Americans wasted an astronomical amount of vacation days last year

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Employees in the US workforce sure don’t like using their vacation days.

A whopping 768 million vacation days went to waste last year, despite Americans taking more trips than the year before, according to new research by the US Travel Association. 

A whopping 236 million days were forfeited entirely, according to the research, which resulted in $65.6 billion lost benefits.

The forfeited days not only wasted opportunities for workers, but also for the economy. This means $151.5 billion in travel spendings went unused, which would create two million American jobs, according to the study.

Americans took 1.8 billion trips around the US last year, an increase from the past, the number of unused vacation days increased by 8% from 2017. The average American used more paid-time-off (17.4 in 2018 vs. 17.2 in 2017), but that number is about three days less compared to how Americans used vacation days four decades ago.

The average amount of unused PTO increased to six and a half days, up from six days in 2017.

“When I see how many vacation days went unused, I don’t just see a number — I see 768 million missed opportunities to recharge, experience something new and connect with family and friends,” U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow said in a statement.

“However, it’s an unfortunate truth that cost is the top barrier to travel. Despite the financial challenges of traveling, there are affordable alternatives to explore America — whether it’s a drive up the coast or a day trip to a neighboring town.”