What Would You Do with an Extra Day?

By Gary Oster, Executive Vice President—Member Services & Managing Director—Travel Effect, U.S. Travel Association

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America has one of the longest workweeks in the world. So it’s good news that nearly three in four employees earn some kind of time off, with an average benefit of 20 days per year.

I’m thankful for the time I get away. I think of the trophy rockfish I reeled in on a recent long weekend fishing with my son, or escaping the endless winter in Key West with my wife. With summer quickly approaching, I’m flooded by memories of the long family car rides, squeezed in the back seat with my brothers, our bickering slowly silenced by the building anticipation of the endless ocean with every mile marker that passed.

What about you? Did you use all of the time off you earned last year?

More than 40 percent of Americans finished 2013 with unused paid leave. In fact, we left a total of 429 million days of earned leave on the table last year — an average of 3.2 days per employee. That’s three days that could’ve been used to tackle your own to-do list, visit with friends and family, or make new memories on a dream vacation. It’s time you need away from the daily grind to relax and recharge.

By not taking time off, we’re suffering from a Day Off Deficit. I know I’m constantly reading about how we’re too busy and need to slow down.

If all of us took just one more day, we would be a happier and healthier country. Research shows that taking time off can improve your physical health, social life, and family life. After just one day away from the office, Americans report feeling happier with their overall outlook and closer to loved ones. The benefits of taking time off rollover into the workplace, too: HR managers link the use of time off with higher-performing employees, greater productivity, and less lost work due to sickness.

It’s time to refuel your tank. Join me in taking one more day off this year. You’ve earned it.

P.S. Need extra incentive? From May 3-11, visit TravelEffect.com to enter our “What’s Your Travel Effect?” video contest for a chance to win a getaway.

Gary Oster is Executive Vice President, Member Services and Managing Director, Travel Effect at the U.S. Travel Association, the national, non-profit organization representing all components of the travel industry that generates $2.1 trillion in economic output and supports 14.9 million jobs. U.S. Travel’s mission is to increase travel to and within the United States.

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You work hard to earn your #vacation days, so why don’t you use them all? Learn why it’s important to take time off: http://t.co/jQcTxQagst