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Americans: why aren’t you taking vacation!?

Do you spend a lot of time daydreaming about the perfect vacation? Perhaps browsing Pinterest for lust-worthy beaches, inspiring monuments, and ancient villages (psst: here’s our Pinterest page). Maybe you even enjoy exploration novels from the comfort of your living room.

If so, the good news is you’re not alone. Most people say they’d love to take a vacation. The bad news: according a 2013 study by Expedia, 59% of Americans report feeling vacation-deprived.

But, it may be your own fault.

This year, Americans doubled their amount of unused vacation days—meaning out of our meager 14 days, we’re only taking 10 of them. Which is odd, because 76% of Americans also reported that their bosses are supportive of vacation, higher than the 65% average of global survey respondents.

So why don’t you want to leave your desk?

Maybe you just like it there, with your orderly stapler and printer down the hall. After all, a rather impressive 82% of Americans reported being “somewhat or very satisfied” with their jobs. But because “somewhat” can be interpreted as an apathetic shoulder shrug, it’s hard to know who really wakes excited to start their day and those of you just going through the motions.

To be fair, a bit more than a quarter of respondents say they’re saving up—putting those vacation days aside until there’s enough for a big excursion (have you considered Patagonia?). But other reasons included difficulty with scheduling, failure to plan, and desire to cash out on the unused days.

For the former: We can help.

For the latter: Those who spend money on experiences, rather than things, tend to be happier.


Maybe it just isn’t in our cultural character to waltz off and enjoy ourselves away from the office.

The United States is the only developed country without guaranteed paid vacation days or holiday. And in an even more depressing study, this one by the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 23% of American workers receive no paid vacation or holidays. That does put a damper on things.

However, in terms of average days taken (10), we’re not the bottom of the barrel. In Japan, workers dabble with the idea of a holiday: they take 7 out of 18 vacation days. In stark contrast, France gives its workforce 30 paid days. The average French worker uses them all. Across the globe, the average worker is given 20 vacations days.

Need a bit more inspiration to take those final 4 days? Check out these 12 places you could be visiting in South America.

Expedia’s online survey polled employed workers from August 20 to September 12 in North America, Europe, Brazil and the Asia-Pacific region. This annual study started in 2000.

Photo credit: evanforester

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