If you’re anything like more than one-third of Americans, you haven’t taken a vacation in over two years. According to the 11th annual Vacation Confidence Index by Allianz Global Assistance, 36 percent of Americans’ last vacation was more than two years ago, and over half (51 percent) have not vacationed in more than a year.
In case you are unfamiliar with the term — and it seems a lot of Americans are — a vacation is defined as a leisure trip of at least a week to a destination that is 100 miles or more from home.
When asked if they were confident they would take a summer vacation this year, only 42 percent responded positively, the lowest confidence rating since 2013. Despite the prevailing thought that work prevents many Americans from using all their vacation time, financial concerns far outweighed professional obligations for those who were not confident.
Nearly half (44 percent) said they don’t have the money to spend on a getaway, while 19 percent do not want to spend the money on a vacation. This compares to the 14 percent who said they are not confident they will take a summer vacation because they can’t take time off work. Those aged 18 – 34 (25 percent) and men (20 percent) are most likely to say they can’t take the time off work.
Interestingly, 12 percent of Americans not confident they will take a summer vacation report that they don’t want to take time off. Other reasons include they are unable or uninterested in taking the time away due to a personal obligation outside of work (20 percent), or they find planning a trip too stressful and time-consuming (10 percent).
For the first time in the survey’s history, the Vacation Confidence Index also explored the relationship between a boss and employee’s vacation habits. On average, working Americans take less than half (41 percent) of their entitled vacation days, two in 10 do not take any, while over one-third take less than a quarter of their allotted time off. More than half (52 percent) of Americans say they take about the same proportion of vacation time as their bosses do, which suggests supervisors may be leading by example. Employees report that their bosses take 51 percent of their entitled time.
“Americans are still consistently underutilizing their paid time off, with the average working American taking fewer than half their vacation days and a third of Americans reporting they haven’t vacationed in more than two years,” said Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Whether finances, work, or another reason are keeping you from booking that summer trip, the positive health benefits of taking vacation have been widely-documented.”
Is A “Quickie” Vacation The Answer?
This year’s Vacation Confidence Index noted that just two in 10 (19 percent) Americans who said an annual vacation is important are not confident that they’ll take one. This means the Vacation Deficit, or those who think a vacation is important but are not confident they’ll be able to take one, has decreased two percentage points from last year.
One possible explanation for this is the rise in “micro-cations,” or shorter trips fewer than five nights, which may replace the need for an annual seven-day getaway and make travel more accessible, especially among Millennials. A new survey by online travel site Hotwire® found that nearly all Americans (90%) prefer short getaways of three nights or less vs. a longer trip, with Millennials in particular fueling the dramatic rise of the quick getaway trend.
Hotwire found it’s not just short trip durations that are trending amongst younger travelers. Survey results revealed that Millennials have no problem waiting until the last minute to book their travels, embracing both short booking windows and short trips with spontaneous, 2-3 night “quickies.” In the past year, an overwhelming 84% of survey respondents between the ages of 23 to 38 have booked a trip one week or less out from their departure day, and 40% say they have booked the same day. However, not everyone is as spontaneous as this generation — the survey reveals nearly one in four Americans have yet to take a spontaneous trip.
With this in mind, Hotwire has ranked the country’s best cities for a 72-hour or less getaway (aka a “quickie”).