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Expedia Reveals Wasted Vacations recently commissioned its fifth annual
“Vacation Deprivation” survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, and
uncovered that Americans are likely to give back more than 421 million
vacation days in 2005, with each employed U.S. adult anticipated to leave
an average of three vacation days on the table this year. In fact, nearly
a third (31 percent) of Americans reported that they do not always take
all of their vacation days, despite almost half (48 percent) admitting
that they come back from a vacation feeling rested, rejuvenated and
reconnected in their personal life. “Americans’ state of Vacation Deprivation is unfortunately becoming a
disturbing trend—one with a definite price tag,” says Kari Swartz, product manager for leisure travel. “This year alone, the
value of the vacation days that Americans are projected to give back is
estimated at almost $54 billion.”

This year for the first time, Expedia expanded its popular survey
internationally and reached out to the working populations of Canada,
France, Germany, Great Britain, and the Netherlands to uncover how they
utilized their vacations. Compared to other countries included in the
survey, Americans’ vacation attitudes and habits definitely stood out as
an anomaly. For example, U.S. workers received the least amount of
vacation days (12 on average), were most likely to work over 40 hours a
week (35 percent), and tied with Canada for giving back the most vacation
days per person (3 days on average). This paints a very bleak picture that
hopefully will inspire Americans to adopt the more healthy vacation habits
demonstrated by the other countries included in the survey:

* France wins the distinction for being the vacation champions, with each
employed adult receiving an average of 39 days and with nearly half (45
percent) taking at least one 3-4 week vacation a year. * German workers
are vacation lovers too, receiving an average of 27 vacation days, with 56
percent reporting that they always take all of their vacation days. *
Employed workers in the Netherlands receive an average of 25 vacation days
each year, with the majority (62 percent) planning on taking at least one
vacation lasting up to two full weeks. * Adults employed in Great Britain
may receive the least amount of vacation days in the European countries
surveyed (23 days), but they definitely appreciate each and every vacation
day ... and then some, with 40 percent saying that they’d sacrifice a
day’s pay to get an extra day off. * Employed Canadian adults receive an
average of 20 days of vacation—easily beating out their neighbors to
the South. And more than half (54 percent) use all of their vacation days.

So, when Americans do get around to vacationing, what do they do?
According to the survey, it’s all about the family: Almost a third (31
percent) say that they spend most of their vacation time traveling with
their immediate family and 27 percent say that they visit out of town
family and relatives. Plus, 38 percent of U.S. adults anticipate using the
majority of their vacation time for 2005 by taking one full week and then
using the remaining days throughout the year.