“With so many Americans opting not to use all of their accrued vacation time, it’s critical that vacation planning include a comprehensive travel insurance policy that will cover anything from medical emergencies to flight delays and global incidents,” says Rajeev Shrivastava, CEO and founder of VisitorsCoverage in Santa Clara, California.
National Plan for Vacation Day is celebrating its seventh year in the US on Tuesday, January 29, 2019. This national day was created by Project: Time Off and the US Travel Association in response to the ‘work martyrdom’ syndrome of Americans not taking accrued paid time off for much-needed vacations. In 2017, Americans used 17.2 vacation days, the most since 2010, yet still 52 percent of employees have unused vacation days at the end of the year. Americans left 705 million unused vacation days on the table in 2017, up from 662 million days the year before, equaling a $255 billion missed economic opportunity that could potentially create 1.9 million jobs in the travel and hospitality industries.
There is also a disconnect in vacation planning time with 78 percent of employers reporting that they prefer employees to advise them of their vacation times at the beginning of the year, but nearly half of employees (48 percent) plan their vacations just six weeks in advance, leaving many managers not being able to approve their vacations with such short notice.
“Project: Time Off’s research findings are in direct correlation to our customers’ travel insurance purchase patterns,” Shrivastava says. “Over 75 percent of our customers purchase their travel insurance coverage just two months prior to their departure date even though studies have shown that travelers who plan their trips months in advance are happier, less stressed and more productive at work.”
VisitorsCoverage has an online comparison tool that lets travelers find the best travel insurance coverage for them in minutes. Project: Time Off has developed a vacation planning tool that lets employees plan and share their vacations with calendars, bosses and friends, even offering discounts and giveaways from travel organizations and a media-friendly “Vacation in America by the Numbers” tool that details unused vacation days and untapped economic benefit by state.
“Unforeseeable events can happen at any time on holiday,” Shrivastava continues. “Injuries, flight cancellations, inclement weather, natural disasters, even civil unrest like what we saw in France over last year’s holiday months. A travel insurance policy will help to ensure that the precious week or two of planned vacation time taken will not be impacted by external events that are out of a traveler’s control.”