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Why You Should Get Ready to Plan a Vacation

Even before the pandemic, Americans let vacation days go unused in vast numbers. The lockdowns, quarantines and COVID-19 have not changed that. It’s clearer than ever that Americans need to get away and that’s why this year’s National Plan for Vacation Day is even more important.

“People are desperate to travel,” said Samantha Brown, host of the PBS show "Samantha Brown's Places to Love". “One thing we have learned is that travel is one of the few things in our lives that mark a fresh start. We are desperately in need of that renewal.”

Erin Francis-Cummings, president CEO of Destination Analysts, shared new research that showed Americans continue to leave vacation days on the table even though a vast majority say that vacations bring them joy and that even planning a vacation improves mental health.

The survey found that U.S. workers that have paid time off say it’s important to use it with 36 percent saying that it is extremely important to take a vacation. Thirty-nine percent said that it is very important, and 17 percent said it is somewhat important.

This year, vacation time is proving to be even more important to Americans with 63 percent agreeing with the statement that they “desperately need a vacation.”

Travelers' priorities have definitely been affected by the pandemic. They include the need for a change of scenery, desire to travel more with family and friends, prioritization of places on bucket lists, seeing more of the U.S., traveling internationally and more.

When comparing 2019 to 2021, 25 percent of Americans surveyed said that they would travel more. Forty-three percent will take more trips by car, and 42 percent will visit more outdoor-oriented destinations. Forty-four percent will do more trip planning in advance.

Only 28 percent of Americans who receive paid time off plan in advance. It looks like that number may increase in 2021, which means that National Plan for Vacation Day is an important way to highlight the need for taking a vacation, especially because research also shows that planners are happier.

More than 68 percent of those who plan their time off are happier. Sixty-four percent report better physical health and wellbeing, and more than 60 percent are happier with their jobs and the companies for whom they work.

This year, interest and excitement in planning a vacation for 2021 is extremely high at the moment. Thirty-one percent of travelers are extremely excited to plan a trip, while 33 percent said they were “excited.” Twenty-percent said that they were somewhat excited, and only 16 percent said that they were not at all excited to plan a vacation.

Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association pointed out that, right now, there has never been a better time to plan because there are numerous deals and companies are offering unprecedented flexibility for bookings. He also noted that these benefits will not be around forever.

“Vacation planners are going to be rewarded this year more than ever before,” said Dow. “Not only will planners reap the significant personal benefits of looking forward to their next travel experience, but they will find some of the friendliest booking conditions we have seen in a very long time.

“After the very real peril and hardship that too many have endured due to the pandemic, National Plan for Vacation Day is the perfect opportunity to look ahead to a future travel experience when the time is right for you to travel once again.”

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