Financial Poise
benefits of vacation

The Benefits of Vacation are Many — But You Have to Actually Take One

Are the benefits of vacation time off significant? Do you tell yourself you’re just too busy to take a vacation? What if I told you that some of the benefits of vacation include better health and an improved bottom line? Would you take one then?

A healthy employee is a happier employee who is more effective and present in the everyday workplace. Stress reduction is linked to proven, long-lasting health benefits. From lower blood pressure to better digestive health and a stronger immune system, benefits of vacation are numerous.

Stayin’ Alive: Less Stress Equals a Healthier Body

A vacation won’t cure cancer, but a study by the American Psychological Association found that people who go on vacation tend to experience stress reduction when they put themselves into pleasant surroundings and engage in activities that drain negative energy.

Another study, highlighted by, found that women who took 2 vacations a year were 8 times less likely to develop heart disease compared to women who took no vacations. The study discovered that men who skipped their annual vacation were 32% more likely to die from a heart attack than men who took just one vacation annually.

Is Vacation the Secret to Living Longer?

Even if your vacation involves physically stressful activities like hiking or working on a dude-ranch, that kind of stress has health benefits. Here’s a less obvious benefit of vacation — lower levels of stress hormones may even help you lose weight. Stress hormones contribute to weight and belly fat gain, so, taking a vacation may positively impact your waistline, even if you indulge in extra goodies while you’re away. Excess weight shortens lives.

A women who vacation at least once or twice a year exhibit reduced rates of depression, too, compared to those who vacation less often. Depression impacts life expectancy.

The lesson here? Take a trip and improve your overall health, before you regret passing up those down-time opportunities.

Want a Promotion? Interested in Boosting the U.S. Economy? Vacation!

Some overall health benefits of vacation are obvious, but kicking back has more subtle perks like improved work performance and maybe a bump in pay.

A recent study conducted by Project: Time Off found that Americans use fewer vacation days than ever before, in part because they believe being away from the workplace reflects negatively on them.

According to research, that fear is unfounded. Employers are well aware of the benefits of earned time off.  And, collective failure to use paid vacation time could harm the national economy. Our travel activities mean more dollars spent and that equates to more economic stimulation.

The Benefits of Vacation — Numbers Don’t Lie

Project: Time Off researchers interviewed 5,641 Americans who work more than 35 hours a week and have paid time off. From 1978 to 2000, Americans took an average 20 vacation days a year. In 2015, when a record 55% of respondents reported leaving vacation days on the table, that number fell to 16 days.

“By giving up this time off, Americans are effectively volunteering hundreds of millions of days of free work for their employers, which results in $61.4 billion in forfeited benefits,” the study concluded.

The study, with multiple-choice answers, revealed reasons employees leave their paid vacation days on the table.

  • 37% believe they will return to a mountain of work
  • 30% think no one else can do the job
  • 28% feel it is harder to take time off the higher one climbs in a company
  • 22% desire to show complete dedication to their company and job
  • 19% don’t want to be perceived as replaceable

Does More Vacation = More Money?

In writing about Project: Time Off’s finding that more days at the office do not correlate to upward mobility, the Harvard Business Review offered this anecdote:

“In NBC’s The Office, while trying to get a promotion from his boss Michael Scott, the awkward and overeager Dwight Schrute shows a spreadsheet documenting that he has never been late and has never taken a day off from work. He does not get the promotion. And that is exactly what the data bears out.”

So, could the benefits of vacation include more money? Indeed, it could. The more vacation days you use, the more likely you are to receive a raise. According to the study, those who took fewer than 10 of their vacation days per year had a 34.6% likelihood of receiving a raise or bonus in 3 years. Employees who took more than 10 vacation days had a 65.4% chance.

Vacation as Economic Stimulus

The numbers reported by Project: Time Off are significant. If Americans used the 600 million unused vacation days they earned in 2015, they would have pumped $223 billion into the economy.

If used, those vacation days would have created 1.6 million jobs, resulting in $65 billion in additional income. If each American used one more day, that benefit of vacation would be $34 billion in additional spending. Tax cuts? Who needs ‘em? Go to the beach.

So, is taking a vacation the secret to living longer? It may be for some, and why would you take a risk by skipping your well-earned time off?

You might also enjoy reading:

[Editors’ Note: To learn more about this and related topics, you may want to attend the following on-demand webinars (which you can listen to at your leisure and each includes a comprehensive customer PowerPoint about the topic):

This is an updated version of an article originally published on July 2, 2019. It was most recently edited by Maryan Pelland]

©2022. DailyDACTM, LLC d/b/a/ Financial PoiseTM. This article is subject to the disclaimers found here.

About Mercedes Holmen

Mercedes is a business owner and the Executive Consultant with Rodan + Fields. In addition, she works in the field of behavior analysis for children with autism and their families, specializing in preschool-aged children. She also has her Masters in Science from the University of California at Davis.

Read Full Bio »   •   View all articles by Mercedes Holmen »

Article Comments