Breaking News
More () »

Are you taking your vacation days? Americans left 33% of paid time off unused in 2020

Making sure you use all your vacation time can be tough — especially because, as 2020 taught us, everything can change in the matter of days.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — With snow in the forecast and National Plan for Vacation Day on the calendar, people might be dreaming about summer getaways — but how should you plan for your days off during a pandemic?

Lynda Lambert with AAA said 33% of Americans' vacation time went unused in 2020.

"It was a crazy year, a lot of us were working from home and didn't feel comfortable taking off because of that, but 33% unused vacation time? Let's do better this year," Lambert said.

Making sure you use all your vacation time can be tough — especially because, as 2020 taught us, everything can change in the matter of days. Lambert said to be aware of possible changes and make sure you know cancellation options or backup plans if your vacation falls through.

"Even if you're talking about planning six months down the road, you need to be aware things could change," Lambert said.

While vaccines are on the horizon, herd immunity likely won't be achieved by the time you head out. Dr. Monalisa Tailor with Greater Louisville Medical Society said she recommends places where people can still socially distance and remain safe.

AAA reports many Americans are choosing to vacation at national parks, where that distancing is a possibility. People are also planning trips to Hawaii and the Caribbean, which Tailor said might not be as safe.

"Being on an airplane might be a little bit riskier right now depending on what location you're headed to, and you might be able to control more variables if you're in a car or your own automobile," Tailor said.

No matter your destination, just the act of planning something fun can be beneficial to your mood. Lambert said part of the fun of vacations is planning, and a recent survey found 84% of Americans are excited to plan a vacation in the next six months.

"Those plans, that whole process is giving them joy — and it also helps us have a sense of control, which we have all lost, very definitely, over the last year," Lambert said. "So any time we can plan for something exciting, it does bring you joy and lift your spirits."

So why aren't people taking their PTO? The top reasons are the heavy workload, the inability to get someone to cover your shift and fear of looking less committed to your job.

RELATED: Canada to require negative COVID test for people entering country

RELATED: Louisville Tourism releases estimated economic impact of major events in 2021

►Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.  

Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

Before You Leave, Check This Out