Americans are good at a lot of things, but taking vacation isn't one of them.
Even when U.S. employees have earned paid time off, many keep up the daily grind at work. A recent survey by Glassdoor found that American workers used only half of their authorized vacation time during the past year.
OneMain customers reflect that national trend. When surveyed by OneMain, most (56 percent) said that they have not taken a vacation in the last six months. Another 32 percent reported taking one vacation. A minority of 11 percent responded that they took two or more vacations.
According to the Glassdoor survey, the biggest barrier to using vacation days wasn't lack of money, but an onslaught of anxiety. The main reason workers gave for not taking vacation time was the concern that no other co-worker could fill in for the job, followed by a dread of falling behind. Seventeen percent said that they were afraid of losing their job altogether.
Of course, money also is a consideration for many would-be travelers. Thanks to stagnant wages, consumers aren't awash in discretionary income. In fact, one-third of all U.S. households - around 38 million - live "hand-to-mouth," according to a 2014 study by the Brookings Institution.
But lack of confidence with jobs and finances doesn't have to mean you give up the pleasure of a vacation. Somewhere between a week-long vacation and no vacation at all is a happy medium - the quick weekend getaway.
It can be just the ticket for achieving a breather and engaging in a little family bonding without too much separation anxiety or stress on the wallet.
Long Weekends Beat Long Vacations
OneMain customers prefer domestic destinations, making road trips a desirable option. According to the survey responses, the No. 1 vacation spot is the Southeast, in particular Florida, Disney/Orlando, and the Carolinas.
Almost three-quarters of OneMain customers drove to their last vacation spot, on par with the national average - in 2012, 79 percent of leisure trips were by car, according to the U.S. Travel Association.
If you are planning a getaway weekend - just a couple nights away for basic R&R - you might not want to let travel time eat up your vacation time. In such situations, you may find that closer destinations suit you better.
However, only 15 percent of OneMain customers report traveling less than 200 miles for their last trip, although this option would be the best for saving most time and money on a quick jaunt. According to the GasBuddy.com trip calculator, choosing a destination just 100 miles or so beyond the 200-mile range could increase your gas bill by about 55 percent.
Using economies of scale is another smart way to save on your weekend jaunt. Perhaps you have friends and family in another town who could meet you at a halfway point, or local loved ones who would like to join you on your getaway.
Instead of paying more per head in a hotel room, save money by opting for a vacation rental that can sleep a larger group and splitting the cost between families.
Renting a place with a kitchen also means you will save money by not having to visit so many restaurants. A whopping 77 percent of OneMain customers say they went out to dinner on their last vacation.
Do Less, Enjoy More
When traveling recently, 43 percent of OneMain customers went to a show, theme park, museum, or event. It is important to plan ahead so you'll have an experience that the whole family will enjoy. But overbooking your itinerary with too many activities can feel overwhelming and could overburden your wallet.
Experiencing more may mean doing less. Linger at a cafe. Stroll through a park. And as Budget Travel puts it, don't feel like you have to see and do everything in order to make the most of your trip.
And with vacations now becoming more of a rarity, it is important to stay unplugged on your quick weekend away. According to the Glassdoor survey, 24 percent of workers say they were contacted by co-workers while on vacation. If you can, let it wait, and enjoy your well-deserved play date.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of OneMain. The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else. The author was compensated by OneMain for this post.
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