How many holidays are enough? According to Science

How much vacation have you taken so far this year? If you live in Brazil,  Finland, France, Spain and the United Arab Emirate you are (on average) entitled to 30 days paid holidays per year and on average, those days are fully taken.  At the other end of the spectrum, South Koreans only took eight days of their 15 days and Japanese took 10 of their 20. 37% of US workers had not been on a holiday in more than two years.

Fishpond in Hiroshima, Japan

This comes from Expedia’s Vacation Deprivation® study, an annual study of vacation habits amongst 9,424 employed adults aged 18 years of age and older across 28 countries. The line up:

Countries with 30 days of paid annual leave

  • Brazil: Days offered: 30, Days Taken: 30
  • Finland: Days offered: 30, Days Taken: 30
  • France: Days offered: 30, Days Taken: 30
  • Germany: Days offered: 30, Days Taken: 28
  • Italy: Days offered: 30, Days Taken: 25
  • Spain: Days offered: 30, Days Taken: 30
  • UAE: Days offered: 30, Days Taken: 30

Countries with 24/25 days of paid annual leave

  • Austria: Days offered: 25, Days Taken: 25
  • Belgium: Days offered: 24, Days Taken: 23
  • Denmark: Days offered: 25, Days Taken: 25
  • Sweden: Days offered: 25, Days Taken: 25
  • Switzerland: Days offered: 25, Days Taken: 22
  • Netherlands: Days offered: 25, Days Taken: 22
  • Norway: Days offered: 25, Days Taken: 25
  • United Kingdom: Days offered: 25, Days Taken: 25

Countries with 18 to 21 days of paid annual leave

  • Ireland: Days offered: 21, Days Taken: 21
  • India: Days offered: 21, Days Taken: 15
  • Australia: Days offered: 20, Days Taken: 15
  • Japan: Days offered: 20, Days Taken: 10
  • New Zealand: Days offered: 20, Days Taken: 19
  • Singapore: Days offered: 18, Days Taken: 14

Countries with 14 to 16 days of paid annual leave

  • Malaysia: Days offered: 16, Days Taken: 12
  • Canada: Days offered: 15, Days Taken: 14
  • Mexico: Days offered: 15, Days Taken: 12
  • USA: Days offered: 15, Days Taken: 12
  • South Korea: Days offered: 15, Days Taken: 8
  • Thailand: Days offered: 15, Days Taken: 12
  • Hong Kong: Days offered: 14, Days Taken: 14

Despite Spain getting a month off every year, 68% of survey participants felt that they deserved more time off while 25% of US workers believed they needed more vacation time.

Flying into the Maldives, October, 2016

How much time is enough?

The Journal of Happiness Studies in 2013 analysed the literature and found that annual holidays are connected to higher life satisfaction,  better mood, fewer health complaints and lower levels of exhaustion. Surprise, surprise these positive vacation effects were found to be short-lived and disappeared rapidly after work resumption. Depressingly in research: “on the first day of work resumption, positive vacation effects on [Health and welfare] have already entirely faded out.” Sounds familiar?! 

However, “the longer and the better vacationers slept, the more their {Health and Welfare] increased during vacation and 2 weeks thereafter.”

The research also found that Health and welfare improve after the start of the holiday and seems to peak on the eighth vacation day.  The study suggests that “frequent respites might be more important to preserve well-being than the duration of one single recovery episode“.

So it looks like two to three eight-day breaks a year might be ideal. If you can arrange to live in Europe and Scandinavia, this would be entirely possible!

Cheers from the Maldives

So, how much vacation are you planning to take next year?\\

 

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