Project: TimeOff has uncovered an alarming trend over the last 40 years: Americans are taking fewer and fewer vacation days. To reverse this trend, we aim to prove that vacation travel is valuable and necessary for strengthening personal relationships, inspiring creative thinking, improving professional performance, and promoting better health. [courtesy-National Day of Calendar]

Are you guilty? At the end of the calendar year do you have unused vacation time? My husband always does, and it is often a case of use it or lose it, pay wise. In his case, he loves to work, and isn’t so much into strange beds and airport delays. He  is much more comfortable at home in his own chair watching sports. The last time we traveled we had airport delays on both ends of the trip and he swore he would never fly again. Thankfully he isn’t sticking to that declaration and we are going to witness the swallows return to Capistrano in March. I can’t wait.

When we first got married, we had a Harley. We would leave Labor Day weekend for at least a seven-day trip. It’s very interesting to pack for a week when you only have the space of an overnight bag. On each vacation we would go from fabric shop to Harley shop on the way to our destination. We covered all of New England over a seven-year period. If you ask me, the best part of each trip was the time we had together as a couple with no kids, family or work-mates involved. It was our time.

The knees and backs made it necessary to give up the Harley and now we have a Mini-Cooper convertible and we tend to visit family and friends when we take a long drive. It’s not the same relationship strengthener as getting soaked while on a bike.

Vacations, like anything else, happen if you plan them ahead of time instead of saying, next week we’ll get to it. My son works for UPS and he has to put in his vacation weeks at the beginning of the year. He plans for time off during hunting season, a week away with the kids and special events he knows are coming. It does make it difficult when an out-of-town wedding pops up on the event calendar and he can’t change his vacation dates, but the family has become accustomed to that.

The Project:TimeOff website has some interesting and helpful information about vacation planning. One of the categories is whether to stay “plugged-in” or not. I wouldn’t have thought of that. One of the things we always pack is our phone chargers. Maybe we should give it a go without them. Probably not! I encourage you to use your vacation time, go see a natural wonder or visit an aging relative you haven’t seen in years. I can almost guarantee you’ll enjoy it and you won’t lose any unused vacation days.