Southern Chat: Study Says Americans Don't Use Their Vacation Days

When I worked full-time, I was always taking vacation days. I used to take so much vacation that I had to make up time. I always wanted to travel. And if I didn't travel then I wanted to sit in front of the television, and binge watch "Sex and the City." I did not have any problems taking a vacation day at all. 

Senigallia, Italy. Adriatic Sea.
I snapped this photo in Senigallia, Italy on a recent press trip. I live for travel. 

I received a news release this week on vacation deals, and something jumped out at me. I couldn't believe it. 

In a study released by The U.S. Travel Association, it revealed that Americans are taking less vacations than at any point in the last four decades. It stated that the U.S. workforce forfeits $52.4 billion in time off benefits annually

“If this trend continues, the vacations of our childhoods could be a thing of the past—completely unknown by the next generation. That would be a true loss for our families and our country,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.

under water in the caribbean.
Many travel companies such as are putting together holiday packages so Americans will use up their vacation days. I just got a flyer for a Disney Cruise this week. They must know I'm itching to take one, and someone has been reading my internet browsers. 

You can read the news release , but as a person who loves to travel and take time off, I find this news disturbing. I cannot imagine not taking vacation days if I worked in a traditional office setting. 

My husband works a lot, but then I make him take time away from the office for my writing, but he makes up the time on the weekends when we return home. He likes to use any time that he may left over to take time off at the holidays. He gets only two paid vacation weeks a year, but he gets a lot flexibility. Two weeks of paid vacation is not really a lot of vacation days. Are companies these days giving workers more vacation time as compensation, but are employees too busy to actually take the vacation? 

The Hines on the road 
In an interesting news twist, luxury travelers are definitely taking vacation and for longer periods of time. Luxury Retreats, a world renowned luxury vacation rental provider, with a portfolio of beautiful luxury properties ranging from $700 to $16,000 per night report that the average length of stay for vacationers has increased by as much as 60% between the holiday travel season of 2012 and this year. 

luxury retreats villa in Tuscany, luxury rentals in Tuscany
Hello, Tuscany! I think I would be very happy here. This is a six-bedroom villa and it rents from $721 to $1,063 per night from Luxury Retreats. Now, I could save up for this one. Now through March is when you get the BEST rates on this villa. Italy for the holidays, anyone? 

In the report,  Florida Gulf Coast vacationers stayed on average 7 nights in 2012, whereas this year the average stay is 12 nights. This trend has continued in other regions as well including Europe, Caribbean, and other U.S. destinations.   And luxury travelers like to take more exotic vacations. Popular holiday vacations for this year are as follows: Barbados, St. Martin, Big Island and  Maui in Hawaii, Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, Koh Sumai and Phuket, islands of Thailand, and Costa Rica and Belize in Central America. 

Barbados vacation villa
Barbados is a hot destination for the holiday according to Luxury Retreats. This 3-bedroom villa in its portfolio rents for $500 per night from April to mid-December. It doubles in price from December to April. They key in staying in luxury properties for those who may need to save up for this traveling style is to not go during the peak season. 

With properties like these in its portfolio then I don't think I would ever want to leave if I checked-in.  Maybe people work all year then take December off. 

French Alps Chalet Home
This gorgeous 7-bedroom chalet rents at Luxury Retreats  from $9,998 to $16,326 per night. 

No wonder someone booked a property in the French Alps for 139 nights. This chalet is just DREAMY, but not realistic travel for me. 

So, what about you? Do you use your vacation days? This Ritz-Carlton Club villa is calling my name in St. Thomas. It's moving to the top of the list for me. This would be like the best of a hotel with more space. 

villa in St. Thomas, Ritz-Carlton Club  Residence via Luxury Retreats.
Ritz-Carlton, I love you. I fell for you in my teens, and have never gotten over my crush. I'll be dreaming about this residence now until I go. 

Disclosure: I have nothing to disclose here except I think Americans should take their vacation days. I hope this post will motivate you to check out of the office, and into a hotel or villa. 

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