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Vacation Time

Vacation time as the new American dividing line. Who gets it? Who takes it? Where?

Hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. About 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year. (AP)

Hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. About 4.5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year. (AP)

Summertime starts the movie in our minds.  The classic images of vacation.  Toes in the sand.  Backpack in the woods.  On the trail.  On the road.  Free.

But the fact is that a whole lot of Americans have cut back on vacations lately.  Afraid for their jobs.  Too much work after layoffs.  Too little money in the kitty.

Luxury travel is booming back.  Family vacations, not so much.  We want them.  We need them.  We don’t want “vacation deficit disorder.”  But American vacations are changing.

This hour, On Point:  Vacation time now in America.  Who gets it?  Who takes it?  Where?

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

David Lazarus, American business and consumer columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

Gary Cross, professor of modern history at Penn State University. He’s the author of A Social History of Leisure since 1600.

Pauline Frommer, editor at large for the Frommer guidebooks and founding editor of Frommers.com. She’s also a syndicated newspaper columnist.

Vacation Rentals

During the show, Pauline Frommer mentioned several websites for vacation rentals, including HomeAway, VRBO, Flipkey, and Zonder.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Huffington Post “The consensus was that it may be time for that proverbial wakeup call and pressing the reset button in regard to our nation’s incredible shrinking vacation time. But to get from crisis prognosis to cure, we have to understand how we got into this predicament. And for that, context is important, and as always, the past is prologue… ”

New York Times “With summer in full swing, the top priority of most travelers is simple: relax. But for many people that isn’t such an easy goal to attain.”

Reuters ”The recession caused many American workers to rule out their annual vacations, but according to a new survey from CareerBuilder, bosses are finding more time for getaways than their workers. Eighty-one percent of managers have taken or plan to take vacation this year, compared to 65 percent of full-time employees.”

New York Times “For most Europeans, almost nothing is more prized than their four to six weeks of guaranteed annual vacation leave. But it was not clear just how sacrosanct that time off was until Thursday, when Europe’s highest court ruled that workers who happened to get sick on vacation were legally entitled to take another vacation.”

Video: National Lampoon Parody

Check out this parody video of National Lampoon’s “Vacation” films, produced by HomeAway, one of the most popular internet sites for finding vacation rental homes.

Video: Who’s With Me?

A funny video here from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority:

Playlist

“Vacation” by Connie Francis

“Vacation” by Vitamin C

“Holiday” by Vampire Weekend

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • kelty

    I used to work for a company that gave 2 weeks vacation time per year. You had to use it or lose it within that calendar year. Routinly, when it came time for your vacation, they would find some excuse why you couldn’t take it (too much work/others were out/etc) and you would have to fight to take it even when you had provided your schedule months in advance. At review time, your vacation use was actually used against you, in effect saying that you didn’t put the company’s need ahead of your own if you took it. I actually had one manager say, off the record, “we give you vacation time as a benefit, but we don’t expect you to use it all.”
    0_0
    I don’t work there anymore and now work at a place that gives & encourages you to take you PTO.   

    • Terry Tree Tree

      TYPICAL HYPOCRICY!
          Bosses TOOK their time off?  Golf Time?  LONG Lunches?

    • Ayn Marx 666

      You have no rights in circumstances when your living depends on working for one of them or another, and they can generally afford better lawyers than can you—and always so if they ever get the contingency-fee–killing tort ‘reform’ they want.

      • Tina

        Can you explain what you mean by “contingency-fee-killing tort ‘reform’ they want.”? 

        I’m not being contentious:  I just don’t know what you mean; I’ve heard phrases like ‘tort reform’ and don’t know what that means.  What are the issues on this topic.  I know nothing on this matter, so please explain in terms that I might understand since I have no law training.  Thanks very much!  (Also, I’m thanking you in advance in case I don’t see that you’ve answered for several days…)

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Tort ‘Reform’ will take away everyone’s right to take employers or others that abuse those with less money, to sue them in court!
             MILLIONAIRES and BILLIONAIRES WHINE about it ALL the time!
             Reduces their speed to become a QUADRILLIONAIRE?

    • jefe68

      Was Mitt Romney your boss?

      • kelty

        haha jefe68, too funny!! No, but someone very much like him.

    • Tina

      How diabolical!  I’ll bet that that company never gets the benefit of people’s long-time experience or the benefit of people working so happily that they are “visited” by epiphanies that help out the job process!  Good that  you’re not there anymore!

      • kelty

        Your right Tina, the employee turn-over rate was astronomical!!

  • JJ

    I’m clinging to the little vacation time left that I’m able to save. I’ve been fighting a type of cancer the past couple of years, and my employer takes from my personal and vacation time first before I’m covered under FMLA for time off related to my condition. It figures that the time I could use a vacation the most, I don’t have the time to take one. Medical treatments certainly don’t feel like “vacation” time…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Good Luck!  Affordable Health Care Act will help?

      • JJ

        thanks :)

    • Tina

      Best wishes to you!  Sounds like the nothing-but-business values of your employer has made him/her completely inhumane.  The thing about illness is, it’s supposed to HELP people all around the patient re-evaluate their values as they see more clearly the human condition: something your boss seems unable to do, if I understand your post correctly. Stay strong!

  • Julia

    What vacation time? That assumes you work at a job that gives you the benefit of vacation time. I’ve not had that since 2004. I’ve not been on vacation in over 6 years.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Your BOSSES?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    Vacation is going the way of the pension. And even if you have vacation time, fewer jobs are going to let you take it more than a day or two at a time, if it all. Which is not much of a vacation.

    This is assuming, though, you have the means to go on a vacation, which is also in much shorter supply these days.

  • SamEw

    My experience has been that the companies that don’t offer vacation time are either seasonal jobs or places like restaurant that have flexible schedules. As far as I can tell virtually everyone I know who has a full time job with regular hours gets and takes vacation. Though maybe unfortunately there’s less people in this category than there used to be. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Try the REAL world, of over 70% of the working class?

      • SamEw

        Hey I’m working a job that pays .40 over minimum wage right now. Honestly, I hope not to keep the job very long but  it does have vacation time though not in the first year. Maybe you should consider the real world might be different than your political biases suggest.

    • Julia

      Um, no. I am a professional and I work at a job with no benefits. Get with the times.

      • SamEw

        I am sure there are exceptions I believe though the article listed above said 65% of employees were taking vacation time. When you factor out people who are working seasonal jobs or jobs with rolling layoffs, contractors, jobs with flexible schedules and those who for whatever reason choose not to take vacations that would mean that probably at least 80% of workers working regular full time hours are getting vacations. It’s certainly not 70% of workers or even majority not getting vacations. Just because something is your experience doesn’t mean it’s universal. 

  • Matt

    Teachers get plenty of time off

    • Terry Tree Tree

      To go back to school?  To upgrade their skills and education, to be able to keep their jobs?  To learn new methods?

    • epictetus2

      Sort of, they also have a stressful work environment and they bring their work home with them during the school year. Are you a teacher, or are you just envious of teachers’ vacation time?

      I’m not a teacher but I’d do a lot to defend them. If you take advantage of them and ruin their work environments and benefits, then their work will suffer, and so will the education of children. I think they deserve to have a satisfying work environment and compensation package so that they can concentrate on doing their job well when it’s “crunch time”.

    • jefe68

      Oh please, not this tired and false argument.
      You were in school for 12 years, or so, and your teachers had to put up with bus loads of Matt’s, and they do year in and year out.

    • kelty

      Most teachers have 2nd jobs during the summer or do course work to keep up their CEU’s. I’m sick of this attitude that teachers have it soooo good. You think they have it so great, put your money where your mouth is and become a teacher.

      • thequietkid10

        Oh please, how many hours a day do you work on CEU’s during the summer, and how many teachers jobs (outside of entry level elementary teacher) pay less then 30 grand a year? (i.e require a second job)

    • Guest

       You don’t have a clue, do you?

  • epictetus2

    I get 3 weeks of vacation time per year, and I’m able to take it, but I don’t make enough money to be able to do go anywhere during my vacation since I can barely cover my basic expenses with my wages.

  • Adks12020

    I have two weeks vacation per year.  The problem is that I don’t make enough money to really go anywhere.  A real vacation (ie. a trip where I stay somewhere for a week or so) is out of reach financially.  Generally I end up taking a Friday and Monday off here and there for a long weekend.  At least that way I can do several different things like hiking, camping, concerts, skiing, etc. throughout the year. 

  • Strai6098

    I am a small business owner in an area that has an unemployment rate of 2.8%. I have taken one day off in the past year because I was too sick to make it in. When I say that I have worked every day except that one, I am including weekends and all holidays. The last time I had a “vacation” it was a week I took off to be with my father as he died 2+ years ago. I later found out that my “best” employee who I left in charge of my store, was stealing from me the entire time I was gone. I would love to take a day away from my business, never mind a week or more… I haven’t had a decent vacation since I went into management!

    • jefe68

      Well, you made this decision to be a busniess owner.
      If it was me I would be asking myself if the amount you are working is worth it. One has to wonder why this “best” employee did felt inclined to commit such a crime. I hope you filed charges.

      Bottom line is if the bottom line eats up your life what’s the point? In the end if the store can’t be closed, ever, something is wrong with this picture.

  • Tina

    Things were so much better in the years before we had so many MBAs (Masters of Business Administration!!!!!!!)

    • Guest

       NOT! Silly person.

    • bellavida

      My company is rampant with them, full of the latest buzzwords but unable to manage their way out of a paper bag.

  • TFRX

    Can we have gotten a labor reporter here, and maybe not just parrot the WSJ’s buzzword, “entitlement culture”?

    After all the hard-earned labor advances since, say, the Haymarket Riot, I don’t know how badly NPR has to parrot the uberlords’ meme which “retcons” all this into “management gave people these things out of the goodness of its heart to be nice”.

  • Natalie

    I decided to contain and take control of my work life.  I quit my salaried job and took a significant paycut for a 30 hr/wk hourly job.  I resisted pressure to work through lunch.  I took my vacation time.  I was fired.

    • TFRX

      When you say “significant paycut” and “now 30 hours/wk”, how many hours a week was your “fulltime 40 hour job”?

      (This question isn’t about you in particular. I suspect the mythical average “40 hour workweek” averages out to a “full timer” at 60 hours w/no OT and a part timer at 20 hours/wk w/no benefits.)

      • bellavida

        TRFX…you hit the nail on the head about the supposed “40 hour” week.  Full time employees in my area routinely work 60 hours week, many are in the office until 9pm most nights.  They are afraid to complain because are told by management everybody else doesn’t have a problem keeping up with the workload.  We don’t have OT, our jobs were classified as “management” about 10 years ago.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Discretely ‘shop’ for a better job?  Find a way to start your own business?

    • Adks12020

      It’s illegal to make you work through lunch.  Employers are required by federal law to give you, at minimum, a 30 minute break per 6.5 hours of work. 

      Vacation is always at the discretion of the employer.  If you took time off when they needed you there they can fire you.  I always have to request time off. Despite the fact I’m entitled to take the time; I’m not entitled to take it whenever I want to…aka during busy times.

      • P-sizzle

        Nope, you’re wrong about this.  There’s no federal law requiring employers to provide meal or rest breaks, in most cases, and certainly not of the length you suggest.  The FLSA only regulates when such breaks must be paid, if given.

        • Guest

           They do have to provide the time off. The employee provides their food.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Wal-Mart FIRED people for standing up for their ‘rights’. 
           He who holds the GOLD, RULES, if you let them?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      So Rewarding?  Take vacation time, get FIRED?  By a ‘Job Creator’, that got Tax-Cuts and Tax-Breaks, to ‘Create’ your job to someone else?

  • Vanessa, Jamaica Plain

    I don’t have any big vacations in my future because I need the money to work! I know sooner or later my temporary job will end and I will need a cushion to find another job!  

    With that said, however, I have nearly every weekend this summer booked with fun summer plans throughout New England – the Vineyard, New York, the family lakehouse!  I won’t be taking many days off, but it doesn’t mean you can’t have adventure packed weekends all summer long.  Carpe diem indeed!!

  • Bea

    I agree with all the reasons here for why I don’t go on vacations and here’s another one:  I’m single and camping or cruising solo aren’t quite so ideal in a per person/double occupancy world!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Save Water, Shower with a Friend, was a slogan in the 60′s!

  • ToyYoda

    I am a contractor in the technology field and I love it.  I get paid hourly, and I get no paid time off or health coverage, but I more than make up for it in hourly rate.  Just think, many people work 50 hours a week or more.  That’s 520 hours or more of unpaid labor that a full time employee gives to their employer.  That is 13 40-hour work weeks, or 4 months of free work.

    As a contractor, I get all those hours, I can take 2 months off at a time, be well rested, work on pet projects at home, and still be ahead of my full time employee colleagues.

    I know everyone is clamoring for a full time job, but if you’re in technology, I would suggest looking into contracting.

  • http://www.fibrowitch.net Jan Dumas

    I worked for a company were not using vacation days or sick day was a point of pride. My husband worked for a company where people were allowed to purchase extra vacation time up to 6 weeks! We divorced after my second year in the company.  I think his regular vacationing with out me was one of the things that caused our marriage to crumble. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      All WORK and no Play?

  • nj_v2

    I work for myself and occasionally work with someone else who runs their own business. I haven’t really taken a “vacation” in over 10 years. While my schedule is flexible, i don’t make enough to go off somewhere for even a week.

    Occasionally, i go to professional conferences and workshops, and try to take a day or so on either side of the ones that are away from home. This is as close to a “vacation” as i’ve come in quite a while.

    The person i work with has worked 6–7 days a week for as long as i can remember.

    The photo at the top of the page reminds me that the last time i took a big chunk of time off, i drove around the West and Southwest and did a couple of multi-day hikes in the Grand Canyon. Anyone who is able bodied should do this at least once in their life.

  • Tina

    I’m SO glad your guest made the distinction between the Scandinavian countries and Germany  that have very successful economies, great innovation, terrific benefits for employees and an understanding of the birth to old age cycle with its attendant needs for individual life and family life, compared to the other European countries that too many Americans think of as the “entitlement countries” that are NOT doing that well.  We NEED to study the Scandinavian countries (Iceland for comparison regarding why NOT to copy the American example, but how to recover once your country has made that mistake) to see how to structure our governing, economy, and life options.  I’ve been saying this since 1974, so it is wonderful to hear really knowledgable individuals finally say the same thing!  We need to study how things are done in Sweden, Denmark, Norway (I’m not sure about Finland’s current situation), and even Bhutan in the Himalayas, rather than continue to engage in this distracting set of arguments between our own Democrats and Republicans, many of whom, on both sides, are corrupted by our campaign finance structure.  

  • Maria, Burlington, VT

    I was once fired from a full time job for taking a vacation. That small company’s owner was making employees feel like there is never a good time to take a vacation. So when I gave a month warning, I still was not allowed to take time off, and was fired on the spot.
    Now I work 2nd job so I have money to take a vacation.
    Yes, there is something wrong with that picture!

  • Carrie

    I am middle class, work in the travel industry and don’t make a lot of money, but because of the career I’ve chosen, I have plenty of time to travel and take full advantage of it. I think a lot of it is about priorities. Most Americans care more about climbing the corporate ladder and buying “toys” than they do about traveling. We also have a real culture of workaholism in the United States. Work is valued above all other activities. I do not agree with this and have chosen not to live my life in this manner.

    • TFRX

      I don’t know how much most Americans care about workaholism that to that degree.

      I think it’s foisted upon us from the top simply for work survival. We seem to be dealing with a labor “monoculture” in which the vast majority of us don’t get to decide the policy of the industry or companies we work for, and have to be “more productive” (we know what that means now) just to keep our ordinary job.

      When one gets fired from a FT job for taking a vacation, others get the message.

      • Carrie

        I agree that this culture of workaholism is foisted upon us to some degree. But, it is possible to get out from under this culture, although I understand that it can be difficult depending on your personal situation. I have had jobs in the past that discouraged taking vacation time, but I made the choice to find a job that values vacation time because it is so important to me. I make much less money than I would if I chose to work at a different, more corporate type of company, but it’s worth it for me given the benefits.

  • P-sizzle

    I recently switched my company to a PTO system, where Paid Time Off, if available, can be used pretty much whenever the employee wants.

    However, the flip side is that if an employee misses work, or is late (and they still have some leeway with respect to our attendance policy), he or she is paid for the missed time out of PTO.

    So, the system requires employees with chronic attendance problems to spend down their vacation time, while employees who come to work reliably can take longer vacations.

    (The vacation benefit tops out at 3 weeks per year after 4 years, but up to 4 weeks can be carried over from year to year.  Anything over 4 weeks is paid out for non-exempt employees, but lost for exempt employees).

    Strikes me as a pretty generous policy, especially in our industry (low-skill manufacturing), but wouldn’t you know it – everybody still complains.

    • Sara

      When Europeans get 6 weeks, it doesn’t seem that great.  When you take into consideration sick days, days for various appointments, long weekends to family out of town, you’re really only left with about a week and a half and everyone wants a cushion in case something awful happens.  And that’s not to mention a day here and there for peace of mind.  I think that those who end up making attendance policies are probably the worst people to make them.  They don’t care about work-life balance.  They care about work.    

      • P-sizzle

        I think the problem is that some people are just lazy, so ANY work screws up their “work-life balance.”  It always mystifies me how some people can show up to work every day like adults, and some people can’t help taking a “long weekend” every other Monday.

      • Guest

        The Europeans I vacation with every late summer are well educated, delightful to be around and are well heeled, based on most Americans.
        Your statement sounds like bitterness more than anything else.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You have it better than the majority of the country’s work-force.
         A lot of people would complain, regardless of how good they have it?   The GREEDY rich complain because someone else has MORE, or some poor person seems to be having FUN, while they suffer counting their money again, in case it moved in the last hour?

  • Gregory J

    My life is a vacation.  I’m a photographer and I teach spin classes in Nashville.  I don’t go anywhere because I love my life.  All I want to do is ride my bike on the back roads.  Everything I need is in my house!

  • Gregg

    What’s a vacation?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      A gig in a new town?  Riding horses?  Fishing with cheese crackers?  Getting paid for doing what you love?  YOUR life?

      • Gregg

        Gigs are work, I don’t ride horses, cheese crackers just catch the minnows which in turn catch the fish when I take a few hours. But I do have a peachy life. I’ve paid my dues, I deserve it.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          You board horses, but don’t ride?
             You make a decent (or better, evidently) living playing piano, which is part of your love of music?
             You get to see the THRILL on the faces of those children that ride, and be part of it?
             You can contemplate buying a several acre dam, and renovating it to produce electricity?
             Sounds peachy to one that does skilled labor in the hot sun, or the freezing cold!

          • Guest

            Terry, these are choices! People need to concentrate on their lives early like by Jr. High, High School and THEN college. These are choices that too many Americans are NO LONGER doing. These choice last for a lifetime.

          • Gregg

            Absolutely.

  • charles

    We have
    gone to the Fl Keys once every year for more than 20 years. The cost has not
    significantly changed, typically about $3k for Key West and $2k in mid Keys.  We always save for the trip to avoid the evil
    credit card companies.  It is the wind
    down that always works for us.

  • Josephine Heinzman

    Most of our large family live in West Virginia. Luckily we have family in Florida, New Orleans, Boston and California. We often spend our “summer vacation” time with those out of state and – in turn – host them for the winter holidays.

  • http://twitter.com/honestsnacks honest snacks

    Vacation time is a bonus, we have it better then mo

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXCEPT nearly ALL of Europe?  Canada?  Saudi Arabia?  Dubai?  All those backward countries that ‘conservatives’ classify ‘beneath’ the U.S.?

  • Normanurmy

    My wife and I have a small but beautiful second home in the Colorado mountains.  We are house poor.  My question is, how can we connect with responsible people, say, in Tuscany, who would like to trade houses for a week or two?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      There are MANY web-sites that I have heard mentioned for this.  I don’t recall them, because it doesn’t apply to me.

    • Pauline

       Try http://www.homeexchange.com. Its the best of the websites for this sort of swap.

  • Chk2000

    I am self employed and take as much time off as I want.  I am fortunate thus far in this regard, that my chosen profession (nursing) has allowed me to do this.  I also make extra money doing an avocation.  However, the astoundly high cost of health insurance as a self employed person in this country rarely gets discussed when talking about these issues. I may be forced into getting a full time job with benefits for this reason. I think it is incredibly sad what is happening in this country, with people being afraid to take vacations for fear of losing their jobs, as there will always be a person willing to take the job with that measly no vacation or one week vacation.   

    They just mentioned a woman who was fired for reducing her work hours to 30 per week and SHOCKING, taking her vacation.  I suppose the 1% want us all to work until we are 80, with no vacations, and if we are lucky enough to make it that far, then drop dead.  

    The cost of health insurance on the open market is is one big reason why people are forced into staying in jobs they don’t necessarily want to do with little or no vacation time.   Because if you get sick and injured in this country, even if you have paid into the system for 30 years but now your coverage is being hacked away, bit by bit, and yes, this happens every year, you can go bankrupt and that is just a huge shame.

  • http://twitter.com/honestsnacks honest snacks

    Vacation time is a bonus, we are in survival mode. The vast majority in countries around the world know nothing of “vacation.”  Sure it would be nice, but lets get real, its low on the priority list. In terms of the first world,  Europeans can take vacation because they aren’t obsessed with possessions, we need to keep working hard so we can continue to have big houses, two cars etc. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The floggings WILL continue, until morale IMPROVES?

      • Guest

        I disagree that it is morales but I will agree that it is bad life habits. Do you drink alcohol everyday? Work on that immediately. Are you over weight? Work on that immediately.
        Once one is healthy, then taking a hike is sheer joy or camping out for the weekend. Try it!

  • peterossetti

    I think that a humane vacation policy for employers would be if they allowed each employee, during the Fall open enrollment period, to sign up for the amount of vacation time that they want for the next calendar year.  There would be some default amount, like, say 3 weeks.  If an employee felt that they needed more, they would sign up for that amount — up to some limit — like say, 8 weeks.  If an employee needed or wanted less than 3 weeks, that would be OK too, and they would be compensated for taking less.  This should be no burden for the employer because they would know in advance what vacations the staff would be taking.  Of course, the actual scheduling of the time off would have to be between the employee and their own work team, but the teams should be staffed according to the known vacation needs.  To me, this seems not only humane, but a no brainer in terms of how it would be implemented.

    • P-sizzle

      As the (de facto) HR manager for a small business, my opinion is that this sounds like a nightmare.  First, employees will have a hard time understanding it.  Second, it will inevitably be the case that the employees who are the biggest pains in the a$$ will be the ones requiring large amounts of time off at inconvenient times.  And finally, what about all of the implementation issues?  Can the employee change a vacation request after the “open enrollment” period?  With how much notice?  How much of the 8 week max is paid, and can an employee take the 8 week max in consecutive years?  How “humane” is it to require an employee to decide, at one point in the year, how much vacation they’ll want or need to take in the coming year?  As with all HR policies, the devil is in the details.

      • Guest

        Regardless of the details, vacations should be mandated. This is the best time to audit one’s work. That’s my primary reason and then it’s good for all people to learn to take vacations…expand their horizons and take a break.

  • peterossetti

    By the way, I think that one reason employers don’t grant more time off is that they know their employees won’t use it.  However, it’s a shame that the occasional employee who needs the extra time off needs to worry about being penalized.

    There should be laws against penalizing employees for taking longer vacations, and for that matter, against rewarding employees for NOT taking vacation.  Just make it a standard part of the annual open enrollment like other benefits, as I said before.

  • Osullivan

    sometimes a “staycation” can be nice…… 
    But so can a trip to up the PCH on 101 for a weekend can be nice and cheap. Loads of good options out there. just gotta go get um!

  • peterossetti

    Now that I’ve read through the various comments on this topic, I feel very sad for our society.  There are few signs of hope in any of these postings.

    • Chk2000

       Can’t agree with you more, peterossetti! 

    • Osullivan

      I grew up in Ireland in the 1970s (dirt poor) …. vacation was a trip to my uncles farm to work and play with my cousins. Great times. Otherwise, it was a day or 2 at the beach at best and this was quite the excursion! Still great times! 

      It’s not nostalgia, I really think expectations are a part of it…. people might no longer be able to do the trip to SeaWorld/Disneyland (thankfully say some!) but there are  still good things to do and great times to be had out there…..

  • Debra Wimmer

    My daughter and her husband are in the process of developing a website, LittleTourists.com, so that families with small children can share vacation ideas.  They have been taking one day outings with their 4 year and 18 month old.  This weekend they are geo-caching at one of the state parks.   

    • Roy Mac

      Oh, great!  Somehow I just knew this topic was going to attract the commercial trolls.

  • JGC

    Oh, boy…a Ph.D. in Leisure Studies from Penn State:  sounds like a lot of work! I think I need a vacation already.

  • JGC

    Here is something from the 18 June 2012 Globe and Mail that may interest or bemuse some of you on this topic of vacation (excerpt):

    “The new Discover America ad campaign features singer Rosanne Cash belting out a folk anthem, Land of Dreams,…The U.S. is putting out the multicultural welcome mat in its first national effort to sell itself to the world since the Reagan administration   And it’s scaring the daylights out of the tourism industry in Canada – a key target of the richly financed campaign by Brand USA, a new government-industry partnership.

    “The giant has awoken,” said David Goldstein, president and chief executive officer to the Tourism Industry of Canada.  ”They’re the best marketers on the planet, and they’re putting their shoulder into it.  It’s frightening to our industry.”…

    In March, Ottawa slashed the budget of the Canadian Tourism Commission…”We have a diminished marketing budget at the same time the U.S. is coming up here and going after our market,” lamented Anthony Pollard, head of the Hotel Association of Canada.  ”It’s a problem, absolutely.”…”

    Now, when I first started reading this, it almost struck me as parody, but no, it is a serious article in the business section of the Globe and Mail.  Brand USA is a program signed into law in 2010, back in the good old days when the Democrats still controlled Congress.  It remains to be seen what dividends will be paid out, but the article has a reference to the Reagan administration, so I wonder if they had a like program that got moth-balled in the intervening years.

    http://www.thebrandusa.com/

    This could be helpful to people who are working within the tourism industry of the U.S.  

    • JGC

      P.S.  Sorry, Americans in the tourist industry: no vacation for you.

  • CG

    The Japanese understand the value of vacation?  Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!  

    No.

  • P-sizzle

    Ask a room full of people whether they’d prefer a rigid schedule and a generous vacation benefit or a flexible schedule and an ungenerous vacation benefit.  Which of these a person prefers will depend on his or her stage of life, personal habits, work ethic, other interests, etc.

    I do think that the trend in the American workplace has been towards more flexible schedules with less bona fide time off – and I think a lot of people prefer it that way.

  • Guest

    Some of the issues are because so many Americans are too fat to hike in our National Parks. My favorite months in my nearby park are August, Sept. & October when the European show up. The rest of the year, Americans who are in good shape, hike or snow ski but mostly they take the tour bus, visit two restaurants and leave.

    A major reason for not taking a good vacation is WEIGHT. Going to the beach, hiking, etc.

    WE NEED to address this HUGE issue quickly. 

    • Kimba532

       seriously?

  • Mrgngrss

    What about the theory that People are living longer and somewhat healthier than they did in the 50s & 60s so they can choose to for go (or postpone) their vacations during their working years because they feel they will be healthy and able to do their “vacationing” when they retire?

    Morgan
    Michigan

    • TFRX

      I don’t know about the 50s and 60s, but the addition of life expectancy from the 30s to now is very little for those who aren’t upper middle class or richer.

      The “average” life expectancy isn’t very meaningful in that regard.

      (This is a tangent one won’t ever hear when Social Security is discussed.)

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Work yourself to death, without vacation, so that if you DO live long enough, you can ride your Rascal scooter in the Visitor Center of major parks and Vacation Hotels?

      • Warren

        GREEEEEDY RASCAL SCOOTER MERCHANTS IN LEAGUE WITH GREEEEDY BIG TRAVEL

  • Maynard

    Pauline Frommer said the Scandanavian countries are “arguably” doing better than we are in their overall quality of life. I don’t think it’s very arguable anymore. By just about any measure–vacation time, health and health care, social services, education, longevity, job security, earnings, crime, environmental integrity, and not having to cope with burgeoning population growth–the average Scandanavian has it better than his/her American counterpart.  Not, however, better than Mitt Romney.

    • Warren

      Poppy cock.They are parochial and racist in my opinion.They pay 50-55% income tax on $100,000.00 AND 20-23% vat

                            

      • JGC

        Parochial: Narrowly restricted in scope and outlook. 

    • Zing

       We’ve been over this countless times before. You won’t go there because you’re too lazy to walk the walk. 

  • Isernia

    The need for a vacation is in direct proportion to a job’s personal, professional and psychological fulfillment…if working feels like play, the need for a get-away is less than when it is onerous, boring, mentally/physically exhausting. The other component is whether a vacation from family is welcome or not.  Young parents and care takers of elderly parents are two categories where vacations are really a necessity, but often these are the very people who want SHORT get-aways as they worry about their loved ones while they are gone.

  • Jenny Isaacs

    Bill Maher took on this topic on Real Time: http://youtu.be/lqZUNwRg0cg

    I don’t understand why this topic doesn’t infuriate people more. This is an issue of justice–we really are turning into serfs.

    • Gregg

      IMO government mandating paid vacations is nuts. It’s the last thing businesses needs in this horrid economy.

  • Warren

    I never “camp out”.There’s no friggin “Room Service”

  • J__o__h__n

    I still haven’t listened to this as I listen to On Point at work and I took Friday off.  I’ll get to it later today . . .

  • Michele

    Americans love to wear hairshirts about how hard working they are – I work harder than you, and I haven’t had vacation in three years…blah, blah, blah.  I take all of my vacation time whether or not I go away.  I am a white collar worker (arch & planning) there are no life or death issues that need to be dealt with in my field.  It’s all perception.  If your work piles up – so, what?  That’s why you have a job because there is work to do…it will be there when you return from vacation as it is there when you’re in the office.

  • JGC

    My dad grew up in a lumber camp in Pennsylvania during the 1920′s and -30′s.  He never could understand why people would choose to go camping as their form of vacation time (if they did get any vacation time).

  • RoMoney Bin Bush

    Vacation time is for the job creators. You peons better get back to your cubicles and workstations, and quit moaning. I have a fresh batch of non-union slaves from Ginginistan ready to take your jobs…

  • Rumrazz

    I love listening to this show, but this has to be one of the more depressing ones. The companies are increasing our work loads, hiring less people, and the CEO’s make more money and THEY get the vacations, while we work longer hours. I loved my vacation time with my family, that time was priceless! Something needs to change.

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