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Vacations and Travel - Domestic Travel, The Nature Trail, The Lure Of Sand, Surf, And Ocean Breezes

americans time trip day

Americans love to take vacations. Their destinations may vary from a trip to a national park for camping, fishing, boating, or hiking, to a visit to a theme park such as Disneyland. A vacation can also be a flight to Egypt, a cruise to the Virgin Islands, a romantic three-day weekend in New York, or staying home to read a book. The way Americans vacation and travel and their expectations of vacation time have been changing as U.S. society has evolved. Unchanged, however, is Americans' conviction that travel and vacationing improve the quality of their lives.

The perception that Americans work more and have less vacation time than people in other countries around the world has its basis in fact. Data gathered on twenty countries by Catherine Valenti in the report "Vacation Deprivation—Americans Get Short-Changed When It Comes to Holiday Time" (June 25, 2003) showed that Americans, who averaged just 10.2 vacation days per year, took the least vacation time of workers in the countries surveyed. Many European countries, such as Italy, Germany, Spain, and Norway, had an average of thirty days per year, while residents of the United Kingdom averaged twenty-five, and even the hardworking Japanese had 17.5.

Perhaps because of this reduced amount of vacation time, Americans often try to pack as much activity as possible into their trips. This desire to make the most of a vacation can sometimes backfire, however, as a 2002 Gallup poll found. Rather than returning rested and relaxed, 54% of Americans who had taken a vacation trip during the previous twelve months reported they had gotten back feeling tired, while 19% said they were "very tired" or "exhausted."

In part, this was because many had started their trip with too little sleep—32% reported that the night before their vacation, they got to bed at least two hours later than normal because of a lack of advance planning, while 54% said they got up earlier than normal the next day to get an early start. Although some may have been awake because they were excited about going away, 46% said they were up late packing things the night before they left, while 10% packed the day they left. Once on vacation, the majority of travelers said they had stayed up too late on at least one night of their trip, and 22% of vacationers on ten-to fourteen-day trips said they went to bed later than normal nearly every night.

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