According to William Chalmers, yes we do.
Truthfully, as I read through his list of ways that Americans are taking vacations wrong, I found myself thinking that I’m guilty of some of them, even though I agreed with much of what he said.
His ways we travel wrong:
1. We are addicted to mini-vacations.
2. We travel at the worst times.
3. We take Groundhog Day vacations.
4. We want Champagne vacations on beer prices.
5. We vacation like we work with lists of things to do.
Again, I don’t know that I totally agree with everything he says, but there’s definitely some truth to the fact that we tend to take long weekends instead of actual vacations, only leading to more stress, and we do tend to travel at the worst times, but I also think that is a product of our workplace environment more than anything we actually choose to do.
Let’s take an example from my own life. We did take a two week vacation this year, off season, and traveled to some really cool new places. The price for that, beyond dollars and cents, was using just about all of my paid time off for the year at once. That means there was no long weekend in Ohio visiting family and friends this year, no taking some time off to recover when I got sick after a trip to Norway this Winter, and a built in excuse for every recruiter that I talked to because I couldn’t possibly switch jobs and start over accumulating paid time off!
In my case, that last reason worked out to not really be a negative, but it’s easy to see where that would be very limiting to others. We had booked this trip about a year before we took it, and that was a year of being very careful with PTO, to make sure it was still there when it came time, and now dealing with a pretty much depleted PTO account.
Luckily, I work for people who encouraged me to actually be offline and unavailable during this time. Not everyone’s workplace would be that understanding, nor would they be all that understanding about taking time in November, which is traditionally the last chance to get a lot done before the holiday season sets in.
So, to recap; we take short vacations due to very limited time off, which leaves us fewer options on location and a need to cram things in more than we would normally, during peak travel times because it’s more convenient to our employers, who expect us to still be available to them without paying us for that level of importance, which forces us to travel on the cheap.
Maybe it’s not so much that we travel wrong as we do the whole idea of employment wrong?