"The thing I love most about going on vacation is that I get to leave behind any kind of schedule. My entire life is scheduled from morning to night, and when I'm on vacation, there is no schedule" - Kelly Clarkson
While the benefits of taking a vacation do not need introduction, studies suggest that a number of us are still vacation deprived. Which are the countries that lag behind when it comes to taking vacations? What are the reasons? Which are the popular vacation destinations?
Vacation Deprivation By Country
In late 2012, Expedia published the results of a survey conducted by Harris Interactive between September 2012 and October 2012. The survey called "Vacation Deprivation" has been annually conducted by Expedia. In 2012, it was answered by 8, 687 adult respondents the world over. The survey drew up a clear picture of the number of days of vacation earned and consumed by workers in different countries. The results were surprising
The countries which took the most number of days of vacation were Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, and Brazil. Workers from Italy, UK, Norway, Sweden, India, Netherlands, Ireland, Argentina, and Australia took vacations in moderation consuming a reasonable number of days earned. Among the countries that fared poorly with many taking as little as 3 days of vacation a year were United States, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea.
Why Do I Need A Vacation?
Vacations Make You Happy - A study published in the Applied Research in Quality of Life (August 2010 issue) shows that employees who take vacations report a marked increase in their happiness. Much of the happiness came during the planning and anticipation phase.
Vacations Keep You Healthy - A study published in the Work & Stress (March 2010 issue) journal reports that the health of workers who take regular vacations improved measurably.
Vacations reduce Your Risk Of Heart Attacks.
Since 1948 the Framingham Heart Study has been following generations of people and their lifestyle choices. Statistics from a 20-year study show that women who take at least two vacations a year are eight times less likely to have coronary disease. This doesn't mean that men should take a pass. According to the New York Times, men who fail to take a yearly vacation are 32 percent more likely to die of a heart attack than those to take advantage of their down time.
Vacations Help Avoid Burnout - Vacation deprivation leads to creative burnouts. Writer Jenna Avery writes “you’ll also want to schedule some full days off — and vacations, if possible — where you do nothing that’s not just for you"
Vacations Help Improve Family Bonds - Spending time away on a vacation with family and friends helps strengthen bonds. According to a study by the Arizona Department of Health and Human Services women who took regular vacations were more satisfied with their marriages.
Vacations Help Improve Decision Making & Learning - Experts say taking a vacation can improve your decision making skills by providing you fresh perspective. Vacations also help learn new languages, cultures, and life skills.
Reasons Why Vacations Are Avoided
According to Expedia, the top reasons we avoid taking vacations are -
Banking days for the future: 23% respondents found it necessary to save up their days for future use and in fact never used them.
Coordinating family schedules: 23%respondents found it difficult to coordinate family timetables and match schedules and ended up not taking any vacations. Coordinating school holidays with work schedules becomes difficult for many parents.
Can’t afford it: 19% found vacations expensive. Worldwide over one in ten people borrow money while on vacation as they run out. An average Briton pays for the annual summer vacation two and half months after he or she returns.
Most Americans cited "fear of being replaced" and "too much work" as two of the biggest reasons to avoid taking any vacations. Also, a number of Americans seem to sport a sense of bravado in not taking a vacation, experts feel.
American Vacations – Add section
While over 65% Americans took summer getaways in 2012, concerns are that the US may still be slowly turning into a No-Vacation Nation. More &more Americans are not taking their vacation days.
For ten years of employment, employees in the US earn the least vacation time among these countries -
According to a survey 52% Americans would give up office-sponsored events for 5 more days of vacation; 30% said they would give up their favorite beverage for the extended vacation days, and 25% would even give up listening to music.
Over 41% American workers did not take at least a week off a year. Studies say every employee needs at least 6 consecutive days off to unwind.
Bosses Vs Vacations
“A vacation can be stressful. It really depends on the timing of the vacation, the relationship with the boss, your level of savvy in managing your work, and how you communicate. If you want to have a stress-free vacation, before you leave you need to work smart, communicate well, set limits and establish clear boundaries” - Lynn Taylor, Author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant
According to the survey by Expedia, work was an important reason many people do not take vacations. The boss’ attitude often makes a difference while making a choice to take time off and travel. 61% of Italian respondents thought their bosses were not supportive of their vacations; 59% South Koreans, 44% Danes, and 41% Argentine people reported that their bosses were unsupportive bosses when it came to fulfilling their vacation needs. Norway, on the other hand, seems to have supportive bosses (86%), and so does Sweden (84%), Brazil (83%), and India (76%).
Another major concern has been staying connected with work during vacations. According to a 2012 study, 34% Americans, 30% Swedes, 28% Singaporeans, 49% Japanese, and over 55% Americans constantly or regularly stay connected to work emails and check their voice mails. When asked how many feared that important decisions may be made in their absence, 7% Americans, 3% Swedes, 9% Singaporeans, 7% Japanese, and 22% Indians agreed.
New Age Vacations
Couchsurfing refers to the practice of traveling from one friend's house to another, sleeping in spare spaces such as the couch and floor. A number of couchsurfing groups on the Internet help vacationers connect and help budget travelers stay for a little or no charge. There are over 5.5 million couchsurfers in the world living in 97,000 cities in 207 countries Apart from these over 300 cities in the world host weekly CouchSurfers meet ups giving vacationers to meet up with new people who share common interests such as photography, dancing, music, or simply travel. Couch surfers’ language exchanges have over 18,000 participants and the couch surfing website has over 19.1 million friend links.
Staycation, similarly is a term which refers to taking a vacation but staying home instead of travelling. Staycationers prefer to spend time with family and visit local attractions. Airbnb is another popular choice with many tourists travelling on a budget. Tourists from across the world connect over the Internet and offer others air mattresses to sleep on and breakfast. Airbnb is great for budget vacations and for small groups.
In 2012, over 140 million Americans took staycations. People take staycations to save on -
Days Of Vacation Earned – According to the Bereau of Labor Statistics, an employee with about 10 years of employments earns just about 13.9 days of vacation each year.
Money – The average cost of a vacation is $1180 per person a year. Hotel tariffs are up between 4% and 9% from 2011 to 2012.
According to a Poolfyi poll, 65% of the people choose staycations to increase savings, 60.1% wish to avoid high gas prices and 48% wish to avoid the hassles of a travelling vacation.
Vacation On A Shoestring
“Travelling on the cheap can offer you windows into a culture that go beyond the caricatured stereotype of what a place is supposed to be like” – Rolf Potts, The Guardian
5 tips to save money on your vacation
Book Right - While booking flights for your vacation do remember that Tuesdays feature the best deals on airline fares.
Plan The Day - Most people tend to set out on a Friday. The cheapest day to take a flight is a Wednesday. Tuesdays and Saturdays follow as the cheapest days to fly.
Time It - Early morning flights are the most cost-effective and let you spend more time at your destination
Buy Package Deals – Travelers booking flight ticket and accommodation package deals often save a lot and have access to deals not announced elsewhere.
Do Your Research – In many countries vacationers can end up saving a lot by pre-ordering bus and train passes instead of paying on the go. Research is important.
Travelling With Babies
Young parents often find it difficult to travel with infants. Here’s our compilation of 5 quick tips to travel with infants.
Get The Destination Right – Pick a family friendly resort. A number of holiday destinations offer special amenities for young parents including nannies and baby care shops.
Safety First – Pack in a basic childproofing kit to be used at the place you stay. Pack in a car seat (if you plan to hire a car) and warm blankets for the road.
Plan Regular Breaks – Plan stops and breaks at regular intervals to let your child settle down. Travel less in the evenings or at nights.
Keep Goodies Handy – Do not forget to pack in your child’s favorite stuffed toy, pacifier, and favorite pillow. Slightly older children may calm down to a candy or two.
Stock Up – You may not find your favorite brand of baby meal or diapers especially when vacationing overseas. Do carry supplies to see you through a hassle-free vacation.
Top Vacation Destinations Of The World
According to the UN World Tourism Organization, the top 5 cities in the world that were most visited in 2011 were -
Paris – The French capital received over 15.6 million international visitors. With attractions such as the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and its many museums, France remains an eternal favorite with tourists.
London – The capital city of the United Kingdom and of Britain has always been the center of attraction for holiday makers. With over 15.2 million international arrivals in the city, the major attractions such as the Big Ben, the London Bridge, the Buckingham Palace and the London Eye saw considerable footfall.
Antalya – This quaint Turkish sea-side city recorded 10.5 million international visitors in 2011. Its location on the Turkish Riviera, the history, and colorful culture makes Antalya the biggest sea resort in the world.
New York City – NYC received 10.3 million international tourists in 2011. The city is a financial hub and fashion center. The United Nations Headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and the Times Square are among the city’s prime attractions.
Singapore – Known for its colorful culture and chic outlook, Singapore is an Asian favorite receiving over 9.2 million international visitors. The Singapore Zoo, Universal Studios, Jurong Bird Park, and Escape Theme Park are among the best-known city attractions.