Yesterday I wrote, Are You Taking Enough Vacation? My answer to that was “no, I am not!” Well, thankfully, my wife and I have an upcoming two week vacation, and we are very excited about it.
While I admit I haven’t been taking enough time awayfrom work, I don’t think I am alone in this. Matt, the author of the personal finance blog To One Million and Beyond, made the comment on my earlier post that people in North America don’t take nearly enough time off, and that many Europeans receive more vacation days from their employers and generally take longer vacations.
I agree. I lived in England for around 2 years, and I have traveled throughout much of Europe. There are actually times when entire towns virtually shut down because most people are on vacation! In fact, over 50% of Italians take a 2-4 week vacation during August! In my opinion, they are doing something right over in Italy. Taking time off is very important for the body, mind, and soul.
A month long vacation is a national tradition in Italy, although lately some stores and towns are staying open throughout August. The biggest reason is financially driven. There is no money to be made when all the stores are closed. I just hope the Italian people are able to easily balance this transition with their vacation time.
On our side of the Pond, Americans tend to have fewer vacation days from their employers (12.4 on average), but Americans don’t even use all their time off! According to this CNN article about vacation time, Americans as a whole give back 1.6 million years worth of vacation time to their employers every year!
Not only is forfeiting vacation time a waste of your own time and money, it is also bad for your health, productivity, and sanity. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t plan on giving back any of my vacation time! I’ve already started my vacation countdown, and I am ready to go!