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Majority of Americans say they work while on vacation, TripAdvisor survey shows

August 19, 2014 - 8:58pm

Vacation. It’s supposed to be time off and away from work. However, more than 3/4 of U.S. respondents to a TripAdvisor survey say they have worked while on vacation during the past year.

Those 77 percent of U.S. respondents who admit working on vacation is a lot higher than the average of 40 percent of respondents from nine other counties in the poll — Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom. TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, released on Tuesday those findings as well as other details from its working-on-vacation survey that queried more than 16,100 full-time, part-time and self-employed respondents in 10 countries, including 2,100 in the U.S.

“The TripAdvisor survey shows that Americans receive less vacation time than other countries, and when they do take time off it is often more like a ‘workation’ than a vacation,” said Brooke Ferencsik, director of communications for TripAdvisor. “In today’s highly connected world, most Americans feel the need to stay plugged in even while out of the office.”

Fifty-one percent of U.S. respondents said they do not mind doing a little work on vacation, while 44 percent would prefer to be totally disconnected. Five percent said they enjoy being connected to work during time off, according to the survey. Across all of the 10 countries from which people were surveyed the top reason cited for working while on vacation was the need to address an urgent situation.

Of the U.S. respondents, 91 percent said they check their work email and 85 percent responded to emails compared to the global average of 65 percent and 56 percent, respectively. Forty percent said they checked their email several times per day while 5 percent admitted taking a peek every hour, or more frequently, according to the survey.

U.S. survey takers said they were also more likely to respond to emails, check voice mail, create and edit documents and respond to voice mail than those in the other nine countries.

Why are so many taking time out of their paid vacation to be connected with work? According to the survey, 18 percent of U.S. respondents said they felt guilty if they didn’t work on vacation while the same percentage said their managers expect it. Another reason — cited by 39 percent of U.S. respondents — could be the rise in Internet connectivity and mobile devices that has created an expectation from employers that they should always be available to work. Thirty-two percent reported a need to “check in” while out of the office.

The U.S. respondents surveyed reported receiving 18 paid vacation days annually, but believed 22 paid days off was a more fair number.

Americans receive the fewest paid vacation days, according to the survey. French respondents receive the most at 31 days of paid vacation, an amount they consider fair. Among all respondents queried, the average number of days off was 24 and the average number of days of paid vacation considered fair was 29.

Seventy-six percent of the 2,100 Americans surveyed said they do not feel the amount of paid vacation time given in the U.S. is fair compared to what the rest of the world receives. However, 60 percent of American survey takers said they were satisfied with the amount of paid vacation allotted.

Another interesting tidbit: 21 percent of U.S. respondents said the would take a pay reduction in order to gain more time off. For each extra day, the average amount they would be willing to have their pay decreased was $350.

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site offering advice from travelers and a wide variety of travel choices and planning features with links to booking tools.

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