NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Much has been made about mobile phones and tablet computers and how those technological wonders have tethered U.S workers to the office. Not coincidentally, according to Expedia ( EXPE), U.S. vacation time is way down compared with other countries, especially those in Europe. Even though workers all over the globe are "lugging their job to the beach," as a study last year from Expedia puts it, it's 66% of Americans who either check in regularly or "sometimes" with the office while away. According to John Morrey, general manager at Expedia, the firm rolls out the workplace/vacation study annually, yet he is "constantly surprised" by how global workers are denied pure vacation experiences. "Studies consistently show that an ideal work-life balance leads to happier and more productive employees," Morrey says. "Your vacation days are not a gift, not a luxury. They're yours to use. So instead of letting those days quietly expire, take that time and connect with the world outside of your office."
Unfortunately, Americans just aren't taking that advice. According to a survey of adult Americans about their vacation mindset by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMRC), 67% of those surveyed say "they will not be taking more breaks to enjoy the summer months." Here's some frightening news for online travel sites, cruise ships, hotels and any other business making a living off consumer vacation cash: According to the survey, 75% of adults say they are perfectly fine with the idea of a "stay-cation," in which they never pack a bag at all to hit the open road. "People are clearly coming around to the idea of taking breaks and even 'doing nothing' in order to lead a healthier lifestyle," says Liz Pryor, a life advice consultant and contributor to the Green Mountain study. Pryor says pulse-raising amounts of media clamor and technology chatter has led to an "inability to switch off," leaving U.S. workers anxious.
If you just can't manage to steal away for a longer vacation this summer, Pryor advises taking a "hooky break" and calling in sick once or twice this summer, using the time to generally goof off and do the things you like. Also, she suggests a device-free "time-out" when you turn off those cellphones and tablet computers and enjoy the silence. No, its not a cruise in the Bahamas or a trip to Maui. It's not even a day at Disney ( DIS) World. But in the "new vacation normal," it may be the best time off you're going to get.