It's hard to find anyone who doesn't think a vacation is a good thing. Beyond getting to explore different parts of the country or the world, vacations have been shown to improve mental health, prevent job burnout and even enhance creativity. Yet if you're guilty of ending the year without using most of your vacation days, you're not alone -- at least among your peers. Your boss, however, might be a different story.

According to a new CareerBuilder survey, 81 percent of managers have taken or plan to take vacation this year, compared with 65 percent of full-time employees. While that number is up from 61 percent in 2011, the number of vacationers did fall well below pre-financial crisis levels. In 2007, 80 percent of full-time workers went on vacation or expected to take a vacation that year.  

The survey also reveals:

  • Duration of vacations shrinking post-recession This year, 17 percent of workers took or planned to take a vacation for ten days or more. That's down from 24 percent in 2007.
  • Many workers contact work while on vacation Three in ten workers contact work during their vacation, on par with last year. More than a third of managers (37 percent) say they expect their employees to check with work while on vacation, although most say only if the employee is involved in a big project or major issue going on with the company.    
  • Letting paid time off go to waste 15 percent of workers reported they gave up vacation days last year because they didn't have time to use them, down slightly from 16 percent who gave up days in 2010.    
  • "Stay-cations" are a popular option Nearly two in five workers (38 percent) stayed home or are planning to stay home this year.
  • Working while the family vacations Twenty-three percent of workers say they once had to work while the family went on vacation without them, consistent with last year (24 percent).

---Courtesy CareerBuilder.com