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22% of Travellers Feel “Guilty” About Taking Holiday

It’s no secret that many of us don’t take our full holiday entitlement each year.

A number of studies have been published which reveal the shocking state of many peoples work/life balance, particularly in the West.

The recurring theme is that many people don’t take their full holiday entitlement each year, essentially working “for free” for their employers, who are benefitting to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

However extra information on the theme has recently come to light thanks to the travel boffins at Expedia. Each year, the much-loved travel website publishes what they refer to as the “Vacation Deprivation Study”. In essence, the study aims to examine just how much holiday we’re all entitled to take, and the reality of how much we really take. Respondents are also asked how “vacation deprived” they truly feel.

Despite the rather negative name given to the study, its 9,273 responses provide a fascinating glimpse into the subject of vacation time.

The survey consequently represents a wide-angle view of the world’s attitude to time off work, including how we feel about our vacation time, and the reasons why many of us aren’t making the most of the opportunities at hand.

So what can we glean from the 2015 edition of the survey?

Firstly, around the world an average of 79% of people believe there is a correlation between vacations and overall happiness. On average, 85% of respondents agreed that they feel happier after a vacation than before.

Interestingly, however, it isn’t the most important factor to choosing a job. Given a choice, 69% of workers would still choose a job that offers higher wages than one that promised more vacation time. India was the only country which rated more vacation time as of higher importance than more money.

That said, vacation time is still clearly valued by people around the world. Half of Americans, for example, would give up alcohol or social media for a week in exchange for an extra day of vacation time. Almost as many would be willing to sacrifice coffee.

Possibly the most depressing statistic – and the one mentioned in the headline of this article – is how guilty we all feel when on vacation. The study found that 22% of people, on average, feel “somewhat guilty” for taking vacation time.

What is even more interesting is that many countries around the world experience greatly differing levels of guilt about taking time off. South Koreans feel the most guilt, with 67% of respondents claiming they feel guilty when not in the office. The reason cited is a cultural one; allegedly Korean management are far less forgiving about taking time off, leading to such feelings.

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