Americans believe taking a vacation is important, but we aren’t doing it, says Allianz Global Assistance. The travel insurance company says fewer of us will take a vacation this year than last, when we left 658 paid vacation days unused.

Scenic 42 miles of beaches. Photo credit: FloridasHistoricCoast.com

Scenic 42 miles of beaches. Photo credit: FloridasHistoricCoast.com

No Vacation This Year

Every year some authority or another issues a report on America’s vacation habits. It is almost always incomprehensible to me. Why? Because that report says Americans don’t take all of the paid vacation days we are eligible to take. Worse, lots of people take no vacation at all. That’s right. Zero.

As an avid traveler who spends many work days trying to figure out how to eke out MORE vacation time, I simply cannot wrap my brain around this.

These are PAID vacation days, people. As in, your company will pay you NOT to come to work.

Beach in Cape Town, South Africa

Boulder Beach in Cape Town, South Africa (Photo Philadelphia TMOM Sarah Ricks)

Allianz Survey Results

Allianz Global Assistance produces the Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index. It’s been doing that for eight years now. The survey tracks how confident Americans are that they will be able to take a summer vacation and how much they plan to spend during that vacation.

The 2016 survey, released in late June, found that fewer Americans will take a summer vacation in 2016. On a positive note for the travel industry, however, the folks who will be going on vacation say they plan to spend 11 percent more this year.

How many vacation days are you leaving unused?

Allianz Vacation Confidence Index

Among the findings of this year’s survey:

  • The average American household will spend $1798, up from last year’s average of $1621 per household. That brings total planned vacation spending to nearly $90 billion.
  • Only half of Americans say they are confident they will be able to take a vacation this summer.
  • Four in 10 say they are not confident they will be able to take a vacation this summer.
  • One quarter say they simply cannot take a vacation this summer.

Those numbers come despite another statistic from the survey: Two-thirds of Americans say that taking an annual vacation is important to them. That’s up 8 percentage points from the 2015 survey.

Vacation Deficit

Those stats add up to what Allianz calls a Vacation Deficit. That is calculated as the percentage of Americans who think a vacation is important but are not confident they’ll be able to take one. In 2016, nearly one quarter of Americans who say an annual vacation is important to them are not confident they will be able to actually take a vacation.

A separate survey by the US Travel Association (which, as the industry trade organization, has a vested interest in getting us to take all of the vacation time we are due), was conducted in January. It asked workers whether they took all of the paid time off they were due in 2015. Only 45 percent said yes. That led the association to calculate that Americans left 658 million vacation days unused in 2015.

Crane's Beach House has 2 saltwater pools.

Photo credit: Maria Smith, TravelingMom of Many

Take the Time You’re Due

Why would we choose not to take all of the paid vacation time our employers offer? Project: Time Off, the US Travel Association’s effort to get us to take the time we are due, says these are the primary reasons:

  • Fears we will return to a mountain of work (37%)
  • There’s no one else who can do the job while we’re gone (30%)
  • It’s harder to take time off the higher up you get in a company (28%)
  • We want to show complete dedication to the job (22%)

Only 30 percent said they didn’t use all of their vacation time because they couldn’t afford a vacation.

Again, people, this is PAID time off. The company is paying you to stay home! Take advantage of that. Even if means a staycation, squiring the kids around to explore your home town. Or day trips to nearby towns. We know that traveling with kids is key to their growth and can be life changing for the entire family.

Allianz Infographic

Thanks to Allianz Travel Insurance for sponsoring this post, providing travel coverage for the unexpected. TravelingMom received financial compensation from Allianz Global Assistance (AGA Service Company).