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I always took every single paid vacation day available to me and even some unpaid days off when my annual allotment wasn’t enough.
So when I first discovered the annual Expedia Vacation Deprivation Survey about ten years ago I found it quite surprising that one-third of Ontario respondents were not using up all of their paid vacation days.
But the 2012 Expedia survey reveals that despite recent dips in the economy and technology that allows employees work from almost anywhere, Canadians are actually vacationing more than they did 10 years ago.
In 2012, 21 per cent of Ontario left vacation days on the table, and only 13 per cent of British Columbia residents forfeited earned vacation. Nevertheless, 59 per cent of Canadians report they constantly, regularly or sometimes check work email or voice mail when they are on holidays.
Related: Doing office email on vacation? Join the crowd
In contrast, in 2012 American workers typically took 10 days out of a possible 12 or 14, down two days from 2011 when Americans reported receiving 14 days of vacation and taking 12.
While the majority of Canadians felt supported by their bosses to take a vacation (72 per cent), this number was lowest in Quebec (56 per cent). Once vacation plans are made, however, Quebecers were the least likely to cancel or postpone them while those in Atlantic Canada and Ontario were most likely to amend travel plans because of professional obligations.
Summer is the preferred season for Canadians to take a vacation, followed by winter, fall and spring. However, almost half of Prairie residents surveyed chose the winter as their ideal time for a getaway.
When asked to choose between beach vacations, romantic getaways, city excursions and outdoor trips, employees in 18 of the 22 companies surveyed reported that the beach is their most popular vacation destination.
Related: 8 ways to save on a cruise vacation
The most common reasons why Canadians forgo vacation include not being able to afford one and difficulties coordinating schedules with spouses, family and friends.
That more of us are taking full advantage of our paid time off is a good thing, but there is still room for improvement. Few employers allow employees to cash in unused vacation days or carry them forward.
With three per cent average annual raises projected for 2012/13, it doesn’t make sense for employees to forgo any of the hard won benefits and perquisites they already have.
Related: The ins and outs of vacation pay
Do you take all of your paid vacation days every year? What is your dream vacation destination?