Saturday, September 4, 2010

Americans "Lose" an Average of 459 Million Vacation Days Each Year

Over-worked, over-tired, and stressed-out American workers have one more thing to worry about this coming Labor Day—how many vacation days they could potentially be losing this year. And if the President of the United States, who famously has enjoyed numerous vacations this year, can find time to get away so often, then shouldn't everyone?

The fact that people are not using all of their vacation days is well documented and the statistics are staggering. According to data released in a 2009 Expedia Vacation Deprivation Study, U.S. adults—who only receive an average of 13 vacation days per year—typically leave three days unused. When considering that the U.S. Bureau of Labor & Statistics has recorded approximately 153 million employed Americans, this means that each year an average of 459 million vacation days are going unused in the United States.

Proving that point, a 2010 survey by suggests that close to half (45%) of working Americans let hard-earned time-away go to waste in 2009; furthermore, three-quarters (78%) anticipate leaving as many as 10 vacation days on the table in 2010. Why the annual commitment to all work and no play? Most confess that coordinating schedules with family and friends is too difficult (51%) or they are not able to afford a "real vacation" (40%); others admit it is less about personal situations and more about work-life being too busy to enjoy time away (47%). While consumers express pessimism towards the possibility of a work escape, adults who choose to go on vacation feel reconnected with the family (53%), more productive and positive about their jobs (34%), as well as the health benefits of being rested and rejuvenated.

"Vacations are not a luxury, they're a necessity," says John de Graaf, Executive Director of Take Back Your Time, a nonprofit organization that studies issues related to overwork. "Men who take them are 32% less likely to suffer from heart disease than those who don't. For women, it's 50%. And women who don't take vacations are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression. Pass them by at your peril."

Based on the overwhelming facts, it's no surprise that Royal Caribbean encourages consumers to use their hard-earned vacation days and is reminding them that everyone needs to get away every now and then. Championing a "cruise them, don't lose them" message, Royal Caribbean is giving vacation-deprived consumers encouragement to leave their desks behind in favor of some much needed rest and relaxation. The cruise line has recently launched the video below—Vacation Daze—showcasing the irony of letting vacation days expire and the absurdity of this unfortunate reality.

"The average American spends 261 days commuting, filling out time sheets and wondering what's for dinner. As Labor Day marks the end of summer, we wanted to shine a spotlight on this perennial issue and also remind people to take a much needed and hard-earned break, even if it's just for a couple of days," states Betsy O'Rourke, SVP Marketing, Royal Caribbean.

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