Every year more than half of Americans fail to use all their time off, creating a stock pile of 662 million unused vacation days, while Marylanders accumulate nearly 18 million days.
AAA, in collaboration with Project: Time Off, knows the most effective remedy for American workers who want to use more vacation days is better planning. Yet only 54 percent of households set aside time to plan the use of their vacation time each year.
At 78 percent, Idaho ranks first among the nation’s 50 states with the highest percentage of unused vacation days, while Maine ranks last, as employees embrace and use their time off with only 38 percent leaving vacation days on the table at the end of the year.
Maryland ranks seventeenth, as 58 percent of employees neglect to use their vacation days. The direct spending potential of these unused days by Marylanders is estimated at $1.8 billion dollars.
Fifty-seven percent of Baltimoreans leave 9.2 million vacation days unused, ranking Baltimore eleventh in the report’s survey of 30 American cities, resulting in a loss of $756 million dollars of potential spending. Washington, D.C. ranks first with the most unused vacation days at 64 percent, while a greater percentage of workers in Pittsburgh take advantage of their vacation days benefit, which ranks the city number one - only 40 percent do not take vacation days.
“On this National Plan for Vacation Day, we encourage workers to prioritize planning a vacation today, so they don’t have any regrets come December 31,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Manager of Public and Government Affairs at AAA Mid-Atlantic. “By planning, we can all reap the benefits of taking a break, while giving ourselves something to look forward to on the calendar.”
Research shows that planners have a distinct advantage over non-planners. Project: Time Off’s The State of American Vacation 2017 report found that planners use more of their time, take longer vacations, and are happier.
- 52 percent of planners took all of their vacation time vs. 40 percent of non-planners.
- 75 percent of planners were more likely to take a full week of vacation time or more at a time.
- Non-planners take significantly fewer days—zero to three—at one time than planners (42 vs. 18 percent).
- More planners report they are “very” or “extremely” happy compared to non-planners with their:
- relationships (83 vs. 70 percent),
- health and well-being (57 vs. 48 percent),
- company (57 vs. 51 percent),
- job (59 vs. 50 percent).
“Vacation planning doesn’t have to be stressful or time-consuming, and can be made easier by letting someone else do the planning,” said Nancy Tabares, a travel agent at AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Towson Car Care Insurance Travel Center. “Travel agents can be a trusted resource as they have the expertise to plan personalized vacations and ensure that travelers’ precious vacation dollars get them the experience they want.”
AAA suggests the following tips to make your vacation planning a reality:
- Create a tentative budget and schedule so your trip planning can be accomplished in a realistic manner.
- Research and understand the pros and cons of traveling to a destination during your preferred timeframe. Identify attractions or activities you are most interested in and determine if they will be available.
- If you are a AAA member, leverage your exclusive member discounts for car rentals, flights, hotels, vacation packages and much more. Visit AAA.com/Travel or download the free AAA mobile app.
- Consider booking vacations with a travel agent. Travel Agencies have relationships with cruise lines, hotels and tour operators and often have access to special rates and added benefits that are not available elsewhere.
- Plan ahead. If you are leaving the country you will need a passport, and possibly a visa or health documentation. It can take up to six weeks to get a new passport, so allow time to secure all necessary documents.
- Consider purchasing travel insurance, as it is designed to offer protection against sudden and unforeseen events. Check with a travel agent and carefully review insurance policies before purchasing, as coverage options vary.
In addition to AAA’s tips, Project: Time Off created a vacation-planning tool to help employees get their vacation days on the calendar.
The decision to travel is a very personal one that must be made by the traveler. No matter where you go, always remain informed of travel alerts and consult a travel agent for their expert advice. AAA travel agents are available to assist travelers with this information and travel services are offered at all of AAA Mid-Atlantic stores.
Travelers can get started planning their next vacation at AAA.com/Travel, downloading the AAA Mobile app at AAA.com/mobile or by meeting with a travel agent at one of AAA Mid-Atlantic’s 16 Maryland locations.
Follow us on Twitter: @AAAMDNews
Like us on Facebook: AAA Mid-Atlantic News
8600 LaSalle Road, Ste 639
Towson, MD 21286
AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com.