2 in 3 Americans feel too much pressure on their vacations to actually enjoy it

Two in three Americans admit they feel too much pressure during their vacation to actually enjoy it (65%), new research suggests.

A survey of 2,000 adults delved into the topic of “vacation pressure,” with almost a quarter saying they haven’t physically relaxed on their getaway in two years or longer (23%).

Although people’s vacations typically last a week (43%), the average person doesn’t start to relax until three days into their trip.

But what’s keeping people from having fun? Respondents cite not having enough money during their trip (30%), making sure their credit cards work domestically or abroad (29%) and feeling they won’t get to do or see everything they planned (29%) as top reasons why they feel vacation stress.

On the other hand, the majority are worried they’re wasting their vacation time in tourist traps or not experiencing the best of the destination (62%).

And if one person is stressed or has a negative attitude, more than half noted it could ruin the whole trip’s vibe (55%).

The survey – conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Club Wyndham – also found that 67% feel they need a vacation once they feel burnt out from their daily lives – and almost two in five suggest going on a getaway trip every year to avoid that feeling (37%).

A vacation may do wonders since 75% feel like themselves after a trip, and a similar percentage believe traveling is good for their mental health (73%).

That may be why three in four are determined not to let their anxieties get in the way of enjoying themselves during their next vacation (74%).

To help ease the pressure, two in five respondents (41%) said they are “very interested” in the idea of “slow travel” – where they’re not rushing from place to place and instead taking the time to enjoy the people, places and sites of their destination.

The top “slow travel” activities people are interested in doing on their next vacation are hiking/nature activities (38%), relaxing in the hotel/resort pool (36%), shopping at small businesses (34%), taking strolls on the beach (34%) and visiting the local grocery store (34%).

“High demand for leisure travel and a pent-up desire for vacations have resulted in many of today’s travelers approaching their vacations with limited time and an urgent list of must-sees and must-dos, making them stressed before they even unpack,” said Renu Hanegreefs-Snehi, senior vice president of global brands at Travel + Leisure Co. “Slow travel is to go boldly, knowing that being in the moment is the only thing that matters because that’s where vacation takes place.”

While work was considered one of the many vacation stressors (23%), 30% of employed respondents suggested employers should offer their employees 16 to 20 vacation days (30%).

What would employees give up to have more paid time off? Respondents said they would have no problem giving up commuting benefits (34%), summer Fridays (34%), complimentary food (32%), holiday parties (27%) and a raise/promotion (25%) just to have more vacation days.

“It’s no surprise that taking a vacation helps support better mental health, nor is it surprising that everyone wants more vacation – so much so that nearly a quarter of Americans would give up their annual raise for more paid time off,” said Hanegreefs-Snehi. “Our research points to just how difficult it really is for travelers to truly disconnect from work emails, texts and social media in order to check into the vacation mindset.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans was commissioned by Club Wyndham between October 4 and October 6, 2022. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).