Virginia leads the nation for vacation days used

WASHINGTON — Americans don’t use enough of their earned vacation time, but Virginia residents are doing a better job of it than residents of any other state.

Nonprofit Project Time Off says Virginia, along with Colorado and Arizona, lead the country for vacation days used, and Virginia takes the top spot when it comes to vacation days spent traveling.

Virginians spend an average 12.2 of their vacation days traveling, significantly higher than the American average of just eight days. And that’s a good thing.

“Not all days off have equal benefit,” said 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,” she said.

Project Time Off says in South Dakota, where employees use a national low of just 4.3 of their vacation days traveling, just 20 percent of workers report being happy with their health and well-being. The national average for health and well-being happiness is 49 percent.

There is also the question of whether work follows employees on their vacation, and D.C. residents are the worst at that. Only 13 percent of D.C. employees say they completely leave work behind while on vacation. That’s half as many in Virginia who say they do.

Nebraska and Connecticut residents are also among the best at unplugging, but even so, only 27 percent say they do.

The traditional weeklong trip remains the gold standard for most Americans, with 72 percent saying they prefer that length over a long-weekend vacation.

Project Time Off’s survey included more than 4,300 Americans working full-time who receive paid time off from their employer.

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