The United States has the reputation of being the Western country where workers receive the least amount of paid vacation days. On average, U.S. workers that have been with the same employer for a number of years are allowed 15 days off and 10 paid vacation days, for a total of 25 days. This actually doesn't sound too bad until one learns that companies in countries such as Brazil tend to offer more than 40 paid days off. In many European countries, including France, workers get two months of paid vacation time annually.

Clearly, heading overseas could offer American workers the potential for many more vacation days. That is also going to be impractical for the vast majority of workers. Below are three careers that offer a compelling combination of days off and decent pay prospects in the U.S.

Teaching
The teaching profession is often cited as the career with the most vacation days. The general academic calendar will run for a couple of semesters and include a spring break and summer vacation, as well as an extended end-of-year holiday. This could average nearly five months off for post-secondary, with a school session then running the other seven months, on average.

Of course, teachers have a very hectic schedule while classes are in session and often work when classes aren't running. Additionally, pay rates for educators not working for colleges or universities are traditionally low. Professor positions usually pay better. Professors can make more money with consulting work during other parts of the year. This can add up to a compelling combination of high pay, schedule flexibility and actual vacation days.

Financial Services
A popular saying in the stock market is to sell in May and go away. This is meant to imply that much of Wall Street takes the summer off for vacation. It is generally true that the months of June, July and August, which run between Memorial Day and Labor Day, tend to have slower financial market activity. It may not be official time off, as it is with many in the teaching profession, but it can lead to more vacation time. In the financial services industry, banks generally offer generous vacation packages. An employee with at least a few years of service can easily enjoy 20 vacation days plus bank holidays.

Government
Government jobs, be it at the federal, state or local level, used to have a reputation for low pay. In recent years, generous retirement and healthcare packages have advanced total compensation potential and, in some respects, pushed it well ahead of the private sector. These pay benefits may not last forever, but a 40-hour work week and generous vacation benefits are likely here to stay.

The federal holiday schedule includes 10 standard holidays: New Year's Day, President's Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most workers across the nation also get these days off, but it is more or less guaranteed as a federal worker. After a couple of years of service, the holiday schedule includes another 20 days.

The Bottom Line
In addition to having one of the stingiest holiday schedules in the world, it is often frowned upon for workers in the U.S. to take a lot of vacation days. A study performed by Harris Interactive for JetBlue showed that roughly 57% of U.S. workers don't actually use all of their vacation days. As such, gravitating towards one of the professions above could be a moot point if the respective institution or company guilts its workers about being out of the office, or asks them to work while technically on vacation. However, the above careers at least offer a greater chance of taking some needed rest and relaxation.

Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    7 Fun Spring-Break Family Vacations for Retirees

    Now's the time to plan a spring-break vacation and bond with the grandkids. Here are seven great family-friendly vacation ideas.
  2. Retirement

    Philippines: A Friendly Country for English Speakers

    Read about one of Asia's top English-speaking countries, and learn about the government policies that have brought English to its students.
  3. Retirement

    3 Reasons Why This Is the Perfect Time To Visit Greece

    Discover three reasons why now is the best time to visit Greece, including the favorable exchange rate and the country's unrivaled hospitality.
  4. Budgeting

    Traveling to Los Angeles on a Budget

    Understand why you do not have to break your budget to vacation in Los Angeles, despite the city's reputation as a playground for the rich and famous.
  5. Budgeting

    5 Things To Do in Disney Parks on a Budget

    Look at five things that visitors to Disneyland in Anaheim, California can do to stay within a budget without skimping on adventure.
  6. Budgeting

    Traveling to Hawaii on a Budget

    Learn a number of easy ways to save big on airfare, car rental, lodging, meals and entertainment when vacationing on the Hawaiian islands.
  7. Budgeting

    5 Things To Do in Walt Disney World on a Budget

    Discover five free or very affordable things to do in and around Walt Disney World so that you can make the most of your vacation budget.
  8. Budgeting

    Traveling to San Francisco on a Budget

    Discover how to vacation in San Francisco on a budget, and learn about the abundance of entertainment the city offers at little to no cost.
  9. Budgeting

    Traveling to Miami on a Budget

    Learn how to have the time of your life in Miami, one of the favorite playgrounds of the wealthy, even if you are not wealthy yourself.
  10. Budgeting

    Traveling to London on a Budget

    Discover three simple tips for traveling to London on a budget. Learn to minimize your biggest expenses so you do not have to miss out on the little things.
RELATED FAQS
  1. What are the warning signs of online hotel / travel booking scams?

    Travel booking scams ask travelers to book a vacation stay at a residential rental property that is fake or that belongs ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. What country spends the most on education?

    The United States spends more money educating its young people than any other nation, according to a study from the Organization ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What's the average salary of a human resources (HR) specialist?

    The annual salary of human resources (HR) specialists ranges widely. As of 2013, the top 10% earned $95,600, whereas the ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Who is eligible for a Teacher Retirement?

    Teachers help to produce the leaders of tomorrow and put forth a lot of hard work and sacrifice to do so effectively. With ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What's the difference between a CFA and a CPA?

    There is understandable confusion between different financial professionals and their designations. The difference between ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. I am a teacher in a public school system and I don't presently have a 403(b) plan, ...

    If you establish a 403(b) account under the school's 403(b) plan, you may roll the Traditional IRA assets to the 403(b) account. ... Read Full Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. Inverted Yield Curve

    An interest rate environment in which long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the ...
  2. Socially Responsible Investment - SRI

    An investment that is considered socially responsible because of the nature of the business the company conducts. Common ...
  3. Presidential Election Cycle (Theory)

    A theory developed by Yale Hirsch that states that U.S. stock markets are weakest in the year following the election of a ...
  4. Super Bowl Indicator

    An indicator based on the belief that a Super Bowl win for a team from the old AFL (AFC division) foretells a decline in ...
  5. Flight To Quality

    The action of investors moving their capital away from riskier investments to the safest possible investment vehicles. This ...
Trading Center