In honor of National Plan for Vacation Day we're inspiring American workers to make the most of their time off this year so that their well-earned breaks don't go to waste.

Aerial shot of woman relaxing in swimming pool
National Plan for Vacation Day encourages American workers to plan ahead to make the most of their annual leave

Travel organizations are across the country are encouraging American workers to utilize their time off for National Plan For Vacation Day, celebrated the last Tuesday of every January. Why do we need to be reminded to take vacation days? American workers are notorious for not taking what's owed to them when it comes to paid leave. According to research from the US Travel Association, Oxford Economics and Ipsos, more than half (55%) of American workers don't use up all their days off. In 2018, that worked out at 768 million unused vacation days. What's more, some 236 million of those days were actually forfeited completely. That works out at $65.5 billion in lost benefits and an individual average of $571 in donated work time.

"As a CEO, not only does it not bother me to see an ‘out of office’ email – I encourage my colleagues to include a note on how they’re spending their vacation,” said US Travel President and CEO Roger Dow in a statement. “Time off is essential to a healthy work environment because it gives us a chance to recharge and reconnect with family and friends, as well as see more of our beautiful, diverse country. Workers who take the time to plan ahead bring more and better energy to the workplace.”

The best destinations to visit in 2020

By planning at the start of the year, you're likely to commit to your vacation time. Need inspiration? Here's everything you need to make the most of your time off in 2020.

Plan your next adventure with these expert tips from a Lonely Planet writer

This LP writer has got trip planning down to an art. 

Where to go when: the best places to visit through 2020

Some inspiration to help you plan the best times for your travels through the year. 

Working 9-5 but want to travel more? Here's how you can do it

Two workers with regular 9-5 jobs reveal how they maximize their vacation time.

The A-Z of accommodation costs around the world

To help you with your budget, we've worked out the average cost of accommodation around the world. All prices are in US dollars with the local currency in brackets afterwards.

booking a cruise with a laptop.jpg
Travel costs can quickly add up, but there are many things you can do to stick to your budget © Westend61 / Getty Images

10 ways to save money on travel in 2020

Our guide to making your travel money go further, so you have more to spend when you get there.

10 ways to improve your travels in 2020

Ideas to help you up the ante on your travel plans for 2020. 

Nine travel resolutions and how to keep them

Achievable travel resolutions that are a joy to keep.

How to budget for a trip around the world

Tips and tricks on how to budget day-to-day if you're planning on taking a big vacation.

AlexButler in Obidos.jpg
LP staffer Alex Butler with her dad in Obidos Portugal in 2019.

Where are Lonely Planet staff travelling in 2020?

Lonely Planet staff share their travel plans for 2020.

10 best places for a cycling holiday in 2020

If you'd like a more sustainable vacation in 2020, these are some of the best places to go on a cycling trip.

Best night train journeys to take in 2020

Or maybe you'd rather a train ride as an eco-friendly way to travel.

QUIZ: Where should you go in 2020?

Still can't decide where to go in 2020? We'll do it for you.

Explore related stories