74% say they now consider an annual vacation important, a 1% increase from last year but a 14% increase from 2019.
After “Hot Vax Summer” was interrupted by the dawn of the delta variant, and the winter holidays were overshadowed by omicron, this summer is expected to lead to the “Great Vacation.” According to Fast Company, employees are finally cashing in their saved-up PTO days—all at once—and some workplaces are struggling to keep up.
But who can blame anyone for wanting to escape our little Zoom boxes, if only for a bit. We know now that it's not a real vacation unless you can really disconnect. And that's been something Americans have struggled with for a while. (“I'll be on vacation with limited access to email” sound familiar?)
Sure, travel seems to be somewhat hellish at the moment. And you might have work waiting for you when you get back, but even if you don't go anywhere exotic. Take the time you've earned and vacate your everyday drudgery. Nobody looks back and wishes they'd taken less time off, right?
Fortune examines why taking a vacation actually makes you better at work.