Americans have a problem with taking time off. Despite getting less vacation time than some of our European counterparts (hello Sweden), research shows we don’t even use the days we’ve been given. According to our 2017 American Vacation Time Study, just about half of travelers said they don’t use all their vacation days (45 percent).

Why does this matter? The reasons extend beyond getting to sleep in (though we won’t complain about that). So read on to see why you should be setting the out-of-office more often.

No Regrets

Of those travelers who reported missing the mark on taking time off, the overwhelming majority (74 percent) said they regret it. In fact, it was the single biggest career regret among this group (38 percent), ahead of choosing the wrong career path (27 percent), not negotiating salary (26 percent), and taking a job solely for the money (9 percent).

Work Martyrs Don’t Win

While there may be a perceived belief that more face time means more money, self-proclaimed work martyrs are less likely (79% to 84%) to report receiving a raise or bonus in the last three years than those who do not subscribe to the work martyr myth. Don’t be a work martyr.

Better Health and Well-being

Feeling stressed from work? Yeah we’ve all been there. Taking a few days off can be a great remedy for your anxiety and mental well-being. Working over 40 hours a week, week after week isn’t great for anyone’s health. Taking even just a day or two every now and then is a great way to restart and refresh your mental and physical health.

Boost Your Productivity

Burning out is a real thing. I myself know that sometimes just having one day off can help with my energy levels at work. Think about the last time you went for a walk or decided to work out and then came back to work—that feeling can be multiplied when you take a few days off. It can also help with your overall work/life balance.

You’ll Find Your Inner Picasso

Being around the same environment can dampen on your innate ability to explore and understand your surroundings. Going on a trip can help spark your creativity and allow you to connect subjects at work together that you might not have been able to connect prior to your vacation. 

There’s Billions of Dollars on the Table

By not taking your vacation you are leaving money on the table. For every vacation day you don’t use you are donating money and time to your employer—money and time you earned and definitely deserve.

You Don’t Want to Be Selfish

Besides losing money yourself, the economy is also losing out. Overall the economy lost over $236 billion in 2016 because of unused vacation days. The spending lost could have supported over 1.8 million American jobs.

You Get to Travel

Despite this being the last tip, it’s our favorite reason for taking time off (surprise, surprise). Got days left to take off this year? Check out some great flight deals for the last few months of the year.

All products and services mentioned on Airfarewatchdog are independently selected by our team of expert travelers. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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