2017 Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey Fact Sheet

Background

The 2017 Alamo Family Vacation Survey was conducted from Jan. 5-10, 2017, with 2,100 adults from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey was fielded using the Research Now online consumer panel. At the time of the survey, participants had to have been at least 18 years of age or older and taken one or more trips with their immediate family and/or their extended family in the past five years. Respondents were identified as either “families” (married/in a domestic partnership and/or have a child under the age of 22) or “non-families” (neither married nor have a child under the age of 22). Age and gender data is reflective to the adult population based on U.S. Census data. Millennials are defined as 18 to 35 year olds.

Survey Statistics


Around Half Of American Workers Have Felt Vacation Shamed

Of American workers:

  • Forty-nine percent have felt vacation shamed – being made to feel a sense of shame or guilt by co-workers, their supervisor or their employer for taking time off to go on vacation.
  • The top reason they believe they are vacation shamed is because their co-workers are unhappy about their workload (37 percent), including having to cover additional work (20 percent).
  • In the 2017 Alamo Family Vacation Survey, significantly more thought their co-workers were serious when they engaged in vacation-shaming activities (53 percent vs. 42 percent in the 2016 survey).
  • Around one in five have taken fewer or shorter vacations because they’ve been vacation shamed.
  • One in four (25 percent) say feeling vacation shamed may keep them from planning or going on a vacation.
  • Significantly more admitted in the 2017 study that they’ve vacation shamed their co-workers (36 percent vs. 30 percent in the 2016 study). 
  • Nearly half (46 percent) say they’re serious when vacation shaming their co-workers (up from 31 percent in the 2016 survey).

Vacation Shaming:  When It Comes To Vacations, Millennials Can Dish It Out, But Can They Take It?

  • Millennials are significantly more likely than non-millennials to say they vacation shame all of the time or sometimes (33 percent vs. 14 percent).
  • At the same time, millennials are:
    • The least likely age group to say they used all their vacation days (60 percent vs. 49 percent).
    • The most likely age group to say feeling shame would keep them from going on or planning a vacation (40 percent vs. 17 percent).
    • The most likely age group to feel the need to justify to their employer why they’re using their vacation days (46 percent vs. 23 percent).
  • For the second year in a row, millennials are significantly more likely than non-millennials to say they’ve ever felt vacation shame (68 percent vs. 37 percent).
  • And their feelings of guilt are on the rise. Significantly more millennials say they feel vacation shame compared with last year's survey results (68 percent in the 2017 survey vs. 59 percent in the 2016 survey).
  • Millennials are significantly more likely than non-millennials (53 percent vs. 33 percent) to say they pressure themselves to work on vacation because:
    • It feels good to know they’re needed (34 percent vs. 22 percent).
    • Their co-workers are working on vacation (26 percent vs. 11 percent).
    • They want to impress their boss (23 percent vs. 9 percent).

Less Than Half Of Workers Using All Of Their Paid Vacation Days

  • For the first time, the Alamo Family Vacation Survey results show that less than half (47 percent) of workers who receive paid vacation use all of their vacation days.
  • Who uses more of their vacation days?
    • Sixty percent of millennials left unused vacation days on the table compared to 49 percent of non-millennials.
    • Sixty-three percent of dads left unused vacation days on the table compared with 51 percent of moms.
    • Employees with 10 years or less of tenure are more likely to have left vacation days on the table (58 percent vs. 43 percent of employees with 11 or more years of tenure).
  • Only one in five workers (18 percent) who get paid vacation use all of their vacation days to actually go on a vacation (rather than stay at home, do errands, etc.).
  • Around half of workers (48 percent) say they feel the need to justify to their employer why they’re using their vacation days.

Families Are Working On Their Vacations

  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of working families say they pressure themselves to work during family vacations even though most (53 percent) prefer to completely unplug.
    • One in five working families say they prefer to work or to check email once or twice a day.
    • Those workers with unused vacation days are significantly more likely to prefer working or checking email during family vacations once or twice a day (23 percent vs. 14 percent).
  • About half (48 percent) of working families say they pressure themselves to work during family vacations because they don’t want to come back to a mountain of work. Twenty-eight percent work because they say it feels good to know they’re needed. Approximately one in four (23 percent) say they’re expected to check-in with work while on family vacations. 
  • More than half of family workers say they feel guilty because their co-workers have to take over their job duties when they go on a vacation (58 percent). The following groups are significantly more likely to feel guilty all of the time or sometimes because their co-workers have to take over their job duties:
    • Millennials vs. non-millennials (56 percent vs. 29 percent).
    • Those with unused paid vacation days (57 percent vs. 29 percent of those who use all their paid vacation days).
    • Those who feel vacation shame (85 percent vs. 20 percent of those who don’t feel vacation shame).

Kids and Social Media Envy Dictate Millennial Vacations

  • Across all decision factors surveyed, millennials are significantly more likely than non-millennials to say their kids influence the following aspects of their family vacations:
    • Family vacation activities
    • Family vacation location
    • Date of the family vacation
  • Millennials are significantly more likely than non-millennials to say they’ve decided where to go or what to do based on seeing photos on social media (66 percent vs. 31 percent) and how good they think their vacation photos would look on social media (47 percent vs.17 percent).

Multigenerational Travel:  Do Millennials Vacation With Grandma For A Built-In Babysitter?

  • Among families, millennials are significantly more likely than non-millennials (81 percent vs. 57 percent) to say they’ve ever traveled with their parent(s) on a family vacation since becoming an adult.
  • So why have millennials in families traveled with their parents? They are significantly more likely than non-millennials to say:
    • Because it’s a tradition (37 percent vs. 23 percent).
    • Because their parents help watch their kid(s) (24 percent vs. 14 percent).
    • Because they simply have to/are expected to (19 percent vs. 9 percent).

The Gender Effect:  Are Men More Self-Conscious About Their Vacations?

Men are significantly more likely to:

  • Say their co-workers are mostly or somewhat serious about vacation shaming (57 percent of men vs. 48 percent of women).
  • Say feeling vacation shame would very or somewhat likely keep them from planning or going on a vacation (31 percent of men vs. 21 percent of women).
  • Wait until the last minute to tell their employers they’re taking time off to go on a vacation (27% of men vs. 18% of women).
  • Say they’ve decided where to go or what to do on vacation based on how good they thought their vacation pictures would look on social media (31 percent of men vs. 22 percent of women).

Social Media Impacts Vacation Planning For Families

  • Two in five American families (42 percent) say their vacation plans have been influenced by seeing photos on social media.
  • One in four families (26 percent) say they’ve made decisions on where to go or what to do on vacation based on how good they think their vacation pictures would look on social media.

Most Survey Respondents Take A Week Or Less Of Vacation At A Time

  • The average length of vacations for 36 percent of families is three to five days compared to 40 percent of non-families.
  • Thirty-eight percent of families still take a six- to seven-day vacation compared to 33 percent of non-families. Among families, the following groups are significantly more likely to take six- to seven-day vacations:
    • Married (38 percent vs. 31 percent non-married).
    • Workers with six or more years of job tenure (46 percent vs. 35 percent of workers at their workplace for five years or less).
    • Those with a household income of $75K or more (45 percent vs. 35 percent).