Plan for Vacation!

Did you end the year with leftover vacation days? Take time now to plan for 2020 and use the time you earn. National Plan for Vacation Day is Tuesday, January 28–make a plan to claim your days for the rest of the year at the start of the year! Take a peek below at the staggering statistics revealing the work martyr syndrome of the average American.

  • Last year, more than 768 MILLION vacation days went unused—many of which cannot be regained.
  • 55% of Americans left days on the table.
  • Additionally, these are days Americans have earned and when they are completely forfeited (236 million in 2018), they are losing a key benefit, amounting to $65.5 billion. In other words, Americans essentially donated an average of $571 in free work time to their employer.
  • Those who actually plan their vacation days in advance are far more likely to use all of their earned time off than non-planners.
  • Taking time off is associated with higher productivity, better performance, a more positive attitude toward work, increased happiness, improved mental and physical health, better relationships and social life.

On Tuesday, January 28, we encourage you to take some time with your family to plan out your 2020 vacation. Whether it’s an extended weekend or a week-long journey across the country, it’s YOUR earned time off and you should be the one in charge of it!

If Kansas City is on your radar of 2020 destinations to visit, we invite you to explore nearby Merriam! Just a few short miles from downtown KC, Merriam is ideal for a couple’s road trip , a girlfriends’ getaway or a family-friendly visit. Tree-lined streets, walking trails, flower baskets on lampposts, striking public art, unique dining options, attractions within minutes, and a variety of year-round events and activities deliver plenty of fun things to see and do for everyone.

Use those hard-earned vacation days in 2020! Learn more about visiting Merriam at www.exploremerriam.com or follow us socially @ExploreMerriam! Happy travels.

The Millennial Traveler

selfie photo - millennials
By the year 2020, millennials* will make up 50% of the workforce. That’s half of all other generational types combined–an astounding number for companies who sell travel related services, especially since millennials are one of the highest traveling age segments too. As a destination that welcomes all ages, young and old, it’s important to routinely review our community’s offerings for the ever-changing traveler interests. Here’s what we know about millennials and their travel preferences:

Five Trends in Millennial Travel

  1. They value experiences over things. In fact, six out of ten prefer to spend their disposable income on travel rather than material items. And, they 24% plan to take more overnight trips in the coming year. In terms of spending, millennials will spend more on travel services than any other age group in the next 12 months.
  2. They use ALL or most of their vacation time. Rather than hoarding it for a rainy day like generations past (read more here), millennials believe their time is earned and should be used! Score one for the millennial mindset.
  3. Not your typical destination travelers, millennials like to experience things that are out of the norm, adventurous or hands-on. While sand and surf might be on the itinerary, a week-long beach vacay is not normally in their plans. Instead, they’re out on foodie adventures, exploring the lesser known community gems or zip lining through the woods.
  4. Have pets, will travel. As more and more destination amenities become pet-friendly, millennials expect to bring along their furry companions, so it’s a good idea to roll out the red carpet (and pet hair roller).
  5. Millennials trust their peer network. They seek out travel opinions on social networks. They’ve grown up along with new digital options that didn’t exist in the Gen X generation so their trusted resource comes from posts, likes and shares of those they know.

As we embark on the busy summer travel season, it’s important to remember that not every destination has a mountain to scale or a volcano to explore, but that doesn’t mean we have to miss out on the millennials. Some are here for meetings and events and others are visiting friends and relatives, so they may only have time for one or two additional excursions during their visit. It’s the unique things found within our communities like food truck festivals, art walks or paddle boarding local streams and rivers that can also have an impact on millennial travel decisions. Here’s a few options for millennials (and all generations) to consider in Merriam this summer and year-round!

Go, See, Do in Merriam…

  • GoStrawberry Hill Povitica Bakery — sample the dessert bread and watch artisan bakers create this popular and tasty treat made right in Merriam!
  • See – Visit the current exhibit on display at the Tim Murphy Art Gallery, then stroll south along Merriam Drive to check-out our newest art installation, “Still Time.”
  • Do – Grab a few friends for a fun afternoon of geocaching in Merriam. Enjoy a game of seek and find along this digital treasure hunt–click here for caches placed by the CVB!

*millennial = person born between 1980-2000

Project Time-off!

It’s only February, but never too soon to begin dreaming of your next vacation.  Sometimes it’s a staycation right in your own home-town, a girlfriends’ getaway just a few hours from home, or maybe it’s an all-inclusive 10-day ocean-view that you covet.  No matter where you drift, perhaps more important than the actual destination is the physical and emotional break you receive when taking time away from work.  But, did you know tNTTW_TE_Infographic_0hat in 2013, Americans skipped out on 3.2 days of earned time off?  That’s a whopping 429 million unused days annually across the U.S. workforce.  As the Travel Effect Playbook suggests, it’s time for Americans to shift how we view time off. It’s NOT frivolous, but helps to strengthening families and improving personal health and it’s a business investment yielding great economic returns.

The Playbook says it best…”taking time off is essential for a fulfilled life and productive workforce.”  Take a look at how the tourism industry is impacted when earned days off are left on the table:

  • Unused leave cost the industry $120 billion in spending, $67 billion which is direct travel spending
  • That spending helps support 1.2 million jobs across the nation

As a child, I fondly remember the annual family vacation.  My parents were both teachers in small rural districts which meant no trips to Disney or beach vacations, but we never skipped a summer loading up the family wagon and heading east to our grandparents cabin in upstate New York.  I will never forget those memories along I-70 or the time spent with cousins around a campfire roasting marshmallows or telling ghost stories.  You see, it doesn’t matter where you go as long as you just go.  But, if people continue to forego the benefits they earn in the workplace, the childhood vacations of generations not long ago could completely disappear.  Don’t let that happen — you earned that time off and it’s yours to take!  Build memories, recharge and rejuvenate, stimulate the economy and enjoy your time off!

There are tons of options to consider:  discover local ideas right in your own community; plan an extended 4-day weekend with your partner to reconnect; grab the guys for a fishing excursion; or, pack up the entire family for a flight or drive to discover a new destination.

Kansas City has a great resource for those wishing to visit (or those who live here and want to explore locally).  KC Destinations offers suggestions by theme so you can build an itinerary suited to fit your travel needs.  Take a peek at www.kcdestinations.com to get started!  We are happy to host you and help you enjoy those remaining 3.2 days!

Hans Christian Andersen was spot on…”to travel is to live.”  Enjoy your journeys and please let us know if we can serve your travel needs when visiting Merriam!

 

 

 

The A-Z’s of holiday travel!

Not to alarm anyone, but surely you’ve seen the rows of sparkling lights, ornaments and decorated trees adorning the shelves of stores in your town, so of course you know that Christmas is officially only a few weeks away (gasp).  Now is the time to start planning for the annual holiday road trip or flight so you’re not caught in the familiar panic of last-minute to-do’s and vacation errands.

The Merriam Visitors Bureau has compiled this handy A to Z list of holiday travel tips and apps to keep your holidays happy instead of hectic.  Cheers to a joyous holiday season!

A = Ask for help.  Delegate tasks to family members and don’t take on too much leading up to the holidays.  Say no to parties, baking for school activities or other tasks that will be taken care of without your volunteering.

B = Back-up Plan.  You’ve heard the saying, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?  It’s true and quite possibly more so over the holiday season.  To lessen stress, have a back-up plan in place for crowds, weather, power outages, etc.

C = Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Use them…we think we’re great.  CVB’s exist to assist with visitation, so feel free to call ahead for a map, referrals, special offers or directions.  We’re happy to help!

Continue reading