Should we have a Vacation Day?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Each January 30th in the United states they hold Vacation Day.

It isn’t a public holiday, it is a day promoted by the travel and tourism industry to remind Americans that they should take their holiday entitlement and that this is the day to seriously consider where to go and, preferably, book.

Sceptics may say that days like vacation day are just PR stunts to raise awareness of an issue. The US Travel association says that 54% of Americans fail to take all their allotted time, leaving behind 662 million vacation days.

Does this matter?

Apart from the fact that if everyone took their entitlement, tour operators, airlines and other travel providers would do much better, it has been suggested that it would it would help boost the U.S. economy, generate jobs and decrease taxes.

Would it help the UK economy if we used all our holiday entitlement? The problem here is trying to establish how many days we actually take off as opposed to how many are we entitled to. The annual ABTA Holiday Habits Report doesn’t tell us how many days off we actually take nor does the government’s Travel Trends Survey. The general belief is that most of us take our full entitlement and some companies even insist that we take a period of holiday for health and well-being reasons. One company I worked for many years ago insisted that part of the holiday entitlement had to be taken as a two-week block, the thinking being that such a longish period would bring about eventual relaxation even for many uptight people.

In the US, Americans took an average of 16.8 days a year, a drop of just over four days compared to sixteen years previously. With no comparable figures in the UK it is impossible to say if we take the minimum legal entitlement of 28 days a year but what we do with it is surely as important as taking it.

Should we then have a day – say 1st of July – where we are reminded that we should take holidays for health and well-being reasons?  One where it is pointed out that it is surely no good taking a day here and a day there or even taking a fortnight off but still maintaining contact with the office. A holiday is supposed to be a break from everyday life which means our jobs.

As the peak summer holiday season approaches, surely it is better to take a complete break from work so that you can relax and return re-charged? Unless you are a travel writer in which case there is no respite!

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