American workers left a record 768 million vacation days unused in 2018, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, Oxford Economics, and Ipsos. Despite wasting a record number of days off, Americans took more total vacation days than they did in 2017. The study found that fifty-five percent of workers did not use all of their vacation days last year.
Of those 768 million days, 236 million were forfeited entirely, resulting in a loss of $65.5 billion in benefits. If Americans used all of those days to travel, it would have led to an additional $151.5 billion in spending and created roughly two million jobs.
"When I see how many vacation days went unused, I don't just see a number -- I see 768 million missed opportunities to recharge, experience something new and connect with family and friends," U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement.
Workers use half their vacation to days to travel, but cite the high cost and the hassle of flying as two reasons why they choose to stay close to home during their time off. The study found that older workers tend to take more days off, while younger workers take fewer days but use them to travel.
"However, it's an unfortunate truth that cost is the top barrier to travel. Despite the financial challenges of traveling, there are affordable alternatives to explore America -- whether it's a drive up the coast or a day trip to a neighboring town," Dow said.
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