More and more these days, I hear people bemoaning the fact that Americans (in general) have less vacation time than their European counterparts and lobbying for more. On average, Americans receive 28 days per year and Europeans receive 47. Definitely a big difference. But as far as I’m concerned, this is a pointless endeavor.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for more vacation days. But nearly everything I read, as well as witness, says that American workers aren’t using the vacation days they have. According to a recent survey by, employees are leaving $21 billion worth of unused vacation days on the table at the end of the year. Whether it’s too much work to do, fear of being labeled obsolete if we’re away from the office too long, guilt about leaving co-workers in a lurch, or any other number of reasons, we’re just not budging from our desks. And judging from the plethora of electronics and paperwork I see when I fly, even when we’re away from our desks we’re still there. Guilty as charged, right?

Here’s my proposal. Instead of standing around the coffee maker discussing vacation days, let’s get out and use said vacation days. It’s no coincidence that after a vacation we feel less uptight and more energetic. In fact, the benefits may go farther than that. Under the headline “Caution: Skipping Vacation Can Be Hazardous To Your Health,” The Wall Street Journal recently reported that those of us who fail to take vacations are at higher risk of dying from just about anything, but particularly heart disease. All of the stress and exhaustion that are rampant in today’s workplace have a debilitating effect on our bodies, our minds, and our moods. So instead of taking time off to see the doctor, wouldn’t you rather take time off to see the world?

If you’re currently on vacation, congratulations! Hopefully you’ve left all of your work behind and can enjoy some of the great articles we have in this issue. There are interesting stories on the changing face of medicine, the fate of this season’s rookie quarterbacks, and our popular Celebrated Weekend feature, where David Caruso, of CSI: Miami fame, reveals his love affair with, you got it, Miami. Ultimately, though, you have to return to the office, so we have all sorts of business stories that will help you work faster and better (and thus be able to take more vacations!), including one on the latest advancements in CRM (customer relationship management) software.

For those of you who aren’t on vacation, put away the reports, close the laptop, sit down with a calendar, and plan your escape. There are countless destinations around the world worth visiting. And for every vacation day that goes unused, there’s a destination that goes undiscovered. So what are you waiting for? Those unused days aren’t earning interest!