It takes 4 days for Americans to start enjoying their vacations

Almost half of all Millennials felt guilty about taking a vacation, versus 19% of people aged 55 and older.

Steeped in a Protestant work ethic, Americans have a complicated feeling about being away from the office on their vacations, a new study shows. The study, commissioned by Apple Vacations and conducted by OnePoll, polled 2,000 workers and found that it took people a startling four days to stop thinking about work on their vacations.

People were fraught about their well-earned getaways in other ways:

  • 80% found it hard to get away from work to take a vacation, and left part of their vacation time unused
  • 37% felt guilt over leaving uncompleted work behind
  • 26% felt that taking time off for a vacation could get in the way of a promotion

It also seems that the younger you are, the guiltier you feel about taking a vacation. Almost half (47%) of all Millennials felt guilty about taking a vacation, versus 19% of people aged 55 and older.

Expedia 2018 Vacation Deprivation Study

A vacation study by another travel website, Expedia, also found American workers found vacations difficult to settle into, a low priority, and occasionally guilt-inducing.

  • Instead of four days, the study found it took the typical American worker two to three days to truly relax on vacation.
  • In 2018, the United States took the least amount of vacation time in the world – 10 days. The only other countries that matched that number were Japan and Thailand.
  • Americans left 4 vacations days unused.
  • 13% felt guilty about taking vacation time – but guilt level is down 17% from 2017.
  • 40% of Americans have canceled a vacation because of work.

For a country that enjoys an untold number of leisure activities, it seems that actual vacations – the ultimate leisure activity – remain a low priority for Americans. Call it FOMO – for the office.

Sheila McClear|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at smcclear@theladders.com.