Of all my posts, the one about the 7 things I don’t understand about Americans in Europe generated the most comments. And the most commented of those 7 things was my question “Why are they in such a rush?”. The commenters offer the explanation that Americans have very little days of paid leave, so need to rush to be able to see as much as possible in the limited time they have. And I sort of accepted this explanation, even though I still think having little paid leave is a lifestyle choice.
But as I accidentally found out, the shocking truth is that Americans don’t even use the little leave they have! According to Expedia’s 2013 Vacation Deprivation study, Americans are only using 10 of the 14 days they are given. So they actually choose not to go on vacation, they choose to have rushed, unsatisfying short trips, even as, according to the same study, three out of four Americans feel their bosses are supportive of vacation – higher than the world average!
So why don’t they go on vacation? One reason is indeed the short leave – a quarter of Americans are stockpiling days of paid leave to be able to go on a longer vacation. But that’s just part of the story. Short-term greed is a reason for almost a fifth of the Americans not to go on vacation – they prefer to be paid for unused vacation days. I don’t need to explain why this kills you quite literally in the long run. A lot of the Americans said they can’t afford a vacation. But having a vacation doesn’t mean you have to spend. No excuses. Save your life – take a vacation. Even if it means sitting on a bench in a park in your home town with a book for a week. And leave your smartphone at home while you’re at it.
I took a vacation to go to a film festival in my own town. Look how happy I am!