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. Personal Finance

    The World's Most Luxurious Vacation Retreats

    White sand beaches, nature preserves, amazing hot springs...if you're looking for heaven on earth, these spots qualify.
  2. Savings

    Best Places to Exchange Currency in Boston

    Since the nation’s first colonial currency was established in Revolutionary War-era Boston, the city’s currency exchange situation has come a long way.
  3. Personal Finance

    Finding Cheap Airline Tickets: An Insider’s Guide

    If understanding airline pricing feels like decoding riddles, arm yourself with these six simple strategies to land the best value ticket available online.
  4. Investing

    The Top 3 Most Profitable Mid-Priced Hotels

    American hotels recently released earnings. Here's a look at three of the most profitable mid-sized hotels.
  5. Investing

    The 3 Most Profitable Luxury Hotels

    Staying at a luxury hotel is the stuff of daydreams for most people. The few who do regularly stay, or even live, in upscale hotels know that there is no substitute for a life where anything ...
  6. Investing

    The Number One Reason Why Most Traders Fail

    We show you the simple tools, availble to everyone, to succeed as an active trader: education, experience, charts, vision, and risk management systems.
  7. Investing

    Find the Private Island of Your Dreams

    The perks, the problems and the pleasures of owning your own little piece of paradise.
  8. Budgeting

    Unconventional Destinations To Stretch Vacation Dollars

    By picking a destination that's off the beaten path, travelers will meet few tourists and, as a result, will find their vacation much less stressful.
  9. Budgeting

    10 Worst And Best Vacation Cities In The U.S.

    The many costs of planning a vacation will put a stress on most people’s finances, but where you choose to go can be what really makes your travel budget.
  10. Budgeting

    Best Free & Bargain Diversions For Your Vacation

    These smart tips won't make your whole vacation free, but they will help you shave expenses – and have a better time!
RELATED TERMS
  1. SENTRI

    This U.S. program grants pre-approved travelers access to a faster ...
  2. Reverse Culture Shock

    The shock suffered by some people when they return home after ...
  3. Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan ...

    An organization that oversees the pension plan for public school ...
  4. Educator Expenses Deduction

    An above-the-line deduction for teachers and other education ...
  5. Paycation

    Taking a vacation from one's main job and using that vacation ...
  6. TIAA-CREF

    A nonprofit organization that provides investment and insurance ...
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. 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 >>
  5. 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 >>
  6. I'm a teacher. Which is better for me, a 401(k) or 403(b)? What is the difference? ...

    The first step is to check with your employer regarding any retirement plan(s) it provides for employees, as you can only ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center
×

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!