Excuses Not to Travel Debunked

(Revised 4/28/20)

It’s common knowledge amongst Americans that we do not travel as much as we’d like, either due to lack of time, money, fear, or other reasons.  I touched upon this in my post, Why Don’t Americans Travel?  Another side to the conversation, however, are the Americans who have paid vacation days and other employer benefits but don’t take advantage of them.  Honestly, I don’t understand that.  Why would you give up free time off and the benefits travel vacations bring when you worked so hard to earn them? Are Americans looking for excuses not to travel?

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7 American Excuses Not to Travel Debunked

Excuse 1: I Don't Have Enough Vacation Time

The U.S. Travel Association reported that by the end of 2017, the average American vacation days taken per employee was 17.2 days; however, 52% of American employees reported unused vacation days that year totaling an accumulated 705 million unused vacation days.  

It makes sense to save up some days for an emergency or, perhaps, save up for that big vacation, but what doesn’t make sense why Americans would actually forfeit their earned vacation days – 212 million of them! 

Uh, do you all like losing money, because that is what has happened when you forfeit your employer’s paid vacation days.  More detrimental, in my opinion, is the time lost to have to yourself, either to take a traveling vacation or a staycation.

Women in outdoor Varenna cafe Lake Como Italy
You could be dining here!

So, with millions of vacation days accrued and forfeited, why do Americans make this an excuse not take a decent vacation to travel?

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Excuse 2: I Can't Afford a Travel Vacation

Does your employer offer a vacation “buy-sell” program?  Great! Cash in some of those many paid time off days and use them towards a travel vacation you’ll use with the rest of your paid-time off days.

No, not a measly 3-day weekend.  I mean use them for a decent vacation.  Say, 2 weeks long? Two weeks (10 business days) is less than the American average number of vacation days used a year!

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Excuse 3: I Can't Afford to Be Away from My Job

Oh, boy, this is the excuse I loathe the most. Throw that, “I’ve got too much work to do,” excuse out the window! Why?

You may be a superstar at work, but your employer can exist without your superstar abilities for 10 days. If they couldn’t, then how did they get by without you before they hired you?

Besides, if you’re so valuable to the point you’d never be able to take time off work, why didn’t you tell them at first hire that they can just forgo letting you accrue vacation days in the first place?

Sounds silly, right?  Accruing vacation days are done for a reason. You’re human, not a machine, and humans deserve paid resting periods for hard work. So, go on!  Take those two weeks off and treat yourself to some traveling. That is plenty of time to recharge. 

Boats on Lake Como in Varenna Italy to inspire people to travel
Or you could be enjoying this view.

Excuse 4: Vacations Are Overrated

You might even be surprised to find after your vacation that your superstar abilities become super, superstar!  Why? Vacation benefits for employees are widely known. Inc. points out high level scientific study results that show vacations can:

  • reduce stress and anxiety
  • reduce heart disease
  • improve productivity
  • improve sleep

Don’t just take one article as gospel. Do some research. Many studies show vacations have positive medical and psychological benefits. By the way, this means you cannot check your work email while you’re out of the office. I consider that a workcation, and that’s cheating. 

So, if your boss balks at your mentioning you’re using your vacation time, just point them to Project: Time Off. Another excuse not to travel debunked – check!

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Excuse 5: Travel is Overrated

Thought the benefits of vacations were enough?  Nope! Travel, alone, also provides benefits to humans.

I know I point out that travel has many benefits, like broadening your horizons and breaking down social barriers, but don’t just take my word for it. Travel benefits have been scientifically proven to relieve stress, improve your health and more!

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Excuse 6: I Don't Like to Travel

Americans do like to travel!  The most popular travel is within the U.S., but that is starting to shift.  Even though only 42% of Americans have a passport, this number has doubled since 2004, and it’s been reported that 85 million Americans traveled abroad in 2017.

Town of Bellagio from Lake Como
Or this view!

Excuse 7: I Don't Know Where to Go

Still not inspired to use those vacation days for travel?  Here, let me give you a little nudge. I’ve launched my 2 Week Vacation series that anyone can do – budget traveler to solo traveler.  Each series focuses on a different country or region, providing not only why the destination is appealing but also list some activities to do and sights worth seeing. Considering Europe is one of the top destinations for Americans (41%), I started there.  

If you are one of those lucky people who live in a country where you get mandatory vacation time, these may appeal to you as well.  In the end, travel inspiration should abound and the excuses not to travel will fade away. Enjoy the reading!

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Gwen is the Founder of CORR Travel and a global traveler and photographer with over 25 years of solo travel experience. She is also the Founder of the www.CORRConcepts.com sustainability blog. Travel is her passion and environmental sustainability and biodiversity protection is her "religion".

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