Why Americans Need to Take Their Vacation Days

Now that summer is long over, fall is a time to return back to normalcy. That means the kids go back to school, and adults go back to long hours at work. In today’s competitive business environment, the pressure to get everything done is high, and we’re wired 24/7, which means we’re always available to answer an email, take a call, etc. The last thing many of us are thinking about is vacation, but maybe we should.

Americans are notorious for not taking vacations. On average, they leave 429 million vacation days to expire every year, and some don’t even take their vacation days at all. What makes this even more perplexing is that many bosses want their employees to take their vacations. In a survey by the Creative Group, a staffing firm for positions in writing, graphic design and other creative fields, 40% of executives surveyed said they thought their employees would be more productive if they took their vacations. Only 9% said they believed productivity would decrease.

This is because employees who are overworked are more likely to be stressed out, which can not only affect their productivity, but the quality of their work as well. It is not just your work that suffers; your health can suffer as well. According to a number of psychologists, physicians, and other health professionals, taking a vacation can boost your mood, allow you to lose a few pounds, help you sleep better, and increase your empathy.

Occidental Hotels & Resorts

For busy people who want to take vacation but feel they don’t have time to plan a trip, Occidental hotels and resorts may be the solution. Occidental Hotels & All Inclusive Resorts has locations in Aruba, Columbia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Mexico. According to Occidental:

  • People need to take a break once in a while. When you’re constantly at work or thinking about work, you’re not fully there for your family and friends.
  • Your health can be affected negatively by working too much. Vacations allow individuals to decrease their stress levels, sleep without an alarm clock, and be more active, which would help you lose weight.
  • Meeting new people and having new experiences can make you a more rounded person and increase your empathy. By going on vacation, you can be a better co-worker and bring more passion to your work.

“Americans who stay at one of our all-inclusive resorts get the opportunity to completely unwind. They get a chance to spend some time with people they love, meet new people, and engage in a wide number of activities. By the time they leave, they are ready to face challenges at work and at home with a clearer head,” said Juan Perez Sosa, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Barceló Hotels and the recently incorporated Occidental Hotels & Resorts.

Occidental Hotels & Resorts

As winter approaches and I’m stuck inside my office more these days, a relaxing vacation at one of Occidental’s beautiful properties sounds wonderful! We of course would choose one of their family-friendly locations, but there are adults-only resorts as well.

Do you take all your vacation days? What tips do you have for making the most of limited travel time?

Photos courtesy Occidental Hotels & Resorts: Occidental Royal Hideaway Playacar and GrandXcaret

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Occidental Hotels & Resorts.


  • I think I would go crazy if I didn’t use ALL of my vacation days! ha! I’ve never even come close to being at risk of losing days because I’ve accrued the max. Even just taking a Friday or Monday off (or half a day) can make for a much more relaxing long weekend. We try to make the most of our weekends by taking local day trips. It’s amazing how even a small adventure can lift your spirits and give you energy for the work week. I’ve found even getting out on Friday nights to enjoy local events (Off the Grid, First Fridays etc…) makes the weekend feel longer and more fulfilling.

    Counting down to xmas break as I type this 🙂
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    • Jenna says:

      Yes, I completely agree. It is a challenge with kids and work, especially since the weekend is often the only time to catch up around the house or to relax. Counting down to Xmas break here, too 🙂

  • Elizabeth says:

    How or why you would leave vacation days unused is just madness. Especially if it is paid leave- they are paying you to take a break! American’s attitude towards vacation is so different from the rest of the world where long vacations 4+ weeks are normal. It is a chance to completely relax and forget about work.
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    • Jenna says:

      I agree that it is madness! I think that many Americans have that same attitude–that they need a long break to relax and forget about work, but there are some who don’t seem to be able to do it. It’s that old work ethic that has existed here since the country was settled, but we as a nation need to embrace real vacation time and know that it’s good for us mentally and in terms of work productivity, too.

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