40% of Workers Don't Use All Their Vacation Days

According to a 2013 report, workers in Austria get the equivalent of 7 weeks off a year. Most Americans get far less, yet 40 percent don’t use all the vacation days they do get, says the US. Travel Assn. The travel industry group claims American workers leave an average of 3.2 days on the table. Don’t let that happen to you and don’t spend more than you have to. Here’s how.

LISTEN: Travel expert Rick Seaney with tips on all kinds of getaways.

Top money-saving tips for airfare shoppers

1. Make plans now

If you don’t make plans, it’s a short leap to, “I guess I could come in if you need me.”

According a 2010 report from the American Psychological Association, “one-third of U.S. employees are chronically overworked” and this can result in lost productivity. Nothing can recharge batteries like travel but we don’t care if you stay home or go away – do what’s right for you – but if you want to travel, make plans now.

Tip: Some feel recharged by taking one, long vacation; others like to spread vacation days out. Whatever your strategy, plan now. The earlier you get the time-off request in, the better your chances of getting the days off you want. Then, start shopping for domestic airfare three months before departure.

2. How to find vacation deals

Maybe you’ve been hearing about the high price of airfare – but deals still exist.

  • Look for hub-to-hub flights: You’ll often find savings on short hauls between major airports – flights that last about 90 minutes or so. Examples include Los Angeles-San Francisco, Boston-New York (or Washington, D.C.). This is an easy way to save year-round.
  • Off-peak destinations: Florida is more expensive in the winter but a better deal in spring and fall.

3. More ways to stretch your airfare bucks

These tips can help save you both money and stress.

  • Shop for airfare on Tuesdays: This is when you’ll find the most deals available.
  • Fly the cheapest days: You’ll usually find the best-priced flights on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Be flexible: Red-eye flights are usually the cheapest with flights at dawn in second place. If you can be flexible enough to forego a non-stop in favor of a connecting flight on longer trips, that can be another way to save – but compare prices to be certain.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute: True last-minute airfare deals are in short supply these days so procrastination usually doesn’t pay. Get your domestic tickets at least three weeks before departure and tickets to Europe about a month-and-a-half before take-off.

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Published: February 24, 2014