Americans wasted 658 million vacation days in 2015.
That’s nearly 2.2 vacation days for every person in the United States. According to Project Time Off, this is the highest number of vacation days they have ever seen.
More than half of American workers (55%) left vacation time unused in 2015. This adds up to 658 million unused vacation days. It is the highest number Project: Time Off has ever reported, far exceeding the previous 429 million count.
That’s unacceptable. Our bosses may love our commitment to the job, but it’s not good for us, and it’s not good for our country.
We understand the importance of vacations and taking breaks and what it does for our bodies and minds. But did you realize that by taking time off, you could be boosting the economy?
If every American used their vacation days, a whopping $160 billion would be added to the national economy, and another $21 billion generated in taxes. Plus, 1.6 million jobs would be created.
It can happen when you least expect it or you can discover it when you’re retrieving it from the baggage carousel, but no matter how it happens, a broken suitcase has the potential to severely impact your travel experience. With a little bit of resourcefulness, you can get through your trip and back home. Here are some ways to address common problems, as well as some Travelpro® product features specially designed to help avoid on-the-road luggage disasters.
If your telescoping handle sticks, apply a small amount of lubricant to literally grease the skids. See if you can track down some WD-40; if that’s not available, a little soap can help. If the handle is slightly bent, you may try manipulating it back into proper position. If it’s clearly broken, at least you have the other handles to carry the bag. An add-a-bag attachment strap, such as Travelpro® offers on many of its rolling products, would allow you to hook your broken bag onto another until you can address the issue.
If your wheels aren’t rolling smoothly, chances are there’s something stuck in them that’s inhibiting their movement. Wipe them with a damp cloth and look for anything that might be stuck in the wheel housing. If the wheels are wobbly, causing the bag not to pull straight behind you, the screws could be loose. Tighten them up – if you don’t have a screwdriver handy, call down to the front desk and ask for one. Travelpro designs its wheel systems with the frequent traveler in mind, subjecting their products to miles of rigorous testing. Our patented MagnaTrac™ Spinner wheels are self-aligning and have a specially designed housings to protect them from damage on baggage ramps and as they’re pulled over curbs and through terminals.
There’s a great deal of emphasis these days being placed on personal security while traveling. But have you thought about ways you might be “leaving the door unlocked” for thieves while you’re away from home? By instituting a few simple routines, you can keep your house secure while you’re traveling for business or leisure.
This first one may seem a bit obvious, but in our oversharing culture it’s worth noting: Do not post on social media when you’re going out of town. Disable the “check in to favorites” and “check in to recent places” on your Swarm/Foursquare app or Facebook, so those apps do not automatically display that you’re in another state.
Also, avoid posting vacation pictures until you return from your trip so those who search the Internet for this kind of information can’t easily target your home. One good use of technology: a simple text sent to neighbors you trust, telling them you’re leaving town and asking them to keep an eye on your place, may raise someone’s suspicion if they see unusual activity around your home.
Home automation is another technology method, but we’re long past the days of the automatic timers that shut off all the lights at exactly the same time every day. A free web service called IFTTT (which used to be If This, Then That) allows you to use its partnerships with various manufacturers’ products to control your house’s lighting, heating and cooling, and alarm system remotely.
There are almost as many ways to see the world as there are people living in it. Those who travel on someone else’s dime have learned how to take advantage of at least one of the following six opportunities: sell, write and promote, exchange, work, points, and luck.
Selling may seem like the most unlikely way to travel free, but if you’re an organizer who is good at bringing people together and you convince 15 of your friends or family to vacation together somewhere, you just might be able to negotiate free airfare or lodging for yourself.
Another option is to get a job in the world of international sales, and spend a lot of your time on the road.
Travel writing/promoting is a growing business and a unique way to get a great vacation in exchange for a review on social media of your experience. Even if the cruise or tour doesn’t live up to expectations, it’s still really a win-win: you get to travel free and you get to share the pros and cons of your trip with your audience. TravelPro has a luggage reviewers program and is a travel partner with Two Monkeys Travel. We’re meeting all kinds of travelers and influencers who fund vacations through their own promotion and writing work.
Have you ever wanted to visit a country and live like the locals? Through Couchsurfing and HomeExchange.com, you can share authentic travel experiences while staying in someone’s home in one of 65,000 homes in 165 countries or invite a traveler to stay with you while visiting your town.
If you travel for work, one of the greatest perks is tacking on a few days or taking an extended vacation after you’ve completed your responsibilities. After all, the company has already footed the bill for your airfare, so you can delay your departure by a few days, and you just have to pay for that time yourself.
Perhaps the most common way to travel free is to use points with one of the many loyalty programs available through airlines or destinations like Disney. Do your research and glean from those who have learned the ins and outs of the system, and you’ll find amazing vacations can be earned by using a credit card or hoarding your points from work travel.
Photo credit: kokorowashinjin (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)
Traveling is expensive; there’s no way around it. But that doesn’t mean you have to fall prey to the hidden costs and extra surprise charges. There are ways to avoid unnecessary fees that can come along while you’re traveling, so here are a few ways you can avoid the problem.
When you’re at the car rental agency desk and are asked if you want to buy their insurance, you can politely answer with a confident “no, thank you,” as long as you know that your standard car insurance policy covers rental cars (check with your agent to be sure). Also, some credit cards provide insurance for rental cars as well, like American Express.
Hunger strikes when you’re least prepared, and it seems like the only option available would be the overpriced airport and hotel food. Not true! Since you know you get hungry approximately three times a day, whether traveling or not, avoid that $3 bottle of water by packing your own empty one, and filling it at the water fountain. Better yet, fill it from the bottle-filling stations if available.
Recently, Matt Long, creator of Landlopers and self-described normal person who just wants to get the most out of his traveling, shared his best tips with Yahoo Travel, on engaging and embracing your destination when you take a vacation. We thought you’d benefit from his sage advice.
Except his first tip worried me a bit. He suggests getting lost. As in, on purpose. Long believes there’s much lost from visiting a place if you seek to remain comfortable, only “exploring” the well-known tourist areas of any given city. So, in order to force himself to experience wherever he is like the locals, he intentionally shuts off Google maps and takes off on foot from his hotel for a walkabout.
“Along the way,” Long says, “I always discover little things I would never have found otherwise and, more importantly, I start to get a feel for the real city away from the tourist bubble.”This leads to his second tip: shop a local grocery store. Besides being economical, Long believes you will learn more about the culture you’re trying to experience if you peruse one of its easiest-to-engage gateways, food.
“Food and travel go hand in hand,” Long wrote, “and it really is the best way to become a part of a new culture, rather than just a voyeur.” You’ll be able to purchase snacks and drinks cheaper at a grocery store than at your hotel, and you could even put together a light meal there to take al fresco.
Long also recommends talking to people. “Whether we vacation as a family or a couple, we all tend to stay fixated on our own packs,” Long said, “rarely engaging other travelers or locals. For me, travel is about personal enrichment and growth, and to do that I need to talk to people.”
If you don’t feel comfortable striking up a conversation, Long suggests joining a local walking tour. You’ll meet other travelers, and you’ll have access to someone with a breadth of knowledge who also likes to talk to people from other countries!
Becoming immersed in a different world is part of the appeal of traveling. What are your suggestions for making the most of your time away from home? How do you engage and embrace your destination? Leave us some ideas in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.
Would you like to grow your brain, have more energy, eliminate stress, and decrease your risk for a heart attack?
How does travel grow your brain? Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, explains.
“When you expose your brain to an environment that’s novel and complex or new and difficult, the brain literally reacts,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2014. That exposure causes the brain to sprout dendrites — dangling extensions — which Nussbaum said grow the brain’s capacity. Who doesn’t want a bigger brain?
If you had the choice between being able to maintain adequate hygiene or take a selfie while on vacation, which would you choose? If you said selfie, you have good, albeit stinky, company.
According to a recent study by Expedia of 9,642 travelers, 33 percent said they use their phones more during vacation than while at home. Aman Bhutani, president of Brand Expedia Group, said that participants claimed having their smartphones with them “improved the quality of their vacation.”
How? By providing them with the nagging sense that they’re falling behind on their work every time they gave into the urge to check email or voicemail? The device does offer quite a few helpful applications, but at what cost to truly relaxing?
It seems everyone has a tip for how to make the most of the space you have in your suitcase. No one knows better, though, than flight attendants. Many of them use the Flight Crew Series Rollaboard from Travelpro.
Here are a few of their expert packing tips, as shared with Condé Nast Traveler magazine.
Heavy items such as toiletries and shoes take up a lot of space, but where you put them in your Rollaboard will determine your ease of maneuvering the bag through the airport. If you place your toiletries and shoes in the bottom of the case nearest the wheel base, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. By doing this it keeps the center of gravity low and it avoids heavier items falling into your clothing when the bag is being pulled upright. Flip flops and some sandals are by far the most versatile shoe with the smallest packing “footprint.” They go with many casual outfits and can serve as slippers in the hotel.
Don’t use a garment bag. Generally, they don’t fit in the overhead bins well, and closet space on planes is reserved for use by first class passengers first. If you insist, most likely it will be checked and then you’ll have wrinkled clothes when you arrive.
Here’s a Technology I’d Like To See (TILTS) thought:
Having to make a tight connection is a source of anxiety for many travelers. When our originating flight is delayed, we’ll spend the entire flight rehearsing scenarios, wondering if our connecting flight was also delayed or what gate we’ll have to sprint to. Many of us teeter back and forth between hope and despair, working our stomach into knots.
With the increased automation available within the travel industry, it’s surprising some kind of app hasn’t been invented on behalf of some airline in order to facilitate a better experience for travelers.
For example, a simple email from my airline, informing me of the gate for my connecting flight or letting me know that the flight I’m so desperate to make has also been delayed would alleviate much of my angst and keep me from pressing my call button to pester the flight attendant for information that he or she can’t seem to procure either.