Why Vacations Matter—and Why Americans Are Lagging

After a long commute, you arrive at work to 119 unread emails. While cleaning your inbox, your phone rings. It’s an unhappy customer—whom you struggle to hear because your chatty coworker is gossiping one cube over.

You hang up, rub your temples, and mumble to yourself, “I need a vacation.” We’ve all said it many times—but how often do we actually take that vacation?

Research suggests the answer is not very often. Americans wasted a whopping 768 million vacation days last year, and that’s a 9% increase from the year before. What’s keeping us from requesting time off? And why is it crucial that we take more vacation?

We’ll explore answers to these questions and others in this new blog series.

If you’re ready to start enjoying the benefits of a much-needed vacation, Vantage has a rental waiting for you in Ocean City, MD. Book an offseason stay at lower rates, or get your top pick for next summer’s getaway.

Why Americans Take Less Time Off

The U.S. is the only advanced economy that doesn’t mandate paid vacation or paid holidays. By comparison, those in the European Union get at least 20 days of mandated leave, while many African countries get 30.

Nevertheless, American employers granted 90% of full-time workers paid vacation this year. Even when we are allotted vacation time, we’re still not taking it. Studies have shown a range of reasons (ahem, excuses) for our paltry vacation time.

According to the U.S. Travel Association, the No. 1 reason is cost. Many people also opt to stay on the clock because it’s hard leaving your duties to someone else while you’re away. Inconveniences related to travel are also cited as a deal breaker.  

Sadly, guilt is a factor as well. Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index found that 25% of Americans feel negative emotions when requesting time off. The majority of these folks, surprisingly, are millennials, even though they better understand the importance of vacation compared to Baby Boomers.  

This could explain why many Americans end up working during the vacations they do take. Glassdoor found that 29% of employees who took time off were contacted for a work-related matter while on vacation.

Some trend watchers attribute unused vacation to the expansion of the U.S. workforce. It’s possible that people are earning days off faster than they can use them. Whatever the reason, vacation time is important for you, your employer and the country (yes, you read that right) as a whole.

Why Vacations Matter

There’s no debating it: Vacations do the body and mind good. The Journal of the American Heart Association found that working 10-hour days for 50 days a year can increase your risk of a stroke by 45% after just a decade. The risk goes up if you have high levels of stress or work overnight shifts.

Researchers at Syracuse University, meanwhile, found that people who take vacations are less likely to experience metabolic syndrome—a combination of conditions like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar or excess body fat around the waist, that can lead to heart disease, stroke or diabetes. Those who vacationed regularly are also better at managing stress and avoiding burnout.

Contrarily, people who don’t take time off from work tend to have poorer physical health and mental health, along with low-quality sleep.

If you’re an unapologetic workaholic, consider that days off translate to higher productivity when you are at your desk. In 2015, nine of the top 10 most productive countries were in Europe. (Reminder: They’re the ones who take a lot of vacation.) This was measured by gross domestic product per hours worked. The United States ranked sixth.

It Pays to Get Away

What if we told you using paid time off to head to Ocean City can get you one step closer to that raise? Project: Time Off, a research group funded by the U.S. Travel Association, has been studying vacation’s effects for years. Their research shows that just 78% of those who forfeited days received a raise or a bonus in the past three years, compared to 84% of those who used all their paid time off.

Your decision to leave your work behind isn’t a selfish one: It has ripple effects on the entire economy. According to recent analysis, Americans used a little more than half of their paid time off work for traveling, equal to 9 out of 17.4 days. If they spent more days on trips, the travel industry would see an extra $151.5 billion in spending and upwards of 2 million new jobs created.

Find Healing in Ocean City


Need some more inspiration to unplug now and then? Or some good rationale for your boss and HR department? We’re just getting started on the benefits of taking a vacation. Keep your eyes peeled for the next posts in this series.

When you do make your getaway, do it in style with help from Vantage. We have Ocean City rentals for every type of vacation. Book direct online for the best selection and lowest rates.

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About Vantage

Founded in 2007, Vantage Vacation Rentals specializes in delivering exceptional experiences for both vacation property owners and their rental guests in popular Maryland destinations such as Ocean City, Annapolis and the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the Delaware beaches and North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Vantage serves owners with extensive property marketing and promotion as well as comprehensive property management services to help maximize rental income opportunities. With over 550 managed properties, Vantage makes it easy for vacationing guests to find and reserve the perfect option—then enhances their stay with exclusive benefits and discounts. To learn more about Vantage Vacation Rentals, visit VantageOceanCity.com, EasternShoreVacations.com and VantageMB.com.