Expedia Releases Results of 2012 Vacation Deprivation Study
By James Shillinglaw
November 15, 2012 10:02 PM
Expedia.com released the results of the 2012 Vacation Deprivation study, an annual analysis of vacation habits across multiple countries and continents. The study was conducted online by Harris Interactive among 8,687 employed adults in September and October 2012 on behalf of Expedia.com in North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.
Expedia first commissioned the Vacation Deprivation study in 2000 to examine the vacation habits of Americans. In 2005, Expedia began comparing such habits across countries. The 2012 edition is the most comprehensive study in its 12-year history, featuring 22 countries in total.
Asian workers continue to take the fewest vacation days. Japanese workers trail the field; the average Japanese worker is granted a median of 13 days off each year, but takes only five. South Koreans take seven out of a possible 19 vacation days. North American workers behave similarly. American and Mexican workers take 10 days each (out of 12 and 14 possible days, respectively). For Americans, this represents a net loss of two vacation days from the year prior. In 2011, Americans reported receiving 14 days of vacation and taking 12.
Europeans treat vacation as a duty rather than a perk. Most European workers have between 25 and 30 days of vacation time available to them each year, in addition to state and religious holidays. Workers in France and Spain report taking the full 30 vacation days off, as do their peers in Brazil. Germans take 28 of a possible 30 days off, while British, Norwegian and Swedish workers take all 25 days they're given.
Asian workers take the fewest days off and work the longest weeks. Korean, Singaporean and Taiwanese workers report a median of 44-hour work weeks. Americans work 40 hours, the most common figure. The Dutch work 35 hours a week, the fewest among the 22 nations surveyed.
The survey also found that Italian and Japanese workers leave the most days (eight) on the table. Brazilian, British, Canadian, Danish, French, Norwegian, Singaporean, Spanish and Swedish workers take every single day they're given. An inability to coordinate vacations flummoxes many workers. “Coordination with family and friends” was the most-cited reason for failing to take vacation days, as was the option to roll unused days over to the following year. Monetary worries rank highly. Workers in five countries -- the U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan and Ireland -- say that the main reason they don't use all of their vacation days is because they believe they cannot afford to take their entire vacation balance.
More than 50 percent of workers in Italy, Taiwan, Korea and Japan believe their bosses are not supportive of vacation or they're not sure if their bosses are supportive. The most supportive bosses are Norwegian, Swedish and Brazilian, in order. Vacations are frequently postponed due to work issues. More than seven in 10 Taiwanese employees have cancelled or postponed vacation due to work reasons. Fewer than one in four workers in the Netherlands (23 percent) and the U.K. (22 percent) have done the same.
Many workers lug their job with them to the beach. Brazilians report connecting with work most frequently while on vacation, with 66 percent of workers claiming they "regularly" check in. Indians, at 55 percent, were the next likeliest to remain tethered to the office. However, a full 62 percent of German workers claim to "never" check in while on holiday, as do their peers in the U.K. (58 percent) and Denmark (52 percent). Americans were split evenly -- 34 percent regularly check in, 34 percent sometimes do and 32 percent never do.
The beach is the world's most popular vacation destination. Between beach vacations, romantic getaways, city excursions and outdoor trips, the beach wins handily -- 18 of 22 countries cite the beach as their preferred holiday. Koreans are the world's most romantic vacationers, with a full 45 percent of workers citing the romantic getaway as their favorite. Taiwanese vacationers prefer the outdoors.