How was your summer? Did you get away at all? Do you feel rested and rejuvenated? If you're like most Canadians, your answer is probably a resounding NO!
That's the finding of Expedia.ca's latest annual "Vacation Deprivation" survey, our annual pulse-check on whether Canadians are feeling overworked or blissfully rested. We define "Vacation Deprivation" as feeling like you either haven't had enough vacation time, or haven't been able to fully utilize the days off you have earned.
This year's results find that Canadians, on average, are getting 17.3 vacation days from their employer in 2016. However, most of us are only using about 14 of them, leaving three days of potential vacation time going unused. That's like wasting an entire long weekend!
We're big believers in taking advantage of every day off you're entitled to -- not just because we're in the online travel business, but because the tremendous physical and psychological benefits of taking time away from work and the rest of the usual routine are well documented and increasingly becoming better understood.
"Vacation time can be considered a major stress reliever with a range of benefits for both our physical and mental well-being including lower blood pressure and reduced anxiety," says Beverly Beuermann-King, a Canadian work-life balance expert.
Many of our survey respondents (17 per cent) said difficulties in scheduling time off from work are what's preventing them from getting away. One in five (21 per cent) said they just can't afford to take time off.
But taking a break doesn't necessarily mean breaking the bank. There are a wide range of short and affordable getaways to be found, even something as simple as hitting the road for a few days and booking some kinder-on-the-wallet hotel choices.
And if you're taking this news as a reminder to make sure you use up all of your vacation days, Expedia.ca has a tremendous variety of offerings, from "last minute" deals to all-inclusive beach destinations.
Even that average three unused vacation days can make a huge difference in your work-life balance. That represents the perfect length for a jaunt down to Las Vegas, or tack those three extra days onto a regular weekend and take off on one of our many five-day beach vacations!
MILLENNIALS DEFY STEREOTYPE
Millennials have sometimes been perceived as the "entitled" generation, which may cause some to assume they max out every allotted vacation day. However, our survey found younger Canadians (age 18-34) say they rarely take all of their vacation days because they are too busy at work. They also feel guiltier about taking vacation days and they are more likely to check their work email and voicemail while on vacation, compared to older Canadians.
That said, Millennials are more likely to consider themselves "YOLO" (You Only Live Once) travellers, so they're likely making the most of each vacation, and consider unique locations that will produce stunning and shareable photos for social media when making travel decisions.
TECHNOLOGY AND TRAVEL
We don't leave home without our smartphones. The survey found 72 per cent of Canadians take their smartphones with them on vacation, mainly to check personal email, to call or text friends and family, and to check in on social media.
Almost half (45 per cent) of Canadian travellers say they share pictures of their vacation adventures on social media because it "validates their experience." A similar number (43 per cent) say it's very important that they capture the perfect vacation photo for their social media posts.
In fact, one in five respondents said they would go so far as to "risk their personal safety" to get that perfect 'look how much fun I'm having' shot for Facebook or Instagram!
Regardless of your motivation for capturing the perfect vacation photo, be it validation or the desire to share your experience with friends and followers, one thing's for sure -- the best way to ensure you enjoy your vacation is to actually take it.
So, take back your vacation and make the most of those extra three days -- the relaxation and mental break will leave you feeling happier and less stressed. It may even inspire you to maximize your vacation time every year!
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