“Vacation deprivation” is a relatively new phenomenon. I first heard about it from the travel website Expedia, which began doing an annual analysis of vacation habits across multiple countries several years ago. Not surprisingly, Americans scored poorly — regularly letting their holiday days slip away unused — and gained a reputation as some of the most vacation deprived citizens in the world.
More recently, travel company Monograms warned Americans of the dangers of letting earned vacation days go unused: they’ll miss out on the opportunity to “walk the cobblestone streets of Italy, ride an elephant in Asia and have a pint to celebrate 2012 in a genuine pub in Ireland.”
The story cited not just money, but a lack of planning as reasons Americans are watching their vacation dreams vanish like a properly-poured Guinness. I don’t know about you, but I start planning my next trip right after I return from my last one. And I never, ever sacrifice a vacation day for more time at work. It’s the only way to stay sane in this climate. (To Canadians’ credit, we do pretty well using up our holiday days — acccording to Expedia, anyway — though it sure would be nice to have as many as the Europeans.)
Interesting though these studies and stories are, you have to wonder if they’re simply a clever way for companies to drum up some U.S. business, by mobilizing the masses to get booking lest they waste away in some kind of vacation deprived purgatory. Perhaps we’ll start seeing Expedia-sponsored ads warning of vacation withdrawl, with a voice-over listing possible side effects from spending too many hours in the office and not enough time at a swim-up bar : pasty-white skin, cheerless demeanor, inability to distinguish a mojito from a margarita.
In the meantime I will let the poor over-worked Americans keeps the global economy humming along, while I book my next holiday somewhere warm.
What about you? Do you use all your vacation days every year? Do you think “vacation deprivation” is a real problem?