The Business of American Vacations

Less and less Americans are taking vacations each year, but there are still enough workers that as many vacation days as they can. Here's a look at those people who can afford to take off, and what they do with that time.

how americans like to spend vacation (Click the image to enlarge)

More than half of American workers fail to take all of their vacation days. Thirty percent say they use less than half their allotted time. And 20 percent take only a few days instead of a week or two.

Among so-called extreme jobholders, 42 percent claim they have to cancel vacation plans “regularly.” Americans take even less vacation time than the Japanese, the people who gave rise to karoshi- the phenomenon of being worked to death.

Some Other Numbers to Consider from Visa’'s Annual Travel Survey:

Twenty-five percent said they will spend more than $1,000 on their vacation, but no more than $2,500.

Twenty percent will spend between $500 and $1,000 on a family vacation.

Ten percent will spend between $2,500 and $5,000.

Fifteen percent don’t take or plan for a summer vacation.

Looking at these averages, it appears that the majority of people, around 45 percent surveyed, spend just over $1,000 on a summer vacation. This is somewhat comparable to results reported by Money Magazine which surveyed travelers and found that the average American family spends about $1,600 on a summer vacation.

Both AAA and Money Magazine have the average vacation cost as being around $1,600 and that seems to be accurate in today’s market as well. Inflation may put that up a couple of dollars over the next year or so, but that number seems to be pretty healthy at this time.

The countries where workers were most likely to use all of their allotted vacation are:

  • France: 89%
  • Argentina: 80%
  • Hungary: 78%
  • Britain: 77%
  • Spain: 77%

On the other end of the spectrum, here are the countries where employees were least likely to use all of their paid leave:

  • United States: 57%
  • South Korea: 53%
  • Australia: 47%
  • South Africa: 47%
  • Japan: 33%

How Much Money Are You Planning to Spend This Year on Vacations Per Person?

Among people of all countries, 39 percent said they will spend nothing and stay at home, 21 percent said up to $618, 15 percent said $620 to $1,236, 12 percent said $1,237 to $2,472 and 9 percent said more than $2,472. Respondents from Europe and the U.S. reported similar numbers.

In Europe, 42 percent said they will spend nothing on vacations and would stay at home, 21 percent said up to $618, 16 percent said $620 to $1,236, 11 percent said $1,237 to $2,472 and 6 percent said more than $2,472. In the U.S., 32 percent said they will spend nothing and stay at home, 18 percent said up to $618, 15 percent said $620 to $1,236, 15 percent said $1,237 to $2,472 and 18 percent said more than $2,472.

Top 25 Most Visited Tourist Destinations in America

  1. Times Square, NY, NY
  2. The Las Vegas Strip, Nevada
  3. National Mall and Memorial Parks, Washington, D.C.
  4. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston, MA
  5. Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Lake Buena Vista, FL
  6. Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA
  7. Fisherman’s Wharf/Golden Gate National Recreational Area, San Francisco, CA
  8. Niagara Falls, NY
  9. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN/NC
  10. Navy Pier, Chicago, IL
  11. Lake Mead National Recreational Area, Arizona/Nevada
  12. Universal Studios Orlando/Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando, FL
  13. Sea World Florida, Orlando, FL
  14. San Antonio River Walk, Texas
  15. Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah
  16. Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, PA/NJ
  17. Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA
  18. Metropolitan Museum, NY, NY
  19. Waikiki Beach, Oahu, HI
  20. Grand Canyon, AZ
  21. Busch Gardens Africa, Tampa Bay, FL
  22. Cape Cod National Seashore, MA
  23. SeaWorld San Diego, CA
  24. American Museum of Natural History, NY, NY
  25. Atlantic City Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ
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