People in Santa hats have fun on the beach.
People in Santa hats have fun on the beach. - 
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Americans aren't taking all their vacation days, according to Expedia's annual Vacation Deprivation study. The study finds that this year Americans are expected to let two vacation days expire. Why?

"People are afraid these days, they're afraid to take their vacations for fear that they might be laid off," says author of "Work to Live" Joe Robinson.  "And they're caught up in devices. Constant connectivity has really made a big impact on people and they find a hard time to pull away to focus long enough to set up time to take off. Or just the fear, the panic of being away from their devices or missing something. So that also intrudes into your vacation. You don't have much of a vacation as a result."

Robinson says Americans should take about two weeks of time off - about the time needed to recover from burnout.

"You need the two weeks to get the recuperative benefits, where you regather crashed emotional resources - like a sense of social support and mastery," says Robinson.

The U.S. is one of a handful of countries in the world without a mandated time-off law. Because it's up to employers to decide how much time its employees get off, Robinson says, there is an ambiguity about whether it's OK to step back from work and take a vacation.

"Humans are no different than cell phones or iPods, we need to get recharged on a regular basis as well. In fact, taking a vacation is as important as watching your cholesterol or getting exercise," says Robinson. "You're going to burn out unless you get that recovery time."

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