By Misti Kerns

Just because we live in such a beautiful beach city doesn’t mean we shouldn’t slow down and take time off to explore our world. As a part of National Plan for Vacation Day on January 28, Santa Monica Travel & Tourism is encouraging Santa Monica residents to take time off.

More than half of American workers (55%) failed to use all their time off last year. That’s a stockpile of 768 million unused vacation days just in one year. Opting to not take advantage of vacation time not only prevents you from spending time with friends and family, experiencing new places or time for activities, you’ll also be missing out on an opportunity to improve your wellbeing.

As Santa Monica residents, we live in a city that has long been committed to wellbeing. Research shows that taking vacation time is an important step in improving your mental and physical health. Indeed, the health benefits derived from taking time off are plentiful and include improvements in stress levels, lowered risk of heart disease and high blood pressure and greater wellbeing.

“Vacations offer important potential health benefits, including stress reduction, prevention of heart disease, improved productivity and better mental health, relationships and sleep,” said Michael A. Rodriguez, Professor and Vice-Chair for UCLA Department of Family Medicine. “We all should use available vacation time to rejuvenate ourselves.”

What’s the key to using more vacation time? Planning. But nearly half of American households (46%) don’t take this simple step – and they lose out on their time off and the full range of benefits it brings.

This January marks the start of a new decade brimming with possibilities. Now is the time to pull out your calendar, gather loved ones for a conversation and start planning time off for the entire year.

If you prefer to stay close to home, how about a staycation? With 41 accommodation options, from world-famous beachfront hotels and vintage-gems to California bungalows and budget-friendly options, Santa Monica’s extraordinary selection of hotels make for the perfect base to enjoy a staycation in Southern California.

For resources and ideas to plan your Santa Monica staycation, visit santamonica.com or stop in at one of our four visitor center locations to chat with a friendly staff member. Be sure to share your photos with us on social media – we would love to see how you spend your time off. Find us on Instagram @SeeSantaMonica, Facebook @VisitSantaMonica or Twitter @GoSantaMonica.

Important Reminder About Real-ID

As you #PlanForVacation, remember you must also be #REALIDready, On October 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will officially begin enforcing the REAL ID Act of 2005 at airports. This will require all Americans to present REAL ID-compliant identification to go through security. Learn more at tsa.gov/real-id and make your DMV appointment today.

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