Forget Three Weeks Off: Employed Canadians Wish for European-Length Annual Vacations
Belgian chocolate, French wine and Italian food aren’t the only European pleasures Canadians seem to envy. According to the 2013 Canadian edition of Expedia.ca’s™ annual Vacation Deprivation study, working Canadians wish they could have as many vacation days (25 – 30 days)(i) as their counterparts across the Atlantic.
According to the national survey conducted by the country’s leading online travel provider, Canadians will receive 17 vacation days(ii) this year — but respondents said they would actually be happy with 30 vacation days(ii) — nearly twice as many days as most of us currently receive. According to a similar global study conducted by Expedia Inc. in 2012, Europeans averaged 25 – 30 days vacation days(i) per calendar year.
“We’re getting roughly three weeks’ vacation, but we’d ideally like to get around six weeks off,” said Sean Shannon, Vice President and Managing Director of Expedia Canada. “Perhaps that’s why we see a significant percentage of respondents who feel they’re not getting enough time away from work.”
While most respondents (60 per cent) do not consider themselves to be suffering from ‘vacation deprivation,’ 40 per cent are feeling its effects since they claim they aren’t getting enough vacation time or aren’t taking all the vacation owed to them. In fact, more than one quarter (27 per cent) of Canadians are carrying over unused vacation time from last year. The top reason cited by respondents for not using all of their vacation days? Being too busy at work and not having enough staff resources to cover off responsibilities while away was cited as the number one reason (13 per cent).
“We feel forty per cent is a sizeable chunk of the workforce to report they are feeling the effects of ‘vacation deprivation,’ so we’re doing what we can to help,” said Shannon. “Since even a short break provides many benefits that come with taking time away, we’re happy to offer unmatched travel options that make vacationing easier and more affordable — regardless of whether workers need a few weeks off or just a couple of days away to recharge.”
Beverly Beuermann-King, a Canadian work-life balance expert, says ensuring we take time off from the usual routine is important in ensuring good overall health.
“Vacation time helps reduce stress and holds a range of benefits for both our physical and mental well-being,” Beuermann-King says. “A break from the grind can help lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety and let you get the proper rest that’s so important to our overall health. Plus, holidays make us happy — which obviously benefits our mental well-being as well.”
The survey found that 70 per cent of respondents associate vacationing either a great or at least fair amount with their overall happiness. Out of a list of things that make people happy, vacations ranked higher at 23 per cent than options such as finding money they thought they had lost (the first choice of 8 per cent), getting a tax refund (the first choice of 7 per cent), work and being told you look younger than you really are (the first choices of 4 per cent each).
Other notable findings of the 2013 Expedia.ca Vacation Deprivation Survey:
- Younger employed Canadians (aged 18 – 34) feel ‘vacation deprivation’ the most. Half of those in that age group were more likely to feel ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ vacation deprived (50 per cent) than those 35 – 54 (38 per cent) and those over 55 (25 per cent).
- Those in Ontario feel ‘vacation deprived’ the most at 46 per cent, followed by those in BC at 43 per cent. Quebecers feel the least deprived with only 27 per cent stating they feel ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ vacation deprived.
- More than half of respondents (56 per cent) say they have never cancelled vacation plans because of work; 44 per cent say they have. BC residents were most likely to have cancelled (52 per cent) in comparison to Alberta (44 per cent), Ontario and Quebec (both at 41 per cent).
- Disconnecting from work is still a challenge for employed Canadians: 61 per cent say they at least sometimes check their office email or voicemail while on vacation; 39 per cent say they never do. Quebecers are most likely to check in with 35 per cent saying they “constantly” or “regularly” do while Atlantic Canadians are least likely to at only 18 per cent.
- A strong majority (80 per cent) feel that their boss is supportive of them taking a holiday, up from 72 per cent in 2012(i).
- Are you more likely to get lucky while on vacation? Sadly, no, according to the survey. Almost half (48 per cent) said it’s less likely they’ll be intimate with a spouse or partner while on vacation compared to at home. Only six per cent felt it would be more likely.
Summer remains the number one vacation season for employed Canadians, with 46 per cent saying if they could only take one vacation this year, they’d do it in the summer months. Knowing this, Expedia.ca is offering up to 50 per cent on select hotels worldwide this summer during the Spontaneous Summer Sale with bookings all backed by the Expedia.ca Best Price Guarantee.
An online survey was conducted from 24 May to 27 May, 2013. The survey was designed by Expedia and fieldwork was conducted on an online panel of 125,000 Canadians. 1502 adults 18+ who are employed or self-employed were surveyed. The sample was balanced by age, gender and region to be representative of employed Canadians. The margin of error is ±2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
(i) Expedia Vacation Deprivation 2012 Survey
(ii) Mean number of days