Skift Take

Even as there is more awareness about benefits of time off, the overworked, under-vacationed, and under-traveled American remains a reality and the travel industry hasn't done much to band together and attempt to change it, despite some efforts by the U.S. Travel Association and brands like MasterCard and Expedia.

It is that time of the year again: mid winter and dreaming of holidays. Alas, Americans do dream aplenty but take little action after.

That much is clear from the surveys Skift has done over the last few years, and the latest survey proves it out once again, sadly.

In a new survey conducted over the first few days of 2016, we asked Americans about how much vacation they took in the just-finished 2015, and the topline result is as predictable as it is shocking: nearly 41 percent of Americans said they didn’t take a single vacation day during 2015, almost exactly the same number that said that about 2014 when we did the survey then. Almost 17 percent said they took fewer than five vacation days — a pitifully low number — in 2015, .

On the other end of the spectrum, about 13 percent of Americans said they took more than 20 vacation days last year.


This is happening amidst some heightened awareness, discussion, and movement about the need for more vacations and time off for Americans. The tech and startup industry is leading it, with some marquee companies starting to give unlimited vacations to their employees, GE, Netflix, and LinkedIn among them. (Skift gives unlimited vacations to employees as well.)

Also, American maternity and paternity leave (or lack of it), a source of global shame, is now beginning to get better in some quarters, starting again with the tech industry, with the likes of Facebook, Google, Netflix, Microsoft, and others leading the change. Hopefully this will lead to better overall vacationing habits for Americans.

Some other observations based on further breakdown of demographic data from the results of the survey above:

  • Women were more overworked in 2015 than men in America, with men taking more days off though not by much.
  • The 18-35 generation, which includes Gen Z and Millennials, are more overworked than any other age group, as they enter and move up the employment chain.
  • The U.S. Midwest are the least likely to take vacations, while the residents of U.S. North-East and West the most likely to, according to the survey.
  • Americans living in rural areas are the biggest group taking no vacations, compared to Urban and suburban dwellers.
  • No surprise: Rich Americans took most number of days off in 2015, while the opposite happened at the poorer ended of the spectrum.
  • Parents and their families have more trouble taking vacations than the non-parents, according to our survey data.

Important: This single-question survey — not served to Skift users — was administered to the U.S. internet population from Jan 13-14 2016, through Google Consumer Surveys, with about 2,000+ responses. The methodology is explained here


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Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

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