Americans Are Leaving No Vacation Time Unused in 2022

According to a new study, 57% of Americans have taken a vacation of at least a week in the last year — up 44% from the previous year

Crowd of people sunbathing on beach, over head view

In July of 1910, The New York Times published a story called “How Long Should a Man’s Vacation Be?” In the piece, President William Howard Taft — an apparent champion of the cause — is quoted as saying that “ten days or two weeks is insufficient.” It was his belief that two to three months of annual vacation was imperative to preserving Americans’ health. 

Fast-forward to 2022, and we know that, even under the best of circumstances, two months of paid vacation time is a pipe dream. Regardless, the question of time and how it pertains to vacation remains a tricky one — particularly when travel is involved. That, however, is apparently not stopping American adults from trying.

According to Allianz Partners USA’s 14th Annual Vacation Confidence Index, 57% of Americans have taken a vacation of at least a week, to a destination 100 miles or more away from home, in the last year — an increase of 44% from the previous year. It marks the highest percentage of participants who have reported traveling since 2009. Further, per the survey, 74% say they now consider an annual vacation important, a 1% increase from last year but a 14% increase from 2019.

“Our latest Vacation Confidence Index proves that taking an annual vacation has never been more important to Americans, and we’re seeing record levels of confidence that they’ll travel between now and the end of the year,” Allianz director of external communications Daniel Durazo said.

“Instead of banking those PTO days, Americans are viewing their vacation time as a much-needed getaway to support their mental health,” he added.

Some have even gone so far as to coin this year “The Great Vacation,” which is particularly interesting when juxtaposed with the fact that, according to a study by the U.S. Travel Association, Americans wasted a record-setting 658 million vacation days in 2016, capping a 15-year decline in vacation usage. That number increased again (by four million) in 2017, and then again (by another 43 million) the following year. By 2019, more than 768 million vacation days were going unused, with more than half of Americans finishing the year with unused time.

But now they’re leaving no vacation time left unused, and employers are being left with two choices. As Zara Stone put it, “Deny employees well-deserved vacations, and they’ll potentially lose staff; approve them, and business could grind to a halt.”

All of that said, if the numbers are to be believed, people are going to take their vacation time one way or another. And, thanks to The Great Resignation (’tis a year of many “greats,” apparently), there isn’t exactly an abundance of workers to replace them. Perhaps Taft’s vision isn’t all that outlandish, after all.


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