Published on : Wednesday, August 20, 2014
TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site*, today revealed the results of its working-on-vacation survey of more than 16,100 employed1 respondents across 10 countries, including more than 2,100 in the U.S. Seventy-seven percent of U.S. respondents report having worked on vacation during the past year, compared to an average of 40 percent in the nine other countries included in the poll— Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain and the U.K.
Why People Work on Vacation
Fifty-one percent of U.S. respondents say they do not mind doing a little work on vacation, while 44 percent would prefer to be totally disconnected, and five percent enjoy being connected to work while on vacation.
Across all countries surveyed, the top reason respondents cited for working on vacation is that there may be urgent situations that need attention – 65 percent of U.S. respondents report feeling this way.
U.S. respondents are the most likely to report feeling guilty if they don’t work on vacation (18%), and also the most likely to say that their managers expect it (18%).
Top Work Activities Respondents Typically Do While on Vacation
U.S. Respondents Global Average
Check emails 91% 65%
Respond to emails 85% 56%
Check voicemail 45% 21%
Create / edit documents 42% 26%
Respond to voicemail 40% 20%
Email Trends and Online Connectivity
Ninety-one percent of U.S. respondents typically check work email while on vacation.
Of those who check work email on vacation, 37 percent say it is an everyday habit and do not consider it to be “work” while on vacation.
Forty percent check work email several times per day, while five percent admit to taking a peek every hour or more.
Thirty-nine percent of respondents say the rise in Internet connectivity and mobile devices has created an expectation from employers that they should always be available to work. A further 32 percent say it has meant that they feel a need to check in while out of the office.
Vacation Time Allotted Versus What’s Considered Fair
Country Paid Vacation
Days Allotted Paid Vacation Days
Considered Fair Difference
Americans 18 22 4
Japanese 19 28 9
Australians 22 24 2
Brazilians 24 33 9
British 24 28 4
Spanish 24 32 8
Germans 26 30 4
Italians 27 31 4
Russians 29 33 4
French 31 31 0
Average 24 29 5
How U.S. Vacation Time Stacks Up Against the Rest of the World
U.S. respondents receive less paid vacation time than any of the countries surveyed – 18 days in the U.S., compared to the average of 24.
The majority of U.S. respondents (76%) do not feel the amount of paid vacation time given in the U.S. is fair compared to what the rest of the world receives.
U.S. respondents on average would like an additional four days of vacation, considering 22 days of paid vacation to be fair and reasonable. However, this is the lowest expectation of the countries surveyed – Brazilians and Russians want the most at 33 days per year.
Satisfied with Amount of
Vacation Time Allotted Feel Their Vacation Time is Fair
Compared to Rest of World
1. Germans – 83%2. French – 79%
3. Italians – 76%
4. British – 72%
5. Australians – 72%
6. Spanish – 71%
7. Japanese – 69%
8. Americans – 60%
9. Russians – 58%
10. Brazilians – 57%
1. Germans – 89%2. Australians – 87%
3. French – 84%
4. Russians – 81%
5. Japanese – 80%
6. Brazilians – 76%
7. Italians – 74%
8. Spanish – 69%
9. British – 67%
10. Americans – 24%
Putting a Dollar Value on Vacation Days
Twenty-one percent of U.S. respondents would take a pay reduction in order to gain more time off. For each extra day, the average amount they’d be willing to have their pay decreased is $350.
Give Me a Break
Sixty-six percent of U.S. respondents say their vacations leave them feeling refreshed and recharged, and 39 percent say they are better able to handle work stresses after taking a vacation. These benefits typically last 1-2 weeks (27%).
To ease the transition back to work, 53 percent return from trips a day or two early to rest and unpack.
“The TripAdvisor survey shows that Americans receive less vacation time than other countries, and when they do take time off it is often more like a ‘workation’ than a vacation,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “In today’s highly connected world, most Americans feel the need to stay plugged in even while out of the office.”
1The survey includes respondents who report their current employment status as full-time, part-time or self-employed.