Take back your vacation time!


For most of us, vacation time is use it or lose it!

Stop losing your vacation time. It is bad enough that, increasingly, it seems, more of us have fewer days off for national holidays like Columbus Day.


Consider this. Journalist Brad Tuttle of Money magazine wrote, “Columbus Day belongs in a category that might be considered second-tier holidays, in which a sizable portion of employees get the day off, but the majority of us are expected to work like normal. Of all these days, Columbus Day gets the least respect.”

According to Tuttle, slightly more than one-third of organizations are closed on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and President’s Day, 22 percent are shuttered on Veterans Day and only 14 percent are closed on Columbus Day.

Not only are we getting screwed out of our national holidays, we are also not taking our vacation days. Last year, 46 percent of the nation’s workforce did not take their paid vacation leave.

Based on this finding and research conducted by Diamond Resorts International, TakeBackYourTime.org hosted the first annual Vacation Commitment Summit this week in New York City. Major corporations including MasterCard and Go Daddy were on hand to address vacation deprivation and the American worker.

John de Graaf, president of TakeBackYourTime.org, said, “People are afraid to leave their jobs and truly unwind, and the costs in general health and productivity are enormous. We want employees to take their vacations as if their lives depended on it.”

The summit is a step towards changing the culture around paid vacation in America by fostering corporate and individual support. Take Back Your Time is advocating for broader cultural change in the workplace and promoting policy change.

You can change your own vacation policy right away and take your vacation days now.

I recently talked to a high-level executive at a Fortune 500 company who worked for more than a year on a major acquisition that ultimately did not happen. I asked him what he learned in the process and what he wouldn’t do again. His response? He would never cancel another vacation.

The travel and hospitality industry would be major beneficiaries of people having more time and money to travel (good thing the economy is getting better). No surprise that the Take Back Your Time Vacation Commitment Initiative is supported by Diamond Resorts International®.

Research commissioned by the U.S. Travel Association in 2013 reported couples who travel together are significantly more satisfied with their relationships, enjoying better sex and improved romance long after the trip ends. Among the report’s findings: More than one in every four couples (28 percent) said their sex life improved after traveling together and, of those, 40 percent said sex together is permanently better after travel. Additionally, couples who travel together have more time for intimacy and sex. Among couples who did not take a trip together in the past year, nearly one in four (23 percent) said they “do not have enough time for intimacy and sex.”

So there you have it! Not only did you earn that travel day, you’ll likely have a better time in that hotel-room bed!

Looking for great travel ideas? Check out past “Outbound” columns at epgn.com.

Jeff Guaracino is the author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.”