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Why workers say they are not using their vacation

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More than a million tourists flock to view the fall foliage every October in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

More than a million tourists flock to view the fall foliage every October in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Why would you ever leave vacation days on the table?

When it comes to taking enough time off from work to have a real vacation, workers in the United States and Asia Pacific countries still need work channeling their inner Griswold.

Given about 15 vacation days in the past year, U.S. workers took 14 and left one day unused, according to’s 2014 Vacation Deprivation study, released Thursday. That’s actually better than last year’s results, when U.S. workers used only 12 of their 14 allotted days.

Workers blame their work schedules (19%), a desire to use the days in the following year (18%), finances (18%) and difficulty coordinating the time off (16%).

The annual study of vacation habits of more than 7,800 employed adults across 24 countries in Asia, Europe, North America and South America found significant differences in the ways residents of different countries handle their vacation time.

Many residents of Asian countries are truly committed to work over vacation. They earned an average of 19 days off, and took only 14. Thai workers got a measly 11 vacation days but only took 10. But South Korean workers left more than half of their vacation days on the table, taking only 7 of 15 available days off in the past year.

The United Arab Emirates was the outlier, with its workers earning and taking an average of 30 days off annually.

Europeans certainly have more opportunities to go on vacation, the survey shows. Europeans get 28 days per year on average, nearly double the vacation time of their holiday-deprived peers in North America and the Asia Pacific region. (Residents of Denmark, France, Germany, and Spain get 30 days, and they use them all. Lucky folks.)

Having the most vacation days earned and used did not lead to a more peaceful state of mind, however.

Those UAE workers with an entire month off? Some 73% of UAE respondents report feeling “very or somewhat vacation deprived,” the highest percentage in the survey. Some 75% of workers in the United Kingdom reported feeling deprived because they don’t get enough vacation (26 days).

In contrast, only 38% of Mexican workers—with half the number of days off–reported feeling “very or somewhat” deprived. And they don’t get a European-sized bundle of vacation: Mexicans received an average of about 15 days off but only took 12 days.

This study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar, a global consulting firm.


  • chris

    now wtvr is recycling 2 week old stories,wow.people take the money and work because of obama they cannot afford to take got it channel 6?

    • Nick Dutton

      Chris, we appreciate the feedback. Here’s the other story we posted.

      That story focused on the “forfeited $52.4 billion in time-off benefits in 2013” that US worked wasted It also addressed that American workers “took less vacation time than at any point in the last four decades.”

      As you can see, the latest story puts that information into global context. Again, we appreciate the feedback.


  • pacohope

    given that most folks in all these countries only work 5 days a week, the folks with 30 days off don’t have “an entire month off”. They have 6 weeks. More like a month and a half.

  • James Lattea

    Having lived in Europe for a few years, I know when one starts a job there, they are automatically given more vacation than Americans companies give their employees. Even if it is an American multi-national company, the European staffs have the “market” amount of time off. I think most of us save a day or two of paid time off in case anything unforeseen happens, but with the higher stress levels and demands of todays workplace, we all need to be sure to take as much time to decompress and relax!

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