It Takes 4 Days for Americans to Start Enjoying Their Vacations

Almost half of all Millennials felt guilty about taking a vacation, versus 19% of people aged 55 and older.

Carol Yepes/ Getty Images
Carol Yepes/ Getty Images

Steeped in a Protestant work ethic, Americans have a complicated feeling about being away from the office on their vacations, a new study shows. The study, commissioned by Apple Vacations and conducted by OnePoll, polled 2,000 workers and found that it took people a startling four days to stop thinking about work on their vacations.

People were fraught about their well-earned getaways in other ways:

  • 80% found it hard to get away from work to take a vacation, and left part of their vacation time unused
  • 37% felt guilt over leaving uncompleted work behind
  • 26% felt that taking time off for a vacation could get in the way of a promotion

It also seems that the younger you are, the guiltier you feel about taking a vacation. Almost half (47%) of all Millennials felt guilty about taking a vacation, versus 19% of people aged 55 and older.

Expedia 2018 Vacation Deprivation Study

vacation study by another travel website, Expedia, also found American workers found vacations difficult to settle into, a low priority, and occasionally guilt-inducing.

  • Instead of four days, the study found it took the typical American worker two to three days to truly relax on vacation.
  • In 2018, the United States took the least amount of vacation time in the world – 10 days. The only other countries that matched that number were Japan and Thailand.
  • Americans left 4 vacations days unused.
  • 13% felt guilty about taking vacation time – but guilt level is down 17% from 2017.
  • 40% of Americans have canceled a vacation because of work.

For a country that enjoys an untold number of leisure activities, it seems that actual vacations – the ultimate leisure activity – remain a low priority for Americans. Call it FOMO – for the office.

Originally published on The Ladders.

Sign up to receive daily news, inspiration, and advice on how to master work and life from Ladders.

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


Thou Shalt Take Vacation – the American Cultural Taboo

by Jasmine Martirossian

Overcome a Vacation-Averse Culture and Go Away Already!

by Andrej Kovacevic

Why Travel Matters More Than Money to Millennials

by Serenity Gibbons

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.