An Expedia.com survey reveals that American workers are estimated to leave more than 421 million vacation days on the table in 2005. In fact, nearly 31 percent of Americans reported that they do not always take all of their vacation days, despite admitting that they come back from a vacation feeling rested and rejuvenated.
For the first time, Expedia expanded its survey internationally to the working populations of Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands to uncover how they utilized their vacations. Compared to other countries, Americans' vacation statistics definitely stood out. For example, U.S. workers received the least amount of vacation days (12 on average), were most likely to work over 40 hours a week (35 percent), and tied with Canada for giving back the most vacation days per person (3 days on average). This paints a very bleak picture that hopefully will inspire Americans to adopt the more healthy vacation habits demonstrated by the other countries included in the survey:
• France wins for being the vacation champions, with each employed adult receiving an average of 39 days and with nearly half (45 percent) taking at least one 3-4 week vacation a year.
• German workers are vacation lovers too, receiving an average of 27 vacation days, with 56 percent reporting that they always take all of their vacation days.
• Workers in the Netherlands receive an average of 25 vacation days each year, with the majority (62 percent) planning on taking at least one vacation lasting up to two full weeks.
• Adults employed in Great Britain may receive the least amount of vacation days in the European countries surveyed (23 days), but they definitely appreciate each and every vacation day…and then some, with 40 percent saying that they'd sacrifice a day's pay to get an extra day off.
• Employed Canadians receive an average of 20 days of vacation - easily beating out their neighbors to the South. And more than half (54 percent) use all of their vacation days.
So, when Americans do get around to vacationing, what do they do? According to the survey, it's all about the family: 31 percent say that they spend most of their vacation time traveling with their immediate family and 27 percent say that they visit out of town family and relatives. Plus, 38 percent anticipate using the majority of their vacation time for 2005 by taking one full week and then using the remaining days throughout the year.