How 'vacation-deprived' are you?

How 'vacation-deprived' are you?

Could you cope with just five days holiday a year? In Japan they do, while Americans "can't afford" to use all their vacation allowance according to a new poll
japanese worker holidays
"According to this spreadsheet, we should be relaxing right now."

Oh, dear. Japanese are the most “vacation-deprived” people in the world, taking just five days holiday a year. They are also the most likely to check emails when on vacation. 

Americans are the most likely to go on holiday to gamble, while South Koreans are the most romantic, with 45 percent going on holiday for love. Oh, yeah!

These are some of the conclusions from Expedia’s 2011 Vacation Deprivation study, a month-long survey analyzing the vacation habits of more than 7,000 working adults in more than 20 countries. 

Vacation deprived: United States, Canada, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Japan.

Vacation moderate: Italy, United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, India, Netherlands, Ireland, Argentina, Australia.

Vacation rich: Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, Brazil.

European workers were much less vacation-deprived than North Americans and Asians.

In the United States, 20 percent of American workers did not travel in the last year with workers on average only taking 12 of their 14 allotted vacation days. Some 34 percent of respondents said this was because they could not afford it.

Europeans love leisure

In contrast, employees in European countries such as France, Spain and Brazil fully utilized the 30 days they are allowed off, on average, in a year. 

Fully one-fifth of Japanese workers admitted to “constantly” checking their email and voicemail while on vacation.

Japan also claims the top spot in the number of respondents who feel they can never fully relax and leave work behind.

Work is also a big part of life for Indians, with around a quarter claiming that they would not use all their holiday allowance because “work is my life.”

Around 20 percent cited a fear that important decisions would be made at work without them.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Danes and the Dutch know exactly how to make full use of their vacation days. 

From the moment they leave the office on vacation, 62 percent of Danish workers and 71 percent of Dutch workers are able to relax fully and leave work behind.

Respondents across all countries survey picked summer as their favorite season to travel (52 percent), while spring is the least popular (14 percent). This might have to do with the fact that beach vacations are the preferred holiday type (38 percent).

Other conclusions

  • Gambling vacations are the least popular vacation type across all countries surveyed (2 percent), though it’s most popular in the United States at 7 percent.
  • Theme park vacations are most popular in Singapore (9 percent). Looks like Universal Studios Singapore still has a while to go before it can fulfill the needs of thrill-seeking Singaporeans.
  • Bosses in Italy, Korea and Denmark are the “meanest” according to Expedia, with 32, 25 and 23 percent of workers respectively feeling that taking vacation would be frowned upon.
  • Japanese travelers are the foodies of the bunch, with 11 percent of workers going on holiday for food and wine.
  • Despite their professed romantic inclinations, Koreans are the most likely to cancel a vacation because of work (66 percent), compared to the British (30 percent) and the Dutch (22 percent).
  • Spanish workers never travel alone, and prefer to go on vacation with their partners (37 percent) and immediate family members (45 percent).
  • Romantic getaways are the least attractive to Argentineans (12 percent), whilst 45 percent of Koreans would want to take a romantic vacation.

Hoishan Chan is a recently returned Hong Konger by way of Singapore and the United States. She dreams of writing a television script and coming up with the perfect cookie recipe in her free time.

Read more about Hoishan Chan