Vacation Deprivation

Vacation Deprivation

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For some, the notion of jetting out of the office makes them fidget with excitement. For others, it makes them just fidget.

Expedia’s 2016 Vacation Deprivation study shows that whilst vacations are helping to improve our personal and professional lives, not everyone is getting the time off they need. Now in its 16th year, Expedia’s annual global study, conducted across 28 countries, suggests that attitudes towards vacation continue to vary significantly across countries.

Use our map to explore the vacation habits of 9,424 employed adults from around the world - find out who is the most vacation deprived and who has the most optimal work-life balance.

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Across the globe

Despite our global love for relaxing breaks, 35 per cent of employed workers don’t take all the vacation days allotted to them. Similarly, our global findings suggest that while employed adults reported receiving a median number of 25 vacation days per year, only 20 days were actually taken, on average.

There is wide disparity between the number of vacation days taken in different countries across the globe. While France, Spain and Finland are given 30 days off and take all 30, nations such as South Korea take only 8 of 15 and Japan 10 of 20 days available.

It should come as no surprise then that 50 per cent of employed adults still feel vacation deprived, with 64 per cent feeling they deserve more vacation days than they get.

Interestingly, some of the countries with the most amount of vacation days actually feel the most deprived. Both Spain & UAE, for example, take 30 vacation days a year, however, 68 per cent of Spanish & UAE survey respondents admit to feeling deprived of days offs. Likewise, 67 per cent of workers in the Malaysia would like more downtime, with 65 per cent of South Koreans feeling the same.

In contrast, Finland seems quite content with their 30 vacation days a year, with only 23 per cent of workers unhappy with their entitlement.

Work < Vacation

With statistics suggesting that holidays can improve our wellbeing and personal life, it’s no surprise that vacation days are on the top of our priority list when it comes to employment. In fact, the Vacation Deprivation research shows that 76 per cent of employed adults agree that vacation days would be an important factor in their decision to take a new job, with 57 per cent stating that it would even motivate them to change jobs – the highest proportion of which were South Korean (68 per cent).

However, just because we like the idea of vacations, doesn’t mean that everyone is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. For instance, South Korea showed that workers spend, on average, 92 per cent of their time at work, with only 8 per cent of time dedicated to vacation days.

In contrast, Germany and France had more positive figures in terms of work-life balance. Both nations spend nearly a third of their time on vacation (33 per cent), with only 67 per cent of the year spent in the office.

Stress-free sightseers

For many, a vacation is a chance to relax, de-stress and unwind from the working environment. Our research shows that de-stressing is an integral part of the travelling process, with 90 per cent of tourists feeling less stressed when they return from a trip away.

Those surveyed also stated that when they return from a vacation, they feel happier (89 per cent), better rested (89 per cent), in better health (87 per cent), closer to loved ones (86 per cent) and more focused at work (83 per cent). The importance of using vacations as a chance to build relationships with family members (85 per cent) is coupled with an equally large proportion of people (90 per cent) who agree that holidays are best used to spend time with their significant other.

Globally, Norway (96 per cent), Brazil (95 per cent) and Denmark (95 per cent) rank among the nations who feel that regular vacations are most important for their general health and wellbeing.

Sacrifices for vacation

We value vacation days so much that, globally, 87 per cent of employed adults would be willing to make sacrifices in exchange for more time away. Some of the more drastic sacrifices include giving up alcohol for a week in exchange for one extra day (47 per cent), surrendering social media for a week (40 per cent) and going without television (35 per cent).

With such a high proportion of people prioritising vacation days, it is perhaps unsurprising that 40 per cent of employees admit to spending time at work planning their vacations. Likewise, 58 per cent of employees report that disconnecting from work makes them happiest while on vacation.

About Vacation Deprivation

Expedia first commissioned Vacation Deprivation in 2000 to examine the work-life balance of Americans. In 2005, Expedia began comparing behaviours across countries. As of 2016, Vacation Deprivation has grown to encompass 28 countries. 9,424 employed adults aged 18 and older were asked by Northstar about work-life balance in September 2016.

This study was conducted on behalf of Expedia by Northstar, a globally integrated strategic insights consulting firm. It was conducted online from September 12 to September 29, 2016, across North America, Europe, South America, and Asia Pacific using the Kantar-owned GMI (Global Market Insite) and Lightspeed Research amalgamated group of panels. The study was conducted among 9,424 employed adults aged 18 years of age and older across 28 countries. Sampling quotas and weighting were used to ensure the sample is representative of each country’s population in terms of age and gender. Assuming a probability sample, the margin of error would be +/-1.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

The final score for each nation is based upon a calculation of time on vacation divided by time in work. Expedia sourced average working day data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). All other data used in our calculations are taken from the Vacation Deprivation Survey.

With such a high proportion of people prioritising vacation days, you might expect that 40 per cent of employees also admit to spending time at work planning their vacations. Likewise, 58 per cent of employees report that disconnecting from work makes them happiest while on vacation.