Have you gone on vacation this summer? According to a new survey of more than 4,000 American workers conducted by Project: Time Off, the state you live in has a big impact on your vacation habits. If you’re in Colorado, you’re in luck. Colorado’s residents score a Rocky Mountain High, taking the most vacation time in the country. But Montana is another story — the Treasure State clearly doesn’t treasure its time off, coming in at the bottom of the list by taking the least vacation in the U.S.
Powered by a number of travel companies, hotel brands and tourism boards, Project: Time Off is an initiative focused on changing America’s vacation problems. And when you look at the results of the latest survey, this country definitely has problems. Every year, Americans leave a whopping 705 million vacation days unused. On average, they’re taking just 17.2 days out of the 23.2 that they earn. While they’re taking 2% more vacation than they did last year, it’s still not great: 52% of Americans say that they’re not using all their vacation days.
In addition to the state-by-state ranking, Project: Time Off’s research shows how little people unplug, how high their work stress is and how discouraging their employers are when it comes to using vacation. It also shows the disparity between the sexes. Women are less likely to use their vacation days than men (46% versus 49%). Women are also less happy with their time off. Only 59% of women say they’re satisfied with the amount of time off used, compared to 63% of men.
But there’s some good news, too: The survey shows a direct correlation between vacation days that are used on travel and happiness. “Not all days off have equal benefit,” says Project: Time Off vice president Katie Denis. “Our studies have shown that employees who use their vacation days for travel are significantly happier than the ones who spend their days off close to home, and that holds true at the state level, too.”
According to the survey, Americans taking all or most of their vacation days to travel report being 20% happier with their personal relationships and 56% happier with their health and well-being than people who stay at home. Travelers are happier at work, too — 28% are happier with their company and 24% happier with their jobs than those who do little to no travel on their vacation days.
Below, we’ve got the state-by-state ranking of the places with the best and worst vacation habits across the country, so that you can see how your state fared, as well as some noteworthy stats from the survey.
• The Winning State: Way to go, Colorado! This state takes the most vacation time in the U.S., with an average of 20.3 vacation days a year. Colorado residents get more vacation time, too: 27.9 days off.
• The Losing State: Montana takes the fewest vacation days in the country — 16.3 days. But the people who live here also get less time off, earning just 21.8 vacation days a year.
• The State That Travels The Most: Virginia residents travel the most during their time off, with an average of 12.2 days a year. This accounts to 64% of Virginians’ total paid vacation — and is significantly higher than the U.S. average.
• The State That Travels The Least: South Dakota uses a national low of 4.3 vacation days to travel, or 26% of their time off. Not surprisingly, South Dakotans also report lower levels of happiness and higher levels of stress. Compared to the national average (44%), 64% of South Dakotans report home-life stress. And 78% of South Dakotans report work-life stress, compared to 66% nationally.
• Least Likely to Unplug: Washington, D.C. leads the country in its inability to unplug on vacation, with only 13% of respondents turning off their devices while they’re away.
• Most Likely to Unplug: Indiana is the state most likely to go off the grid. Six in 10 Hoosiers say they completely unplug when they go on vacation, compared to just 37% nationally.
• The Happiest Workers: Arizona is tied with Washington for the highest rates of happiness with their company.
State-By-State Ranking of Vacation Days Used
- Colorado (20.3)
- Virginia (18.9)
- Arizona (18.8)
- Connecticut (18.6)
- Minnesota (18.4)
- New Mexico (18.4)
- Maryland (18.3)
- Ohio (18.2)
- Washington D.C. (18.1)
- Florida (18)
- West Virginia (18)
- Missouri (18)
- Oklahoma (17.9)
- Wisconsin (17.8)
- New Jersey
- New York
- South Carolina
- New Hampshire (17.4)
- North Dakota
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- Rhode Island
- Delaware (16.5)
- Montana (16.3)
More Info: www.forbes.com