Opinion: Travel industry should walk the walk with paid time off

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Doug Price

Taking vacation is essential to strengthening personal relationships, inspiring creative thinking, and promoting better health. So why aren’t we using it to our full advantage? Every year, more than half of Americans fail to use all their paid time off, creating a stockpile of 705 million unused vacation days.

Taking time off is associated with higher productivity, performance, a more positive attitude towards work, increased happiness, improved mental and physical health, better relationships and social life. Employees who take their vacation time are more likely than forfeiters to have been promoted within the last year and to have received a raise or a bonus in the last three years.

The most effective remedy for American workers who want to use more vacation days is better planning. Yet just over half of households set aside time to plan the use of their vacation time each year. That’s why on Jan. 29, for the third year in a row, Visit Colorado Springs, along with thousands of other organizations across the country, will take part in National Plan for Vacation Day.

Launched by U.S. Travel and celebrated on the last Tuesday of January, the day encourages Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year, at the beginning of the year. The day also provides an opportunity for Americans to come together at a single moment and rally around the importance of planning for vacation and utilizing every day of paid time off.

Research shows that planners have a distinct advantage over non-planners: They use more of their time, take longer vacations and are happier. I myself planned better in 2018 resulting in using all my planned days for the year. From vineyard tastings to a fall sabbatical, I came back renewed, refreshed and full of ideas for the coming year.

The easiest thing you can do is plan. Take your paid time off back with these simple steps:

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1. Mark your calendar for Jan. 29

2. Confirm your paid leave days

3. Head to VisitCOS.com/vacation

4. Start dreaming of your perfect vacation

5. Spread the word #PlanForVacation

Whether it’s right here in the beauty of your own Colorado backyard, or a bucket list trip, join the #PlanForVacation movement and take back America’s Lost Week. Find more tools and resources at ProjectTimeOff.com.

Doug Price is the president and CEO of Visit Colorado Springs. He can be reached at doug@visitcos.com.