Traveling on a Budget

The Importance of Taking a Vacation

Table of Contents  
  1. Show Notes

Americans don’t get much vacation.  Learn why it’s important to take what you do get.  It will make you a better person and a better employee.

The average American gets ten days paid vacation. And that is at the mercy of your employer. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not legally mandate paid vacation.

  • Argentina: 14-35 days
  • Australia: 20-25 days
  • Denmark: 34 days
  • France: 25 days
  • Iceland: 37 days
  • Japan: 25-35 days
  • United States: 0 DAYS.

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Treehouse is an on-line interactive forum that teaches students to make web sites and mobile apps. Treehouse recently implemented a four day, 32 hour work week. And the sky didn’t fall. They didn’t go bankrupt and throw their employees onto the unemployment rolls. The company is showing marked growth.

Several Scandinavian countries have four day work weeks and their economies haven’t collapsed. They are among the highest ranked countries for quality of the life in the world.

Vacations don’t all have to be multi-week first class European extravaganzas. Domestic flights and even international ones can be affordable, particularly if you’re willing to travel out of season or during off peak times. There are many affordable lodging options. Air B&B, hostels, couch surfing, camping, even home swaps if you live in a desirable area.

You don’t need some fancy 5 star fluff your pillows type shit.

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You don’t even have to get on a plane to take a vacation. Take a few days off work and buy a guide book to the city you already live in. Odds are you haven’t done a lot of the “touristy” things in your own back yard. Make it extra special by staying a night or two in a luxurious hotel. Or hop in the car or board a train for the nearest big city to where you live and play tourist there. New sites, new restaurants, new people.

Some companies have a culture of peer pressure. People are afraid to use the paltry vacation they do have because they don’t want to be seen as a slacker by their co-workers or bosses. This is bullshit. Your co-wokers are jealous and your boss gets more than his or her fair share of your time. You are entitled to those few days a year of freedom. Take them, claim them, demand them! And while many people demonize the French for being work shy due to the amount of vacation they get and their 35 hour work week, they are among the most productive workers in the world. Happy workers are productive workers. So if your boss gives you stick about taking your vacation, send him or her that link, pack your bags, and say, “au revoir! Bitch.”

Show Notes A blog post by Ryan Carson, the founder of Treehouse, about their change to the 4 day work week. Take Back Your Time. A movement to encourage people to fight for legally mandated paid vacation.

Karoshi: A Wikipedia article detailing Karoshi, death from overwork.

Happy: The Movie: An award winning documentary that travels the world to find out what makes us happy.

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World: NPR correspondent Eric Weiner’s book on what constitutes happiness around the world.

More: An Academy Award nominated short animated film that depicts the colorless life of a factory worker who gets through his days by remembering his carefree childhood. By night he works on a secret invention to help him relive those moments and share their joy with everyone else in his cold, grey world.

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