Americans' vacation usage is the highest it has been since 2010, according to the U.S. Travel Association's annual "Project: Time Off" survey.

Project: Time Off's annual survey of more than 4,000 American workers about their vacation habits found that American workers took an average of 17.2 vacation days in 2017, an increase of 0.4 days over 2016. This marks the highest level for American vacation usage since 2010 (when the average was 17.5 days) and a more than full-day increase since Americans' vacation usage bottomed out at an average of 16 days in 2014. 

According to Katie Denis, vice president of Project: Time Off and the report's author, some employers are giving their employees more time off as they recognize the need for greater work-life balance.

"Knowing that we have to be a little bit more competitive for talent in a way that we didn't have to be even a few years ago, realizing that employee well-being and the stuff that they really care about in terms of trying to find some balance and a life outside the office, these things are factoring more heavily in recent years than they did when we were dealing with an economic downturn and its aftershocks," said Denis.

While progress is being made, 52% of Americans had unused vacation time last year (down from 54% in 2016). Employees used less than half of their time off, an average of only eight days, for travel.

Work pressure still has the largest impact on vacation usage. Of the employees who were concerned that taking vacation time would make them appear less dedicated or replaceable, 61% said they were likely to have unused vacation days, compared to the 52% overall.

The vacation time that was left on the table translated into 705 million unused days last year, or $255 billion in missed economic opportunity, according to Project: Time Off.


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