2018 Alamo Family Vacation Survey Summary
Alamo Rent A Car recently released its fourth annual Alamo Family Vacation Survey*, which continues to explore the vacation attitudes and behaviors of Americans. Past Alamo surveys uncovered “Vacation Shaming” behavior in the workplace – the trend of workers being made to feel a sense of shame or guilt from colleagues for taking a vacation. Although “Vacation Shaming” continued to rise in the workplace as reported in the 2017 survey, the 2018 survey shows a substantial decline in workers being made to feel guilty about using their vacation time.
Brand new data revealed in the 2018 Alamo Family Travel Survey is showing Americans are now more distracted during vacation because of work and social media pressures. In fact, millennials appear to be impacted most by those pressures and are reporting their desire to actually take a “social media vacation.” The following 2018 Alamo survey statistics provide a detailed picture of U.S. families and their current feelings and habits surrounding vacations and vacation planning:
2018 Alamo Family Vacation Survey Statistics
Vacation Shaming in the Workplace on the Decline
- In 2018, 41 percent of workers said they 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 – a decline from 2017 (49 percent).
- Year over year, Millennials are significantly less likely to say they’ve ever felt vacation shame (38 percent in 2018 vs. 68 percent in 2017).
- In the 2018 Alamo Family Vacation Survey, significantly fewer workers thought their co-workers were serious when they engaged in vacation-shaming activities (41 percent vs. 53 percent in the 2017 survey).
- Less than one in five (17 percent) say feeling vacation shamed might keep them from planning or going on a vacation, significantly less than in the 2017 survey (25 percent).
- In the 2018 study, significantly fewer workers admit that they’ve vacation shamed their co-workers (27 percent in 2018 vs. 36 percent in 2017).
- Even though fewer workers are vacation shaming their co-workers, those that do still admit they’re serious when they do shame (44 percent in 2018 vs. 46 percent in 2017).
Distracted During Your Family Vacation? You’re Not Alone.
Vacationers Want to Unplug and Enjoy Time with Family on Vacations; But Work, Social Media or Both are Distracting
- Most workers (59 percent) say they put pressure on themselves to work during family vacations; most (57 percent) say they do this because they don’t want to come back to a mountain of work.
- In addition to the pressure put on themselves, half of workers (51 percent) say they feel guilty for taking time off to go on a vacation because their coworkers have to take over their job duties.
- This combination of self-pressure and guilt may be leading people to actually work more on vacation; significantly fewer workers say they prefer to “completely unplug” from work while on a family vacation (37 percent in 2018 vs. 53 percent in 2017).
If It’s Not Work Distracting Vacationers, It’s Social Media
- Over a third (37 percent) of social media users admit they use social media while on family vacations the same or more than usual.
- Roughly 16 percent of social media users admit they could never unplug from social media while on a family vacation.
- Twenty-two percent of Millennials and one fifth of dads (19 percent) say they could never unplug from social media while on a family vacation.
- Nearly one in four people (23 percent) say they have seen social media ruin a family vacation experience.
- Millennials (36 percent), and men (26 percent) more than women (20 percent), have seen social media ruin a family vacation experience.
- Parents (28 percent) are significantly more likely than non-parents (17 percent) to say they’ve seen social media ruin a family vacation experience.
- More than two out of five people (43 percent) say they wish they could take a vacation from being on social media.
- Millennials feel social media pressure more than average, with 53 percent stating they wish they could take a vacation from social media.
- Parents (48 percent) are significantly more likely than non-parents (38 percent) to agree they’d like a vacation from social media.
Vacation: For You or Your Followers?
Social Media Pressure Affects Vacationing Families, Especially Millennials and Men
Of American families:
- One in five (20 percent) say they sometimes feel pressured to post photos of their family vacation on social media to show they’re having a good time.
- Thirty-three percent of Millennials and more men (23 percent) than women (18 percent) feel pressured to post photos to show they’re having a good time on vacation.
- Parents (25 percent) are significantly more likely than non-parents (14 percent) to say they feel this pressure.
- Over a fourth of social media users (27 percent) admit they post their vacation photos on social media simply to show off the places they went to, things they saw or things they did.
- Sixteen percent of American families say their vacation plans were influenced by how good their vacation photos would look on social media:
- Over one third of Millennials (34 percent), and more men (19 percent) than women (14 percent), say they’ve decided where to go or what to do on vacation based on how good their photos would look on social media.
- Significantly more millennials (26 percent) and dads (26 percent) admit being concerned when their social media followers don’t like or comment on their family vacation posts.
Social Media Causes Vacation Envy Among One Fourth of Millennials
- People are more likely to feel positive emotions in reaction to seeing others’ vacation photos on social media, with 64 percent reporting they feel happy for those on vacation and 22 percent feeling inspired by the photos.
- However, 25 percent of millennials feel jealous when they see their friends’ family vacation photos on social media.
Photos on Social Media Influence Family Vacation Planning
- Around two in five American families (39 percent) admit photos they’ve seen on social media have influenced their vacation plans.
- Millennials are more likely to have decided where to go or what to do on vacation based on social media:
- Sixty percent of millennials report that their vacations are influenced by social media compared to 29 percent of non-millennials.
- More than half (56 percent) of families turn to Facebook when looking on social media for vacation inspiration.
- Facebook is also the most highly used by families during their vacation (65 percent).
- Women are more likely to use Instagram (32 percent vs. 21 percent) and Pinterest (28 percent vs. 10 percent) for vacation planning, while men are more likely to use Twitter (14 percent vs. 8 percent).
Wanderlust Affecting Families and Millennials Alike
- Significantly fewer families say the most important benefit of traveling as a family is spending quality time together, compared to last year (42 percent in 2018 vs. 49 percent in 2017).
- Instead, more are saying that the most important benefit is exploring new destinations together (17 percent).
- Half (51 percent) of families say they switch between new and familiar destinations for family vacations, and more than a third (36 percent) say they pick a new destination for each vacation.
Workers Planning Vacations Further Ahead of Time, but Still Leaving Days Unused
- Significantly more families are planning their vacation 5+ months in advance (43 percent), compared to last year (32 percent).
- However, just over half (51 percent) of workers who receive paid vacation used all of their vacation days.
- Who uses more of their vacation days?
- Fifty-one percent of millennials left vacation days unused, which is a significant decrease from the 2017 study (60 percent). However, this still outpaces non-millennials, of which only 40 percent had any unused vacation days.
- Dads are again more likely than moms to have unused vacation days (57 percent of dads vs. 40 percent of moms).
- Significantly fewer workers say they feel the need to justify why they’re using their vacation days.
- Only 40 percent of workers surveyed in 2018 ever feel the need to justify why they’re using vacation days, as compared to 48 percent in 2017.
The Majority of Moms Need a Vacation “After” the Vacation
One in four people (26 percent) admit vacationing with family is more exhausting than relaxing:
- The majority of families (85 percent) say they’ve sometimes felt like they needed time off to “recover” after a vacation.
- Parents – especially moms – feel like they need additional time off after a family vacation. They’re more likely than dads to say they’d use this time off to do chores.
- Ninety-three percent of moms have felt the need for additional time off to recover from family vacation compared to 88 percent of dads.
- Non-millennials (77 percent) and those who don’t pressure themselves to work on vacation (75 percent) are more likely to find family vacations to be relaxing.
*The 2018 Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey was conducted from Jan. 2-4, 2018, with 1,501 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; be married/in a domestic partnership or have a child under the age of 22; and taken one or more trips with their immediate family and/or their extended family in the past five years. Age and gender data is reflective to the adult population based on U.S. Census data. Millennials are defined as 21 to 36 year olds.