Americans work very hard and we tend to put far more emphasis on productivity than we do on well being. In fact, in the average 80 year lifespan, an American will spend less than one year socializing, but 13.2 years working. It’s safe to say that our standards for work/life balance are pretty unequal at best. We tend to measure a person’s success on how much they accomplish rather than how happy or emotionally intelligent they are. 

While this model of work culture might seem to be good for business and therefore good for the economy, it does very little to build memories with family, keep our stress levels down, or to engender a general sense of connection with people and things that truly matter to us in the long run. 

Not only that, but the irony of being solely focused on work and productivity the vast majority of the time actually ensures that we are rarely ever functioning at our fullest potential. The sense of being overworked; the constant stress and strain, and the lack of time to just be, all adds up to being less productive and creative and effective than we could be if we were actually to take the time to tend to our inner and physical needs. 

All of this is fairly widely known and accepted, yet Americans are still so hesitant to unplug. In fact, although most companies will offer their employees 10 paid vacation days per year, less than half actually take those vacation days to unwind. Of those that do, less than half of them actually go on a real vacation on their days off work. 

Some reasons for this hesitancy are fear of being replaceable at work, budget concerns, worries about finding pet sitters, getting coverage for work, and then the stress of actually planning the vacation. 

Fortunately, the US is full of vacation spots that actually resolve the majority of concerns about going on vacation. Taking an outdoor vacation is one of the easiest things to plan and it can cost next to nothing. Not only that, but it’s easy to bring pets along, and it offers many more benefits than just taking ten days off of work. 

Just a few of the benefits of spending time outside are stress reduction, improved memory, better cognitive function, and enhanced overall well-being. Naturally, it’s great for the whole family to get out and explore nature as well. Singing or storytelling around a campfire, hiking, swimming, ziplining, or just learning about nature and trying new activities builds lasting memories, strengthens familial bonds, and helps build confidence in kids as they disconnect with tech and reconnect with the natural world. 

With about 14,000 privately owned campgrounds and RV parks, planning an outdoor vacation is often as easy as driving just a few miles down the road. Campers can plan to rough it a little more with wilderness campgrounds; they can plan a simple tent camping vacation, take an RV road trip, or even try “glamping” which combines the outdoors experience with all the amenities of a hotel. 

Whatever your budget or whatever your comfort level with the great outdoors, an outdoor vacation is easier than you think, and brings a multitude of benefits for every American.