Is the Summer Vacation Going Away?

The U.S. Travel Association says Americans failed to use 429 million vacation days last year, and with those days, $160 billion in economic opportunity is lost.

A Skift survey finds that about 62% of Americans said they “won’t be taking a vacation this summer at all. Out of that, more than half said they couldn’t afford it. Only about 16% said they are taking the long summer vacation of yore, while about 23% said they are taking short breaks on weekends through this summer.”

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The Harvard Business Review suggests that one reason Americans are taking fewer vacation is that employees don’t come back refreshed as intended.

“Vacations are the things that dreams and cruise commercials are made of. Ideally, you come back refreshed, recharged and ready to go. But sometimes, the exact opposite is true. Who among us hasn’t said at some point, usually the day before we leave, ‘Trying to take this vacation is so stressful, it would have been better not to go at all!’ Sometimes vacation stress is unavoidable, but most times it’s manageable if we’re simply more strategic.”

Another Harvard Business Review piece suggests five ways to make a vacation worth the time and money:

1. Move and exercise: “Evolutionary science tells us that our fancy brains developed not while we were lounging but while we were working out. Our ancestors moved around all the time.”

2. Find peaceful, beautiful surroundings: “Nature not only helps you listen to your inner voices; it can also inspire new purpose and passions.”

3. Meet different, interesting people: “The world’s most productive people are deeply curious and collaborative and constantly seek out new acquaintances and allies – even when they’re on vacation.”

4. Be willing to invest: “Quality vacations are one of the highest-return investments you can make.”

5. Plan properly: “Never leave your holidays to chance. Seamless air travel, nice accommodations, guaranteed restaurant and tour bookings—all of these will make your time off more productive and enjoyable.”