In the travel industry it’s well-known the first three months of the year is “Wave Season,” the busiest time of the year. It’s the time that most vacations are planned and booked for the year. I suspect it’s because most of us in the northern climes of this country need something to look forward to when the snow is piling up around us. Don’t let this time of the year pass without planning your getaway for 2018.
Americans wasted or gave back a record-setting 658 million vacation days in 2015, according to research from Project: Time Off’s State of American Vacation 2016 report. The report took a comprehensive look at Americans’ vacation habits and came up with some surprising results. They concluded the reason we take less vacation time was not because we couldn’t afford it or because of worry about the economy, but because “technology had changed the way we work.” The report goes on to state, “the omnipresent office requires us to be intentional about time. Americans need to decide whether vacation becomes a casualty of the new working world or if we will take back our time off.”
Last year I took my sister on a “Seminar at Sea” cruise. I was going to tour the ship and attend some classes about the cruise line, and she would have time to sleep in and relax. She’s a therapist with a busy practice, and I hoped the cruise would be a time for her to read trashy novels and work on her tan. My first clue that wasn’t going to happen should have been how much she was worried about the internet. Soon after she got into our cabin, she whipped out the laptop and began working.
My sister and I did get to spend time together. We went on excursions, grabbed dinner together, and went to shows on the ship, but at 11 p.m., my sister was busy tapping away on her computer. When we parted ways at the airport, though, I felt bad for my sister. She had the chance to unwind and be completely selfish for a few days and didn’t take advantage of it. I quipped that I didn’t think that she is cut out “to go on vacation,” and I think she should change her mindset. Vacation time should be restorative and reinvigorating, bringing you back, appreciating your life, and resetting your priorities.
My point in this wandering diatribe is this: don’t give back vacation days. Get off the computer and stow the cell phones. Stick your feet in the sand, look up at the stars, and pop the champagne. Travel the backroads of Ohio, sail the Mediterranean, and drink beer in Oregon. Learn the hula in Hawaii and snorkel in the Caribbean. Make plans or enjoy serendipity, but be sure to spend your time with the ones you love. Life is short.
Marci DeWitt owns a local travel agency, Anchor and Away Travel, a Dream Vacations franchise. She can be reached by email at mdewitt@DreamVacations.com.