Woman relaxing on the beach during vacation

Photo by Rafael Cisneros Méndez on Unsplash

NEW YORK — Two in three Americans admit they feel too much pressure during their vacation to actually enjoy it (65%). A survey of 2,000 adults delves into the topic of “vacation pressure,” with almost a quarter saying they haven’t physically relaxed on their getaway in two years or longer (23%).

Although vacations typically last a week (43%), the average person doesn’t start to relax until three days into their trip. Respondents cite not having enough money during their trip (30%), making sure their credit cards work domestically or abroad (29%), and feeling they won’t get to do or see everything they planned (29%) as top reasons why they feel vacation stress.

On the other hand, the majority are worried they’re wasting their vacation time in tourist traps or not experiencing the best things their destination has to offer (62%). Also, if one person is stressed or has a negative attitude, more than half believe it could ruin the whole trip’s vibe (55%).

The survey – conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Club Wyndham – also finds that 67 percent feel they need a vacation once they feel burnt out from their daily lives. Almost two in five suggest going on a getaway trip every year to avoid that feeling (37%).

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A vacation may do wonders since 75 percent feel like themselves after a trip. A similar percentage believe traveling is good for their mental health (73%). That may be why three in four are determined not to let their anxieties get in the way of enjoying themselves during their next vacation (74%).

vacation stress

‘Slow travel’ helps people embrace their vacation

To help ease the pressure, two in five respondents (41%) are “very interested” in the idea of “slow travel” – where they’re not rushing from place to place and instead taking the time to enjoy the people, places, and sites of their destination. The top “slow travel” activities people are interested in doing on their next vacation are hiking or nature activities (38%), relaxing in the hotel or resort pool (36%), shopping at small businesses (34%), taking strolls on the beach (34%), and visiting local grocery stores (34%).

“High demand for leisure travel and a pent-up desire for vacations have resulted in many of today’s travelers approaching their vacations with limited time and an urgent list of must-sees and must-dos, making them stressed before they even unpack,” says Renu Hanegreefs-Snehi, senior vice president of global brands at Travel + Leisure Co, in a statement. “Slow travel is to go boldly, knowing that being in the moment is the only thing that matters because that’s where vacation takes place.”

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While work is one of the many vacation stressors (23%), three in 10 employed respondents think employers should offer their employees 16 to 20 vacation days (30%).

What would employees give up to have more paid time off? Respondents would have no problem giving up commuting benefits (34%), summer Fridays (34%), complimentary food (32%), holiday parties (27%), and a raise or promotion (25%) just to have more vacation days.

“It’s no surprise that taking a vacation helps support better mental health, nor is it surprising that everyone wants more vacation – so much so that nearly a quarter of Americans would give up their annual raise for more paid time off,” Hanegreefs-Snehi says. “Our research points to just how difficult it really is for travelers to truly disconnect from work emails, texts and social media in order to check into the vacation mindset.”

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Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Club Wyndham between October 4 and October 6, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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