Health & Wellness in the WorkplaceSeptember 23, 2015

Each year, American workers forfeit about 429 million vacation days, according to the U.S. Travel Association. The top reason for forgoing PTO? Not wanting to face a mountain of work upon their return.

Not surprisingly, these workers – particularly those who leave more than 11 days unused – are more likely to cite high stress levels at work.

Those who use their vacation days, on the other hand, report returning to work feeling recharged and refreshed (67 percent), more focused (32 percent) and less stressed (40 percent).

Results from another study, led by the Institute of Applied Positive Research, echo those findings under one condition: the trip must be well planned. The most stressful the trip, the more stressed and tired a person will feel when he or she returns to work.

So how does one plan a low-stress trip? Here are a few tips from John Schmitt Jr., Vice President and Director of Sales and Marketing at Frankenmuth Travel Service.

  • PLAN EARLY. Most vacations are planned about four to six months in advance, but savvy travelers are planning a year ahead of time. In doing so, they have more options to choose and are less likely to get short-changed.
  • PUT YOUR OBJECTIVES FIRST. Travelers often get hung up on getting the best deal, when they should really be thinking about their needs. If your budget doesn’t allow you the comfort level you require, consider cutting your vacation a bit short, Schmitt said. “Sometimes, our recommendation is for a traveler to come back a night early. That’s a more satisfying vacation than spending seven days at a resort you didn’t like.”
  • AVOID OVERPLANNING. “Some people feel as though they have to fill their days with stuff to do, but sometimes you want free time where you do very little,” Schmitt said. “It’s important to have balance so you’re not exhausted by the time you get back to work.”
  • CONSIDER A TRAVEL AGENCY. Overbookings happen. Rather than spend your vacation dealing with the airport or hotel themselves, travelers can pass the issue on to their travel agent. “We’re advocates for the traveler. In our four offices, a week does not go by where we don’t resolve a problem for a customer that was created by a cruise line, tour company or hotel, said Schmitt.

For more information about Frankenmuth Travel Service, visit or call 989-652-9977.