Yes, it’s true that Americans don’t take all of their vacation days.
It’s also true that Americans tend to get far fewer vacation days than our counterparts in the rest of the industrialized world.
So, why aren’t we taking those days?
Here’s my four reasons for not wanting to take another week off of work anytime soon.
4 Reasons Why Americans Don’t Take Vacation
You have to Plan Them
At least my vacations don’t plan themselves. Sad, really, but my reality. When you add in two children and no real history of taking family vacations when I was a child to draw from, trying to figure out where to go and what to do that will interest both children without making me want to claw out my own eyes is a feat.
Then there are all the logistics that go with them. If something goes wrong spending six hours in O’Hare with two cranky children might be its own circle of hell.
2. Work Waits for No One
There’s not just the work of packing and planning, which is a pain in itself. I’m talking about getting everything ready at work. I’m a desk jockey for a living. That means no one is covering for me while I’m out. Or at least, not covering more than the very basics. So everything else must be done before I leave. This adds to the stress of going. I seriously do not know how my counterparts in our foreign offices are able to take off two or three consecutive weeks every year. Last time I got off two consecutive weeks was when I was in college.
3. You Have to Recover From Them
Laundry. Unpacking. Putting everything away. This is all some of the last things anyone wants to do when they come home from a family vacation. My family tends to be tired and grumpy. And some of us need our space and alone time that we haven’t gotten since the “vacation” started.
4. Are They Really Fun?
The jury is still out on this. I enjoyed vacations much more when my husband and I were younger. We didn’t need to plan so much, and we were able to go with the flow more. Not go with the flow, exactly, but go with it more. Kids don’t go with the flow. Ever. The amount of crying, yelling, fussing and general malaise makes me wonder why we did this. Why we spent the money and time on this.
Then I look back at the pictures of the kids smiling and laughing. No, Maybe I didn’t have fun, but they sure did. And they keep talking about the things we saw and did. So maybe that’s why. And maybe I’ll remember it being better later.
How about you? Did you take family vacations as a kid? Did you or do you take them with your own kids? Any tips or advice for someone new to this?