Listen up, Americans. Collectively we’re taking less vacation time than at any point in nearly the last four decades. And by doing so, we’re only hurting ourselves.

According to a study conducted by Oxford Economics for Project: Time Off, American workers lost 169 million days of paid time off in 2013. And in the last 15 years, we’ve lost nearly a full work-week of vacation time–going from an average of 20.3 days to 16.0 days most recently. These days could not be rolled over, paid out, or used for any other benefit.

We’re making a name for ourselves. Our poor time management is turning into headlines. There might be an end game–a raise, a promotion, a retirement–but in the mean time we’re becoming a nation of work martyrs.

You shouldn’t have to feel guilty about leaving the office. You’re not a slacker, you won’t get behind, and the work can wait. In fact, taking earned time off is essential to creating a productive workforce. Furthermore, vacation time creates strong bonds with family and friends, and helps cultivate a fulfilled life.

So instead of providing free labor to your employer, think about what you could do in a week. Learn to salsa dance in Barcelona. See the leaves change in Vermont. Taste the finest wines in Italy. Eat too many pain au chocolat in Provence.


Use your vacation days to go on a Trek Travel bike tour

Project: Time Off was an initiative to prove the personal, business, social, and economic benefits that taking earned time off can deliver. We aim to shift culture so that using personal time off is not considered frivolous, but essential to strengthening families and improving personal health; a business investment with proven returns and an economic necessity. Learn more at