Recently, the Family Travel Association held its first Family Travel Summit. Among one of the presenters: Randy Garfield, formerly president of Walt Disney Travel and executive vice president of World Sales & Travel Operations for Disney Destinations, and a member of the U.S. Travel Association spoke on behalf of Project Time Off, an organization advocating for Americans to take time off from work and vacation together, while also encouraging workplaces to promote the benefits of workers taking time off each year.
The numbers revealed were staggering: 429 million vacation times went unused by Americans in 2014, with nearly 25 percent of parents not taking a family vacation in more than a year. The organization organized a report to examine just how negative an affect skipping vacations was having on children, interviewing kids, ages 8 to 14. From the mouths of babes, six of seven noticed parents bring home work stress, and 75 percent of kids says that when their parents are home, they don’t really disconnect from work. Nearly 60 percent of children were upset by their parents’ lack of presence, with more than 80 percent wanting to spend more time with their parents. Sixty percent also say they want to spend quality time with their parents by taking a vacation together.
Kids state the main reasons for wanting to spend more time with their parents on vacation are to feel closer to them, because “parents are more fun to be around” when they are on vacation, and that families will spend time doing things they will always remember. They also notice parents are more relaxed on vacation and it makes the family stronger.
But don’t just take your child’s word for it. Project Time Off also highlighted a number of studies showcasing the benefits of time off on our health. Two separate heart health studies found that men who didn’t take a vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to have a heart attack, while men who took frequent annual vacations were 21 percent less likely to die from any cause. Women who took a vacation once every six years or less were nearly eight times more likely to develop heart disease as opposed to women who vacationed twice a year. Women who vacationed more were also less likely to experience depression.
Project Time Off is encouraging parents to take a day and join the movement. To learn more, visit Project Time Off.