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Americans Regret How They Used Their Vacation Days in 2018, Survey Says

Dec. 01, 2018
4 min read
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Have you used all of your paid vacation days for 2018? If not, you're in good company. A quarter of the people surveyed in a new study by Priceline said they still have more than nine vacation days left on the table, with just one month left in the calendar year.

According to Priceline's just-released Work-Life Balance Report, which surveyed more than 1,000 people across the US, less than half of Americans (45%) said they always use all their vacation days every year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the percentage is even lower among women — only 39% of women who responded said they always use all of their PTO.

It's not exactly news that Americans lose out on an awful lot of paid time off. (Research from Project: Time Off suggests that 24% of workers didn't use any time off in 2017.) But the Priceline survey also found that Americans weren't particularly satisfied with the ways they used their days off in 2018.

More than 41% of people reported that those "oblication" trips (you know, a second cousin's baby shower or overpriced bachelor getaway) were among their top travel regrets when it comes to how they used hard-earned vacation days. And more than one in four people said they plan to take less paid time off for wedding-related travel in 2019.

When it comes to travel resolutions for 2019, nearly 60% of people surveyed said they plan to take more time off next year than they did this year. Nearly half declared they intend to embark on more solo trips, while a third hope to plan a trip outside the US. Almost two-thirds of Americans surveyed plan to take a passion-driven trip. Of course, some things don't really ever change. Relaxation (40%) and food (41%) were the two most common reasons why people surveyed said they travel.

If you're among the cohort that still has vacation days left to use this year, it's not too late. We did a quick search using Kayak's Explore tool and found some very tempting options for $400 or less

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Departing from New York City

  • Soak up some sun on Mexico's Riviera Maya with flights to Cancún from $269 when you combine one-way tickets aboard Spirit and United. (This is a Hacker Airfare with flights departing JFK and returning via EWR.)
  • Embrace Charleston's southern charm with direct flights from JFK on JetBlue from $191.
  • Try your hand at celeb-spotting in Tinseltown with flights to LAX for as low as $218, so long as you don't mind a transcontinental flight with Spirit.
  • Venture into the cold and try to spot the Northern Lights in Iceland with flights to Reykjavík from $240 with WOW Air.

Departing from Chicago (ORD)

  • Embrace Danish hygge in Copenhagen with flights for as low as $340 — also with WOW Air.
  • Explore Ecuador with $400 round-trip flights to Quito on Aeromexico.
  • Hack your way to sun, sand and salsa dancing in Havana with fares combining one-way tickets on JetBlue and United for just $313.

Departing from Los Angeles (LAX)

  • Get ready for some R&R at a new, luxe resort in Cabo with hacker fares to San Jose del Cabo starting at $204 when you combine flights on Interjet and United.
  • Let off some steam in Las Vegas with direct flights on Spirit Airlines for $102.
  • Eat your way through the Big Easy with flights to New Orleans for $172 aboard Spirit Airlines.

Because whatever you do, you shouldn't let a single vacation day go to waste!