Don’t waste unused vacation time

Every year more than half of Americans fail to use all their time off, creating a stock pile of 662 million unused vacation days. AAA, in collaboration with Project: Time Off, knows the most effective remedy for American workers who want to use more vacation days is better planning. Yet only 54 percent of households set aside time to plan the use of their vacation time each year.

RELATED: Danger: Preventing cold-weather car breakdowns

In Ohio, 49 percent of employees leave 21,985,976 days unused. By planning, we can all reap the benefits of taking a break while giving yourself something to look forward to during those long, cold winter days.

Research shows that planners have a distinct advantage over non-planners. “Project: Time Off’s The State of American Vacation 2017” report found that planners use more of their time, take longer vacations, and are happier.

  • 52 percent of planners took all of their vacation time vs. 40 percent of non-planners.
  • 75 percent of planners were more likely to take a full week of vacation time or more at a time. Non-planners take significantly fewer days—zero to three—than planners at once (42 vs. 18 percent).
  • More planners report they are “very” or “extremely” happy with their relationships (83 vs. 70 percent), health and well-being (57 vs. 48 percent), company (57 vs. 51 percent), and job (59 vs. 50 percent) compared to non-planners.

Vacation planning doesn’t have to be stressful. Make it easy by using, the AAA mobile app or a travel agent to plan the perfect vacation. AAA not only provides peace of mind when you travel, but helps you get started, and get to your destination.

AAA suggests the following tips to make your vacation planning a reality:

  • Create a tentative budget and schedule so your trip planning can be accomplished in a realistic manner.
  • Research and understand the pros and cons of traveling to a destination during your preferred timeframe. Identify attractions or activities you are most interested in and determine if they will be available.
  • Leverage your AAA exclusive member discounts for car rentals, flights, hotels, vacation packages and much more. Visit or download the free AAA mobile app.
  • Consider booking vacations with a travel agent. AAA offers travel services at their branch locations. In addition to having in-depth expertise about destinations across the globe, AAA Travel Agencies have relationships with cruise lines, hotels and tour operators and often have access to special rates and added benefits that are not available elsewhere.
  • Plan ahead. If you are leaving the country you will need a passport, and possibly a visa or health documentation. It can take up to six weeks to get a new passport, so allow time to secure all necessary documents.
  • Consider purchasing travel insurance, it is designed to offer protection against sudden and unforeseen events. Check with a travel agent and carefully review insurance policies before purchasing, as coverage options vary.

In addition to AAA’s tips, Project: Time Off created a vacation-planning tool to help employees get their vacation days on the calendar.

Every month in Life, Cindy Antrican, Dayton-based public affairs manager for AAA Allied Group, Inc., provides traffic safety tips and information for motorists. Email:

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