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60% of Travellers Never Truly "Unplug" While on Vacation

Over the last few years a number of studies have revealed the declining ability of vacationers to make full use of their time away from the office.

For example we’ve discussed the most “vacation deprived” countries in the world, how 40% of Americans fail to take their full vacation entitlement and that 22% of us feel guilty about taking time off work.

Now a new survey from Expedia paints an even starker picture; even while we’re away from the office on vacation we’re unable to prevent ourselves from checking in regularly. Indeed, most of us would feel totally lost without our mobile device. The survey found that most of us consider it our single most important item of travel kit, taking preference over even our toothbrush or deodorant.

A new survey by Expedia has sought to better understand how we like to stay connected while on vacation. The study asked 9,642 travellers across 19 different countries to assess their use of information technology while enjoying time away from the office.

Unless you’re a mobile phone sales person the results make for some rather depressing reading. For example Expedia found that 60% of us simply wouldn’t be willing to go abroad without our mobile phone.

Just as interestingly 84% of us expect to be able to connect to the internet whenever we want, wherever we want. It seems that being able to get a mobile signal or – just as importantly – wifi is critical to many people’s enjoyment of a holiday.

But we’re not just using our mobile phones to post self-satisfied pictures of ourselves on the beach to Facebook; even while away many people check into their office emails or otherwise allow their career to infringe upon the few weeks of freedom they’re entitled each year.

The study found that over 50% of travellers check in on work at least once a day while they are away, despite the fact that 40% of vacationers admitting that it frustrates their family. But it’s not just enough to stay connected while at your hotel; a surprising number of workers struggle to even manage the flight before thinking about what it happening at the office back home. Fully 23% of those surveyed have purchased in-flight wifi with the primary aim of checking into work.

Holidays, it seems, are no longer an opportunity to get away from it all. Instead we’re getting stressed about what is happening “back home” and spending vast amounts of our precious vacation time making sure we don’t miss out on anything happening at the office.

Indeed 35% of those surveyed admitted that they used their mobile phone more while on vacation than they do when at home, with 63% sleeping next to their phone “just in case”. Sadly, it seems that ever more workers feel obliged to work while on holiday.

With 73% of mobile phone users admitting that their device has contributed to stress in their life while 81% of users admit interrupting conversations to answer the phone, it seems ever more important that getting away from it all should really mean all – including your smart phone.

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