How Many People Are Skipping Summer Vacation? The Numbers Will Surprise You.


Are you taking time off to enjoy the warmer weather? About half of you will probably say “No,” statistically speaking. That’s right: about 42% of Americans didn’t take a vacation last year, according to Skift. In fact, 429 million vacation days are wasted every year in America alone. For those of us who do venture out during summer months, most of us only take half our allotted vacation days. Due largely to a struggling economy and increased work performance pressures, unused vacation days are currently at a 40-year high in US businesses, says CNBC studies.“I didn’t realize how extreme it was until I saw the research,” said Cheryl Rosner, CEO of, a hotel bidding and booking site. “It’s an epidemic of overwork. Forty-two percent of Americans don’t take their paid time off. On those days, you’re paying your employer to be at work.”


Skipping vacation not only creates major burnout in the modern professional workplace, but it also hurts companies. American companies lose a total of $52.4 billion in vacation benefits every year, says Quinton Fottrell, finance reporter for Market Watch. With most companies implementing the “use it or lose it’ vacation policy, businesses need to start rolling out more rigorous incentives to make sure they’re not draining their own wallets. According to CNBC News,“the U.S. Travel Association has a vested interest in promoting research to encourage people to make use of their vacation days. In February, the industry group announced an ‘unprecedented effort to motivate American workers to use more of the paid time off they have earned,’ which could funnel $160 billion in travel spending to support 1.2 million jobs.”


So, why do Americans let ourselves skip valuable vacation days and succumb to professional burnout? According to Oxford Economics, 28% opted out of taking vacation days as a way to impress their employers with their dedication to work. An additional 40% blamed the huge pile of work waiting for them as their excuse for never getting away. We have to admire their efforts; however, research shows that there is zero correlation between giving up vacation days and receiving a promotion. But that’s not all–EY (formerly Ernst and Young) research revealed a strong correlation between taking vacation days and getting higher performance reviews. Are you listening now, workaholics? Businessweek found that workers who take less time off actually make more mistakes and form more toxic relationships with coworkers than their vacation-taking peers. Think about it–when you’re cranky from putting in long hours with no days off, aren’t you more likely to take your frustration out on the colleague in the next cubicle? Maybe it’s time to make a quick escape, even if that means a ‘staycation.’


Of those who do go on vacation, over half remain mentally “checked in” to work despite being off: a whopping 44 percent of working adults said they check work email daily while on vacation, and about 1 in 10 admitted to checking it hourly, according to studies by the American Psychological Association. What kind of getaway is that?


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