If you get to the end of your year and realize you have unused vacation days that you’ll never see again, you’re not alone.

More than half — 55 percent — of Americans do not use all of the time off that they earn, leading to 658 million unused vacation days a year, according to Project Time Off. The organization, which aims to “transform American attitudes” towards time off, this year has launched National Plan for Vacation Day.

The first National Plan for Vacation Day is slated for Tuesday, when Americans are encouraged to set aside time to plan use of their vacation time for the remainder of the year.

“Planners have an advantage over non-planners,” a press release said. “Fifty-one percent of those who plan took all of their vacation time (in a 2016 study), compared to just 39 percent of non-planners.”

In Pennsylvania, VisitPA says that “it’s time to start thinking about how we want to spend our days and where.”

“Vacations are not a luxury — they are a necessity for a well-balanced, healthy and happy life,” the VisitPA website says.

So here’s the thing, whether you plan how you use your vacation days on Tuesday, January 31, or you plan them in the coming weeks, you’re taking a step in the right direction.

As for me, here’s what my 2017 is looking like:

1. One big trip

Each year, I take the time to schedule one big trip into my calendar (usually a week or 10 days long). In years past, these have been trips with family or friends, usually to the beach.

Bethany Beach, Delaware, is a favorite vacation spot of mine that I never grow tired of.

2. Camping trips

We’re going camping as often as possible in 2017. On the rare occasion that Sean and I are both off on the days, and also on a few planned-in-advance weekends. We’re also planning our first multi-day hike, which you can read about here.

3. Weekend getaways

When I’m not camping this year, I want to see more of what the Mid-Atlantic has to offer. As the digital media manager for Recreation News, I’m constantly reading about great places to visit in West Virginia that are on my bucket list for 2017.

 

A great thing about your vacation days, is that their yours. You can do whatever you want with them.

Planning ahead doesn’t mean taking a big, elaborate trip either – sometimes a staycation is exactly what your body needs to recuperate.

Where will 2017 take you?