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'Plan for Vacation Day' Promotes Taking Time Off

Visit Pensacola

Many Americans with vacation time are averse to taking it, according to numerous studies. To that end, a new movement wants to change that – both nationwide and locally.

It’s a 21st Century dilemma: people earn vacation days but thanks to a heavy workload or they’re afraid to leave work, they don’t take them.

Steve Hayes, President of Visit Pensacola — the city’s tourism agency — says they and similar organizations are teaming up on Tuesday, Jan. 29, for “National Plan for Vacation Day.”

“It’s a way to encourage Americans to plan their vacation days for the rest of the year so that they will take those days,” says Hayes. “And this is national, going through and doing this. And they leave that time on the table and in most cases it goes away, and so you lose it.”

Every year 52 percent of Americans fail to use all of their time off, creating a stockpile of 705 million unused vacation days. The best way to remedy that, says Hayes, is better planning.

“This is a chance to sit down with your family, with your friends, significant others, and say, ‘you know what? We’re going to get away,’” Hayes says. “It might be a staycation, it might be going to another place, but at least get those dates on a calendar so that you can let your mind kind of wander, get away from things.”

The research shows 53 percent of planners took all of their vacation time, compared to 43 percent of non-planners last year. And, planners are also more likely — 33-18 percent — to use all or most of their time off to travel. For those now scheduling their vacations, Visit Pensacola’s Steve Hayes is sending forth the word – the welcome mat here is already out here.

“Right now, even on social media, we’re out there talking about this specific day and why you really need to plan, and how does Pensacola fit into it,” said Hayes. “But then you would also have our normal advertising that really doesn’t identify this as a ‘plan for a vacation.’ But we do talk about coming to Pensacola.”

That welcome mat is also out for those living in this area, inviting them to explore their hometown.

Credit Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media
Steve Hayes, President of Visit Pensacola.

“We’d love for folks to come visit us as part of that trip, but we also want to let people, the residents,  here in the Pensacola area know that, hey, you need to get away. It’s good for your health, it’s good for job, good for your family. And, sometimes just getting away locally is a benefit as well.”

By committing to planning on January 29, there are the benefits of taking a break while having something to look forward to. Researchers say planners have a distinct advantage: They use more of their time, take longer vacations, and are happier. And that also goes for even short breaks.

“Even if you just took a Friday and a Monday off, what is that going to do for your health; your mindset when you go back to work?” asked Hayes. “Imagine your officemates – you’re out taking vacation – you coming back and sounding happy and relaxed. They’re going to say, ‘wait a minute, I need to do that, too.’ It really helps businesses overall.”

By committing to plan on January 29, Americans can all reap the benefits of giving themselves something to look forward to. More about Plan for Vacation Day 2019, is at www.visitpensacola.com/plan-your-vacation.