Dear Americans: Please Use Your Vacation Days

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Marriott Resorts. All opinions are 100% mine.

 

I've more or less grown up having “the American Dream” shoved down my throat.

Okay, so perhaps it wasn't quite *that* dramatic. But I was definitely pressured from a young age to do well in school. Why? So I could get into a good college. Why? So I could get a good job. Why? So I could make lots of money. Why? So I could be happy.

You see, here in the U.S., money is inexorably tied to the concept of happiness. Many people believe it's the only road to happiness – that if you don't make piles of money, you'll never be happy.

I definitely don't buy into this. Sure, having enough money to pay your bills and live comfortably is important, and probably DOES contribute to a person's overall happiness. But the pursuit of happiness for many people (and many Americans especially) has morphed into just simply a pursuit of money.

We work longer hours, more jobs, and for more years of our lives. And this definitely has adverse effects on other parts of our lives.

Like taking time off and actually, you know, LIVING.

Geirangerfjord

In 2014, 42% of Americans went the entire year without taking a single day of vacation, according to a survey by Skift. FORTY-TWO PERCENT. That's almost HALF of the American workforce going a year without taking a day off work.

Now, in the US, companies aren't required to offer their employees any amount of paid vacation time. And, if you don't get paid time off, many people simply can't afford to take a vacation. BUT, the thing is, many Americans DO get at least 10 days of paid time off. And yet many still don't take it.

Why? Some say they are too afraid of work piling up. Others feel like no one else can do their job. And others (and a vast majority of others, from my own experience) are afraid of being fired for taking time off. (Which, really, is awful. If your company offers you paid time off, but then makes you feel like taking that time off will lead to you losing you job… that's just not cool.)

I understand the hesitancies about taking time off work – but I also know how important it is both physically and mentally to take a break.

Sunset at Fort Island Gulf Beach in Florida

Why Vacations Are Good For You

There's been plenty of research done in recent years surrounding the importance of getting away from the office. And here are some arguments for why you SHOULD take advantage of that vacation time:

1. Your brain needs downtime. When your brain is constantly being bombarded by information and work assignments and office drama, it eventually gets bogged down. And when your brain gets bogged down, it just doesn't function at its best any more. And if your brain isn't firing on all cylinders, chances are your work is going to suffer.

2. Time off can help reduce stress. Work, for many people (most people, in fact) can be stressful. Especially if you're working a job where you feel at-risk of being fired if you take a day off. Being under stress for long periods of time it not good for you though – it can actually change your brain and make you less-equipped to deal with more stress in the future. But, going on vacation once or twice a year can help alleviate a lot of this stress. In fact, Gallup reports that Americans who take regular trips have “significantly higher well-being” than those who don't go on vacation.

3. You'll be more productive. Speaking of that well-being, getting away from work and stress and routine often means that you'll be more productive when you come back from a holiday. You'll be refreshed and reinvigorated, and those creative juices will once again be flowing.

4. Planning a trip makes people HAPPY. It's just a fact – having a trip to look forward to almost always puts a spring in a person's step.

Not only are vacations fun, but taking time off can actually make you a healthier, happier person. It's been like, proven. By science and research and stuff.

So Americans, what are we waiting for? Let's take some vacation time!

Why Vacations Are Good For You

The Celebrate Summer Event

In order to help you out with using up some of those vacation days you've been ignoring, U.S. Marriott Resorts is running its Celebrate Summer Event right now.

Basically, for every night you stay at a participating Marriott Resort in the U.S., you get up to $100 per day in resort credits to be used on-site for food, spa treatments, a round of golf, etc. They are essentially giving you free money – up to 100 bonus dollars to spend each day you stay. Which means you get to worry less about your budget and focus more on your holiday.

You may just associate Marriott.com with hotels, but the brand actually has 34 resorts across the U.S., too. And these resorts are pretty darn cool. They focus on low-frills luxury – meaning you can enjoy personalized touches, yet still wear your shorts and flip-flops into the lobby without feeling out of place.

And, in case you aren't sure which U.S. Marriott Resort would be right for you, here are some of the cool things you can look forward to:

  • Make s’mores at a nightly campfire at the JW in San Antonio
  • Catch a concert at L.A. LIVE
  • Try the sushi at the Marco Island Marriott
  • Take a surf lesson at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa

All of the resorts are different, and all cater to families and couples looking for a unique getaway. And summer is the perfect time to take advantage of a deal like this.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

There are a few Orlando hotels participating, too!

In that same Skift survey I mentioned earlier, they found that even LESS people took vacation time during the summer last year. More than 43% of Americans sat behind desks and in cubicles for the WHOLE summer. That means no beachy getaways. No endless rounds of golf. No hiking or climbing or adventuring of any kind.

That makes me sad.

Please, Americans, take advantage of this Celebrate Summer Event and go treat yourself to a vacation. You don't have to go very far or even stay away for very long – but go. Somewhere. At least for a few days.

You have between now and September 7 to take advantage of the Marriott Celebrate Summer Event and book a getaway. I challenge you to break away from the status quo and actually USE some of those vacation days this summer.

So where do you stand? Do you use all the vacation days afforded to you? If not, will you pledge to do so this year?

 

32 Comments

  • Rachel says:

    This blows my mind too! I’m ready to use all the days! I’d be happy to take them off other people’s hands if they don’t want them lol.
    Rachel recently posted..The Gift: Movie Review

    • Amanda says:

      Haha I always say that, too! As a freelancer, I don’t get any paid vacation days (though since I’m a freelancer I can more or less work from anywhere), so I’m always telling people that I’d gladly use their unused PTO!

  • It’s so sad that Americans can’t take time off or that they simply won’t. Life’s too short to work all the time! And I completely agree, planning vacations makes you happy! I always have at least one trip or another in the works so I have something to look forward to.
    Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders recently posted..Five Things Friday {Week 39}

    • Amanda says:

      I agree that life’s too short to work all the time! But unfortunately a lot of people don’t feel that way – or they buy into the whole “I’ll travel and enjoy life when I retire” line of thinking. :/

  • Sam says:

    I live in the UK. Most entry level jobs here give you 25 days paid vacation time a year. I’m up to 30 days now, having worked for the same company for seven years. Every year, I make sure I take every single day that I’m entitled to. No-one I know would even think of forfeiting vacation time. It seems to be such a different mentality!

  • Emma says:

    It’s so awful companies don’t have to give you any time off! Even those who get, say 10, I really feel for – I can totally understand that it would be demotivating to travel when you feel you can’t really see anywhere fully, and would use up some of that time travelling but as you’ve written it’s still really worth it to use the days that you do have – even if it’s just to relax at home, or travel within the US and/or nearby countries.
    Emma recently posted..Topdeck Blue Lagoons Tour Review

    • Amanda says:

      10 is definitely better than 0, but yeah… still not great! If you want to travel out of the country, you pretty much only have enough time for one trip a year. 🙁

  • Eden says:

    Life is too short to work all of the time. This makes me sad, knowing people don’t use their pto to refresh themselves and actually live. I use my pto every now and then for big things like Comic Con or Sakura Con, but I also use one day of my two days off to always find somewhere to go hiking every week, too. Though I must admit that sometimes not having enough money to set aside to save up for a vacation is part of the reason I don’t use more of my pto to go on vacation more often. I’m working on that lol I personally believe in living ones life to the fullest and being able to go out and explore the world around me (even if it is just my own “backyard” for now) is the best way to do it.

    • Amanda says:

      And that’s a fantastic way to look at things! You don’t necessarily have to go far in order to take time off and/or have an adventure!

  • Priya says:

    It was such an eye opener when I was living in Australia where the people I worked with had tons of vacation time. It was a normal thing. I’d always run into someone who went away for 4-6 weeks. Sometimes longer. Whereas in the US you’re lucky to get 2 weeks.
    Priya recently posted..All The Things I Ate On A Cruise Ship

    • Amanda says:

      Exactly! We often think of places like Australia and the UK to be basically the same (culturally) as the US. But the truth is, the culture is quite different, especially when it comes to recognizing the importance of taking time off!

  • As an Australian this is so crazy to me! There is a completely different mentality in the States.
    Christina Soong recently posted..Celebrating 4 Years of Blogging

  • Adilah says:

    I am one of those lucky Americans that can accrue up a month of vacation a year….and while I dont take a month of vacation each year I do try to take 2-3 weeks vacation each year. What boggles my mind with americans not taking vacation is that they say they have no money….ok granted thats a valid excuse if you dont get pto…but if you do get pto and are still broke then take a staycation! their always fun things to do where you live. I will never be one of those people who will have countless unused vacation time hahaha.

    • Amanda says:

      YES! That’s what I don’t get, either. Like… if your company will literally pay you NOT to come to work, why wouldn’t you take advantage?? Even if you can’t afford to go abroad or fly somewhere, stay-cations can be just as relaxing.

  • Camille says:

    Oh wow, I would get burnt out so quickly without any time off! I understand the pressure to prove yourself at work, but when I worked in an office job I made sure I always had a trip to look forward to, and planning it really helped me deal with the stress…
    Camille recently posted..4 Reasons To Quit Your Job and Travel The World… and 1 Reason Not To!

    • Amanda says:

      I’m with you! Back when I was working full-time (and then when I was in grad school), having trips to look forward to was the only thing that kept me sane!

  • Leigh says:

    Yes times 1000! I have clawed my way up to 4 weeks PTO per year and it’s the main thing keeping me at this company! I have 13 people who work for me, and can only recall 1 or 2 ever taking a full week off in the last few years! Some like to bank it up for emergencies like sick kids, and many just don’t have the travel bug that you, me and your readers have. But, still, I equate it to working for free if you don’t take advantage!

    As for myself, I have a spreadsheet to keep track so that I can max out my time off and accurately plan future trips, as I don’t leave much of a cushion in my PTO bank!
    Leigh recently posted..Backpacking Gear List

    • Amanda says:

      “Still, I equate it to working for free if you don’t take advantage” – YES! Even if people don’t have the “travel bug,” that doesn’t mean they have to let PTO go to waste! Staycations or just taking a few days off here and there to sit at home and do nothing can be really restorative, too!

  • Jen says:

    The only time I ever didn’t take my vacation days was if I was stockpiling them for something big. And even then, I’d take a day off here or there. I can’t imagine not taking a single day off in a year! That’s crazy talk! I’m a freelancer now and don’t get paid vacation (although I do make my own schedule so I can’t complain!) but if I did you’d better believe I’d take it! Getting away is good for you AND good for your employer. Who wants employees that don’t have lives outside of work?!
    Jen recently posted..Read This: All the Wild That Remains

    • Amanda says:

      Plus there’s so much research that shows that taking time off work actually makes you a better employee! So yeah… not sure why some companies still don’t give PTO, and why many people still don’t take time off!

  • Michelle says:

    Too many let their vacation days expire year after year. I used to be the same way and would let anywhere from 1-3 just go to waste. UGH! Now I’m self-employed though so I don’t have that problem 🙂
    Michelle recently posted..How I Made $25,138 Online In July Plus My 4 Year Blogiversary

    • Amanda says:

      At least you didn’t let them ALL go to waste! The only way I can understand not taking all your days is if they roll over to the next year (and you’re “saving up” for a big trip), or if you can cash them in at the end of the year and you really need the money. But for the people who literally let them go to waste? Madness!

  • As an American (and one who knows how true these statistics are for so many people), I cannot imagine not taking a vacation! I was actually speaking to a family member who has accrued ONE YEAR of vacation time because he never goes away – the horror!
    Chanel | Cultural Xplorer recently posted..The Best of Bermuda

  • Jordan says:

    Good points here. We often get so caught up in work and what we should be doing to succeed that we forget to take a moment and enjoy life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here!

  • Love this post! One of the reasons I swore off my regular 9 to 5 was employees were generally encouraged to forego vacation days. I’ve never understood the need to work so hard in the US, especially if never being able to experience these places is the tradeoff. So thanks for the public service announcement 🙂

    Beautiful shots you captured here also, this looks like too much fun.
    Travel Guide Collin recently posted..75 Awesome Facts About Belgium

  • MICHELL says:

    Commenting on an old post, but I accrue a set number of days to take a year. I also work 12-hour shifts so I work 3 days a week. So *in theory* I have four days to do what I want every week. But my company tells me I can’t take off vacation days because they can’t find coverage. I submit my request months in advance, and then a month before the days requested off, I’m told I can’t go. It has me seriously considering job options.

    • Amanda says:

      That’s awful and frankly should not be allowed. In Europe, most companies are *required* to give employees a set number of days off per year, and I have friends in the UK who have actually been forced to use their paid time off! I would probably be considering other job options in your case, too…

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