Despite the lagging economy, or perhaps because of it, 56 percent of small business owners are planning on taking a vacation this summer, down only three percentage points from 59 percent in 2008.

"Business owners are feeling extremely pinched now, both from a stress perspective and a financial perspective, but many recognize that if they don't get a break from the daily pressures of running their company, they won't be able to do a good job managing the business," says Alice Bredin, small business adviser to American Express OPEN. "They need to be able to problem-solve, think creatively, and bring enthusiasm to the team to keep workers feeling good in these challenging times, and that's draining on a daily basis."

Nevertheless, 67 percent of respondents feel that the economy is having an effect on their vacation plans, versus only 55 percent in 2008, which could explain why almost a third are planning on saving time and money by combining their vacation with a business trip. But surprisingly, the number of business owners feeling guilty about taking time off dropped from 28 percent last year to 22 percent this year.