Interview: U.S. Workers Stressed, Overworked But Not Taking Vacations with Expedia’s Sarah Gavin

According to the results from Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation Survey, Europeans have between 25 and 30 days of vacation allotted to them each year (not counting state and religious holidays), as do those in France and Spain, with Germany at 28. Unfortunately those of us in the United States aren’t quite as lucky- last year we had 14 vacation days, this year it dwindled down to 12 and most of us are only taking 10 days of vacation a year. If these results shock you, you aren’t alone. Sarah Gavin of Expedia joined me this week to discuss the startling results, and dish on why Americans aren’t taking the vacation time they’re allotted, the hottest vacation destinations for the holidays and talk about how you can save money while traveling this season.


Expedia's Sarah Gavin talks vacation trends and dishes on the hottest holiday vacation travel destinations!

Expedia’s Sarah Gavin talks vacation trends and dishes on the hottest holiday vacation travel destinations!





Candace Rose: Can you tell us about the new vacation habits survey?

Sarah Gavin: “Expedia does this survey every year- it’s called the Vacation Deprivation Survey. We study vacation habits across 22 different countries. And there’s some things we always expect to see that we saw again this year- Europeans get a lot more vacation than Americans, and that continues to be true.

The situation with travel in the U.S. is actually getting worse this year than we’ve seen. For the first time we actually fell behind Japan- it’s how vacation deprived we are. Last year we got 14 vacation days on average, and this year we only got 12- and we’re leaving two of those on the table. On average we’re only taking 10 vacation days.”

Candace Rose: Why do you think workers aren’t taking vacation time?

Sarah Gavin: “It’s really about the two things that nobody has enough of: time and money. When we look at this idea of balance, your work schedule, and your home schedule, and your significant other’s work schedule and sort of figuring out when you can take that big trip; that’s a real challenge for folks.

And the other thing we found is that 28% of people said the number one reason that they don’t take vacation is because it has to do with budget.

The good news is one of the big emerging trends that solves both of those challenges is taking a last minute trip. So last minute deals are hotter than ever. You can look at your calendar and say ‘Ooh my calendar looks really light, I’m going to take off Thursday night and get away for a long weekend. Book that deal on your mobile phone. There’s a lot of last minute deals on the Expedia app that are exclusive to your mobile phone, so you can save a ton of money that way. So you’re saving money and your sneaking vacation time- it’s a win-win all the way around.”

Candace Rose: What are some of the other holiday vacation trends you’re seeing?

Sarah Gavin: “One of the big things that nobody thinks about is, everyone goes off to grandma’s at Thanksgiving; and one of the big trends that nobody thinks about is when everybody is staying at grandma’s, that means there are a lot of empty hotels. If you’re doing Thanksgiving at home this year, it’s a great time to take the weekend before Thanksgiving or the weekend after Thanksgiving and get away to one of your drive trip cities. Take a road trip- go see one of your nearby destinations, take in some culture, take in some shopping and save a bundle of money on travel while you’re at it.”

Candace Rose: Where are some of the most popular destinations in the world?

Sarah Gavin: “We’re all about the beach, by and large. America loves the beach more than anything and in some ways it can be because the beach is so accessible and can really scale. A lot of people can drive to a nearby beach or you can take that dream beach vacation, so you can do it all levels of how much time you’re going to invest, and how much money you’re going to invest in a beach vacation.

But the hot destinations right now are:

  • Mexico still tends to be the number one international destination.
  • Folks on the West Coast love Hawaii, and love Cabo.
  • If you’re on the East Coast, the Dominican Republic is really the hot new destination. The Caribbean has always been pretty popular, but the Dominican Republic is sort of the new Cancun if you will.”

Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?

Sarah Gavin: “The big thing is social media is a huge tool for getting great deals today. If you follow Expedia on Facebook you’ll get fresh new deals everyday sort of brought to you in Facebook where you already are, without you having to go hunting those down.”


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