“Calgon, take me away!”

If you were a child of the 70s, and had a mischievous personality, then you no doubt heard Mom’s “battle-cry” as she headed upstairs to a place of peaceful repose.


Who doesn’t need a break, time-off, or time away from the daily stresses of our busy lives?

Why are so many Americans screaming for a vacation? Maybe it’s today’s work calculus…  Work twice as hard, for half the benefits, and achieve a quarter the results…

A recent study from Ipsos Public Affairs, confirms Americans’ desire to get away annually, and 63% of full time employees consider taking a vacation a necessity (read more in our Thought Starter: Americans Give “Getting Away” Two Thumbs Up)

But…do Americans really value the time off given to them by employers?

A recent Expedia study (11/16/12) conducted among 8,700 Americans, between the ages of 18-64, contrasts the behaviors of Americans and Europeans vacation habits annually.

The study notes the average American receives 12 vacation days per year, and only uses 10 of these days for vacation, while the average European receives 25 vacation days per year, and uses 100% of these days. The only country where full time employees treat vacation time more like Americans is Italy, where 20-30% of annual vacation time goes unused.

Clearly there is a history of government and union guidelines which may dictate vacation time-off across Europe, or it could be simply viewed more like a birthright vs. a benefit of employment.

Let’s face it…Americans can now be reached anywhere, anytime, and for any reason (work email connectivity, Twitter feeds, vmails, etc). Add to this the stress of a sluggish post 2009 U.S. economy, and it’s easy to understand why so many Americans not only need time away, but also why so many have a hard time using all their vacation time annually.

I have a saying I use every time I head out for a business trip…“I expect something to go wrong with my travel plans, and when it doesn’t, I am pleasantly surprised.” 

One finding from the Ipsos study, which makes me happy for vacationers of all types, is 79% of surveyed individual’s state their vacation went off without a hitch or problem. 

Maybe I need to use their travel agents in the future for my travel. Hopefully travel agents don’t fully disappear like the Calgon brand did!!!