Pop quiz: When was the last time you took a vacation? A real vacation, not one of those staycations where you stuck around town to finish a project at your home? Do you even remember your last vacation? If you don't, then you are officially vacation deprived.
And you're not alone.
Research from Expedia's 2017 Vacation Deprivation report shows that 50 percent of Americans are vacation deprived and that approximately 462 million vacation days will go unused this year. The study also found that millennials are the most vacation-deprived age group and that people who live in urban areas reported being more vacation deprived than those who lived in suburban or rural areas.
What's causing the vacation deprivation?
Not surprisingly, time and money - or lack thereof - were two of the most common reasons people reported not using their vacation. Another large group of respondents said that even when they find time to go on vacation, they struggle to unplug. A quarter said they still check email and/or voicemails every day while on vacation, with millennials being the most common offenders.
Finding the perfect vacation for you
If you've felt vacation deprived for the past year - or longer - then there's no better time than the present to take the vacation you always wanted and leave your vacation deprivation behind for good. To get you started on the vacation of your dreams, the experts at Expedia offer these tips.
• Back to the beach. Many places throughout the Caribbean and Florida were minimally affected by the recent hurricanes and are welcoming tourists. Destinations like the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Aruba and the Bahamas are still the exotic getaways you always dreamed they'd be, and when you visit them, you'll actually be supporting hurricane recovery efforts for the whole region through your tourist dollars.
• Book right. The holidays are a wonderful time to travel because schools and offices are closed. However, many other would-be travelers are thinking the same thing; that's why knowing when to book and when to fly is key for saving time and money. For Christmas travel, for example, Expedia has found that booking between Dec. 5 and 11 will yield you about 5 percent in savings. Furthermore, avoid the peak holiday travel days by leaving a day early and staying a day later.
• Bundle and save. Another often-overlooked way to save a ton of money on travel is to book your flight and hotel or flight and rental car at the same time as part of a travel package. Booking as a package can save an average of up to $600, and that extra money will come in handy while you're enjoying your vacation or shopping for holiday gifts.
• Member-only deals. A really simple way to save on hotels and activities is by logging in when you visit Expedia.com. When signing in with your account information, you'll immediately see hotels and activities available at a 10 percent discount. Members also get points for every booking, which can be used to shave dollars off your next trip.
• Precheck, precheck, precheck. Save yourself a lot of time and security line headaches by applying for TSA precheck. You'll get to skip the longest lines at security and keep your shoes on. It's absolutely worth the $85 fee, and your application lasts five years.
Start your travel plans today
If you've been vacation deprived, don't continue to settle for being just another statistic. You work hard for your vacation time and you deserve to get away. Pick a destination you want to visit, apply the tips above and start planning. It's the best way to turn yourself from another case of vacation deprivation into a vacation inspiration.