Can Skipping Travel Be Hazardous to Your Health?

01 of 06

Missing Vacations Can Hurt Health, Families, and Work Productivity

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Previous studies have suggested traveling too much can be hazardous to one's overall health. From problems with jetlag and hydration to depression and anxiety tied to hypermobility, spending too much time away from home can create a myriad of problems greater than missing friends and family.

However, additional studies suggest that not taking vacation time from work can create hazards as well. While the effects of hypermobility have been extensively studied, could the opposite be true? If we do not travel and take vacation time, could we face consequences to our health, our personal lives, and our family lives?

A set of studies collected by Project: Time Off suggests not taking vacation time could be as hazardous as traveling the world without travel insurance. Before putting off that next vacation for another year, consider the following issues you may be exposed to while browsing through everyone else's vacation photos

02 of 06

Not Taking Vacation Adds to Stress Levels

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Although more Americans are scheduled to travel in 2016, many are still hesitant about taking their next vacation. In a commissioned study completed by GfK Public Affairs and Corporate Communications, nearly half of Americans are not planning on using all of their vacation time this year.

When pressed to find out why that many workers did not take their time off, the study revealed that employee's fears kept them at their desks. The most cited reasons workers said they would not use vacation time included fear of returning to overwhelming amounts of work, not being able to use their time off, and not being seen as replaceable. Conversely, around one-fourth of those polled said they felt either "very" or "extremely" stressed by their work and inability to take vacation time.

The studies showed that as employees do not take regular vacations, their stress levels can rise over time. Regular stress can contribute to a number of health complications, from weakened immune systems to weight gain over time. Therefore, it can be safely concluded that taking the time for a proper vacation could help Americans not only feel better about their jobs but also live healthier lives with reduced stress. 

03 of 06

Not Taking Vacation Can Lead to Domestic Difficulties

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In addition to creating problems at work, not taking vacation time can also lead to domestic difficulties as well. While hypermobility and spending a lot of time away from home can be hazardous to relationships, not taking vacation with loved ones may be equally damaging.

Through a study completed by GfK KnowledgePanel, the majority of children responding to the survey said their parents routinely bring work stress home. Furthermore, three-quarters of those polled said their parent is unable to stop working while at home.

This inability to create work-life balance correlates with negative situations within the family. Of those responding to the survey, 59 percent of children said they were upset by their parents prioritizing work over family issues, while 79 said they also experience a level of stress in their daily lives.

By taking a vacation, families have the opportunities to not only reconnect but reduce the load of stress they are carrying from work as well. In a 2008 study, a doctorate student at Capella University discovered planning and completing a family vacation added to positive feelings for both parents and children.   

04 of 06

Not Taking Vacation Leads to Work Dissatisfaction

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While personal and family satisfaction are two of the primary reasons people take vacations, there are also benefits in the office as well. Workers who regularly took their vacation time were found to be more satisfied and engaged in their careers, leading to better longevity in a position.

In a commissioned study completed by the Society of Human Resource Managers, human resource professionals polled reported employees who took all of their vacation time were happier in their work on a daily basis. Specifically, around three-in-four said employees who take all of their vacation time are more productive, and are more satisfied in their jobs than those who do not use their allotted paid time off.

When returning to the office from vacation time, human resources professionals note that their employees perform better as well. Over three quarters of those responding noted employees who come back from vacation time have a higher work performance than before leaving for vacation, with increased job satisfaction as well.

While there are many secrets to enjoying a long and prosperous career, one of the most underrated may be taking vacation time. By appreciating time away from the office and taking well-earned vacation time, workers can stay motivated and focused on their work. 

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05 of 06

Not Taking Vacation Time Can Have Financial Penalties

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Finally, while not taking vacation time can create health and well-being concerns, those who remain at their desks all year round can also leave money on the table as well. Those considering asking for a raise may want to consider taking some time away to think over their options first.

In a study completed by Oxford University and sponsored by American Express, analysis discovered that those who put in more time at their terminals were less likely to get a promotion or pay raise at work. Employees who leave more than 10 days of paid time off at work were discovered to be 6.5 percent less likely to receive a pay raise or bonus than their counterparts who did use all their vacation time every year.

Furthermore, the analysis discovered that taking vacation time also spreads more money around for everyone in the economy. According to the Oxford analysis, Americans taking four more vacation days every year would create a $284 billion impact on the economy, resulting in more cash flowing for everyone. The consensus is clear: when Americans take vacation everyone wins. 

06 of 06

The Benefits of Vacation: Better Workers, More Family Time, and Relaxed Workers

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While traveling too much can create problems, the opposite statement is also true. Those who spend all of their time behind their desks can also suffer from additional stress, strained family relationships, and dissatisfaction in the workplace.

Although the hazards of travel have been well documented – from the constant threat of terrorism to viral infections spread by mosquitoes – there are also major hazards which come from skipping past the vacation time. Through education and preparation, all travelers can reap the benefits of seeing the world year after year, leading to a more fulfilled life. 

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