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Unlocking Your Vacation Potential: Why We Don't Take PTO and How Travel Advisors Can Help

Updated: Apr 2

Two men at an airport

In my previous career as a Human Resources Professional, I've worn many hats - managing payroll, leaves, recruitment, benefits, and compensation. Through it all, I've witnessed a common trend that I can't shake: employees not fully embracing one of the most valuable benefits their employers offer - paid time off or vacation time. It's a perplexing reality. Despite the fact that PTO is a perk they've earned and deserve, too many people let it slip through their fingers, unused and unappreciated. In the United States alone, a staggering 55% of employees leave PTO on the table each year, according to the US Travel Association.

One refrain that echoed persistently in every HR office I inhabited was the desire for more PTO. Job candidates would often negotiate for higher rates during the offer stage, and newly promoted individuals would seek increases in their PTO allocations. Yet, curiously, the majority never fully utilized these augmented benefits. Employers are catching on to this phenomenon, implementing measures like annual vacation accrual caps and a "use it or lose it" mentality, but still, employees hesitate to take time off.

So, how are you holding up? Feeling the burnout creeping in? The pandemic and its aftermath have left an indelible mark, with a staggering 76% of adult workers reporting burnout, according to the Society of Human Resource Management. Burnout, characterized by both mental and physical exhaustion, exacts a toll on morale, performance, and even retention rates - contributing to what's been dubbed the "Great Resignation."

Fast Facts on Time Off Infographic

Even when you do manage to escape for a vacation, it's often overshadowed by guilt. Guilt for not being available to your colleagues or manager. This pervasive feeling stems from the misconception that constant availability equates to dedication and reliability. But in reality, it's akin to theft - stealing away precious moments of relaxation and recharge. If nodding off at your desk is labeled as time theft, then surely checking emails or squeezing work tasks while on vacation falls into the same category.

Monthly Planner

So, what's keeping you tethered to your desk instead of embracing your next adventure? This is where the resurgence of travel advisors enters the picture. Planning a vacation can become just as stress-inducing as your daily job demands.

And let's not forget the ever-evolving landscape of health regulations, particularly in the wake of recent events. Navigating the complexities of travel logistics amidst changing guidelines can be a daunting task. It's no wonder many are turning to travel advisors for assistance charting their course through this maze.

Next time you're perusing your employee portal or glancing at your paycheck stub, take a moment to consider your accrued PTO. Perhaps it's time to take the leap and seek some expert guidance. Stay tuned for my next blog post, where I'll delve into why travel advisors might just be the ticket to unlocking the full potential of your vacation time.


Zippia, Chris Kolmar, 8/18/2022,

“How passive ‘face-time’ affects perceptions of employees: Evidence of spontaneous trait interference.” Elsbach, Cable, & Sherman,

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