Recently, I asked FTA members to think about the FTA’s survey findings that show 58% of parents do not use all of their earned paid leave – and what we, as individuals, employers and the industry can do to encourage more family vacation time.
What you told us is that for many FTA members, work can consume us. That makes it hard to prioritize family vacation time. You said you know families that struggle to afford regular vacations, especially during peak seasons when it seems all families are taking time off. Thank you for sharing your voice.
Short on time and money
“I have my own business so it is up to me to decide whether I can take time off or not,” said Katerina Makatouni, travel advisor and owner of Kids Love Greece. “I find it very hard to switch off when I am on vacation as I am constantly checking emails, so technically at work. So, to me it is about … time off = switching off and not working at all! I am feeling really guilty every time I try to disconnect.”
FTA Media Center Member Eileen Gunn, Families Go Travel, told us that her husband gets four weeks off every year. But “who has the money to travel for four weeks out of the year? Few people. I think it’s less about the fear of missing work than people not knowing what to do with the time if they can’t afford to go anyway or they don’t know where to go. Leaving the money on the table is easier than trying to plan a fun, affordable trip.”
“It is too easy to get caught up in schedule conflicts or just too much to do, and vacation seems to be the first thing to fall on the wayside,” another FTA member told us. Members also talked about the stress and time it takes for busy parents to plan vacations, a perfect opportunity for more families to work with travel advisors. According to the FTA 2018 Survey, of those families who worked with travel advisors recently,
- 31 percent said they are glad to pass on researching and booking vacations because it’s too time-consuming
- 21 percent said researching vacations presents too much confusing information
Not all of our members who responded could empathize with our survey respondents. Media Center Member Lucee Santini, who runs her own blog, MomJunky, said she can’t relate to parents who don’t take all of their paid time off. Born in the U.K., Santini described how she grew up in a culture where “prioritizing vacations is VERY important and so maybe that sort of stayed with me.”
Shellie Bailey-Shah, Editor at KidTripster, said her family takes all of their paid time off, so she also doesn’t understand why anyone wouldn’t take all of their vacation.
In my next letter, we’ll explore what our members think we can do about some of these issues. We greatly appreciate your taking the time and look forward to working with you to help America #TakeFamilyTime more.