Lonely Planet Writer

A startling number of Americans have not had a vacation in the past year

As if you needed more inspiration to start planning that late-summer holiday, new research has revealed that more than 170 million Americans – or 53% – haven’t taken a vacation in the past 12 months.

Man diving off boulder into river swimming hole with friends watching from opposite side.
Man diving off boulder into river swimming hole with friends watching from opposite side. Image by Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

And while the number of people neglecting their vacation days is quite high, the total number is actually down 3% from 2015, when only 56% of respondents reported not taking a vacation in the previous year, according to the Allianz Travel Insurance Vacation Confidence Index.

Even of those surveyed who said taking an annual holiday – defined as a leisure trip of at least one week at least 100 miles or more from home – is important, 41% admitted that they hadn’t been on vacation in the last year. In addition, only 15% of Americans had been on a vacation in the past three months, while 37% hadn’t been on a holiday in more than two years.

The new survey’s findings echo that of an earlier report from Project: Time Off, which found that more than half of workers in the US left some of their holiday time unused in 2015. In total, there were 658 million unused paid vacation days in the US that year, and about 222 million of those unused days cannot be rolled over, paid out, or banked. Project: Time Off is an initiative designed to encourage a culture that views time off as essential to personal well-being and professional success.

Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach, California.
Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach, California. Image by Steve Skinner Photography/Getty Images

One demographic that may be particularly impacted by skipping a holiday is millennials, who are more likely to experience “vacation shaming” – or a feeling of guilt from co-workers when taking time away. According to the 2016 Alamo Family Vacation Survey from Alamo Rent A Car, roughly 59% of employed millennials felt shame when taking a holiday, while only 41% of people 35 and older felt the same.

But forgoing a regular holiday can have worse consequences than just missing out on the fun – a study found that taking regular holidays can be good for your health, and potentially help you live longer.