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jp1
12-6-11, 11:49am
Over in public policy we've been discussing whether Americans and Europeans both take lengthy vacations. Rather than further hijack that thread I'd start a new one to take a survey. 4 questions:

1. What was the longest vacation you ever took?
2. What kind of job did you have?
3. What country were you living in at the time?
4. How long ago was the vacation?

I'll go first:

1. Two weeks
2. I was the box office manager for a performing arts organization. The regular season ran from early october to late may, so summers in my office were quiet and it was no problem to be out that much at once.
3. USA
4. 20 years ago

Alan
12-6-11, 12:09pm
1. 10 weeks
2. Manager, Corporate Security
3. USA
4. 1997

This was our first European vacation and we felt we needed that time to explore England, France, Austria & Germany in a proper manner, in hindsight I believe we still bit off more than we could chew in one trip. We did subsequent trips of 2 to 4 weeks to single locations (it took 3 trips to Paris in order to feel as though we'd actually seen most of what it had to offer).

These days, we do 2 to 3 weeks at a time in our motorhome, several times per year, exploring the wonders of the US National Parks System, which reminds me, we've filled up our National Parks passport, time to get another.

goldensmom
12-6-11, 1:10pm
1. 2 weeks, one time only
2. Social work
3. USA
4. 1987

Other than that one time, it was a week a year, a day here and there until I retired. My husband has one week a year, that's it.

Simplemind
12-6-11, 1:22pm
1. three weeks to England/Scotland/Ireland
2 shift supervisor
3 USA
4 2008

I earn four days off a month. I generally use it by cutting my daily hours short but will bank it up for a a block of time. I usually take the last two or three weeks of December off so I don't lose any at the end of the year. Looking forward to starting my vacation this Friday.

bae
12-6-11, 1:31pm
1: 12 years so far
2: Chief Simplicity Officer for an S&P 500 company
3: USA
4: still ongoing

Acorn
12-6-11, 1:36pm
1. 4 weeks
2. sahm
3. UK
4. 4 years ago

ApatheticNoMore
12-6-11, 1:58pm
Vacations? 2 weeks and only once I think. Corporate job in the U.S.A.
Unemployment: longest was 6 months :) (to tell the truth it is a horrible thing and all - I mean it is stressful, but it has given me breaks in life)

sweetana3
12-6-11, 2:11pm
4 weeks and I had to save my leave to do it since I worked for Federal government. I also had to argue with supervisor and threaten to move to a different department. I wanted my 4 weeks now or at some defined time in the future. He just could not understand. When we got back and told him all about it, guess who took 4 weeks with his family? You got it, the boss.

We went to India, spent the entire first Gulf War in the country, and it was a life changing experience. 4 weeks is all we can really stand being away from home. Last year we spent 4 weeks in Thailand and loved it. Again, we were ready to come home. Why travel to the other side of the world and not spend as much time as possible.

IshbelRobertson
12-6-11, 2:23pm
3 months
Sabbatical
UK
A few years ago.

I intend to spend another 3 months in Australia in 2013.

Spartana
12-6-11, 3:27pm
1: 12 years so far
3: USA
4: still ongoing

He he - me too! OK I guess early retirement doesn't actually count as vacation time.

Longest I took was one month (several times) when I was in the service (Coast Guard). You get one month paid leave a year and, in my case being aboard ships deployed for long periods of time, it was easier to get someone assigned temporarily to cover for me for a month then for numerous shorter leaves. Even had one guy heliocoptered out to relieve me and then I got helioed out to the airport to start my leave (a month in ireland!). Hoisted him down in the basket and hoisted me back up!

At my civilian job (Environmental Complience Officer/Inspector) I got about 3 weeks off a year but wasn't able to take off longer than a week at a time usually.

The longest time I took off between jobs (civilian jobs - same job as I got re-hired) was 2 years. Travelled overseas then and ended up living in Europe for almost a year.

Not being able to take long vacations was one of the biggest factor in me deciding to take a long period of time off from work to do other things when I was 42. I couldn't do those things when I was older and at a more traditional retirement age. That turned into early retirement which has lasted 12 years now.

Stella
12-6-11, 3:43pm
1. a whole summer
2. middle school student
3. Alaska
4. 1990

As an adult I think the trip we are taking on Thursday will be my longest. The stats on that:

1. 3 + weeks
2. SAHM
3. IA, NE, WY, UT, NV, CA, AZ, NM, TX, OK, KS, MO
4. Dec 8 to New Years Eve

I haven't worked outside the home much since I was 23, which is 10 years ago. DH works about half of the year. He is in construction.

treehugger
12-6-11, 3:46pm
The largest amount of vacation I have ever been eligible for is 2 weeks, and I have never wanted to take that all at once. In 1.5 more years, I will have worked my way up to 3 weeks here. Yay!

So, my answers are:

1. 1 week
2. Administrative, private company
3. U.S.
4. 2009

Kara

Zoebird
12-6-11, 3:48pm
21 days (including weekends)
self-employed; dh was in corporate.
USA
2002, 2005, 2007, 2008

Dh had to "fight" for it, but we were able to manage it. it was highly frowned upon. ironically, most of the VPs would go for 5-6 weeks at a time, usually to europe. I remember one time when i went to the benefits meeting (where they described how medical was going to work that year), and the CFO said "now, we have to tighten our belts, and reach our quarterly goals. so, we expect every employee to buckle down and work an extra 10 hours a week." The next day, he flew off to france for a vacation for 8 weeks, which was the whole duration of everyone else having to work overtime. mid-way through the 10 weeks, the CEO and three VPs took 4-5 week holidays.

to say the least, my husband did not work 50 hr work weeks. when he was confronted by his manager and the CEO about it, he said "well, I figured it wasn't that big of a deal if you guys were all on extended holidays during that time."

Float On
12-6-11, 4:02pm
Not sure if I can count this but two years ago 3 months in FL but involved art shows most weekend up and down the gulf side. Most all our vacations are working vacations.

The last real, honest to God vacation involving no art shows or dropping off orders to galleries would of been '92 which was 3 weeks of back to back week long trips - Banff, Canada and then Seattle, and then back to Seattle for another week by myself using free flight voucher from being bumped on previous Seattle week.

lhamo
12-6-11, 6:03pm
Since I've been working professionally (not counting grad school, which was kind of different, or maternity leave/FMLA leave I took during my husband's accident and recovery a couple of years ago), I think the longest extended break I have taken was the three weeks we took this past summer. We spent the first 10 days in Hawaii, then the rest of it with my family. It was a great trip.

I'm a program officer for a non-profit and mainly work on educational exchanges. Benefits are pretty good for a US-based organization -- I think they use time off to make up for the generally lower salaries compared to corporate/government jobs (if I was a Foreign Service Officer doing my same job, my salary would be about 50% higher and my overall compensation package would be about 4x what it is). So with my current position level and time at the organization, I accrue about 30 personal leave days a year, and we have about 10 holidays off as well. I can keep up to 35 days of personal leave "banked", though I have never managed to do that -- want to work on building it up slowly so that I have that reserve to draw on when I want/need a longer break. Vacations need to be scheduled around our programming schedule, so I don't have as much flexibility as I would like, but deal with it.

lhamo

redfox
12-6-11, 7:41pm
A year in Guatemala. I was self-employed, my ex had inherited money, and we adopted a child, went to language school, and volunteered at an orphanage. The year was 1985, and it was incredible.

Since then the only significant time off I have had was during unemployment, which sux. I miss the ex's money!

Nella
12-6-11, 10:16pm
1. What was the longest vacation you ever took?
2. What kind of job did you have?
3. What country were you living in at the time?
4. How long ago was the vacation?
1. 4 1/2 months (toured through Europe, and parts of Africa and Asia)
2. Was right after I quit one job and before I started school for another career
3. Lived in the US
4. 2002

Was a life-changing time in my life. Those four months redirected how I've lived the rest of my life.

lizii
12-7-11, 5:49am
4 weeks
legal secretary
sabbatical
Canada
16 years ago

During my first sabbatical I travelled to Europe to tour through Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Italy was by far my favourite country--Venice, Florence, Rome...admiring the art, food, ancient buildings...wonderful!

My second trip was back to Europe again. Third trip was to Spain, Morocco and Portugal. Spain and Morocco were interesting, but I hated Morocco...my first visit to a 3rd world country, seeing the poverty, the way women were treated...

madgeylou
12-7-11, 8:05am
i took a month-long road trip across america with my beau a few summers ago, but i worked a few days a week from the road (i was a one-person department with no backup) so i'm not sure that counts? :)

my job was in magazine publishing (time inc.), and i got 20 vacation days a year -- almost unheard of in the states, but my firm had amazing benefits.

now i'm self-employed, and i take off whenever i want to, providing i have the funds!

lmerullo
12-7-11, 12:02pm
1. 2 weeks
2. Wireless reseller
3. USA
4. 2010


I work for a company in a management position. So many of the things I do are not cross trained to others, sometimes for security and sometimes for accountability. It really stinks! With today's technology, I am able to work remotely - so it's not so bad to take time off. The downside is that even on vacation I remain "connected". We are only allowed to accumulate 100 hours - then it's use it or lose it. I am often having to USE because I am so near the threshold. And, my supervisor does not like me taking time off. I have only used two weeks of time this year, and accumulate almost six weeks. I am very close to taking another few days, whether they want me to or not. Maybe I should be sick???

IshbelRobertson
12-7-11, 12:44pm
I've always been amazed at how un-generous many American companies are with regards to holiday leave, in comparison to Europe, for instance!

Alan
12-7-11, 12:55pm
I've always been amazed at how un-generous many American companies are with regards to holiday leave, in comparison to Europe, for instance!
I guess it depends upon how you look at it. Using the UK as an example, the government mandates a minimum of 20 days vacation. If a company then gives their employees 6 weeks of vacation, they're actually only being generous with two of those weeks.
Here, in the US, the government doesn't yet dictate how much free time a company must provide it's employees. Mine gives me 6 weeks of vacation, which would be 3 times more generous than the UK company allowing that same amount of time.

IshbelRobertson
12-7-11, 2:15pm
That's hardly the point..... 6 weeks is six weeks, and the company PAYS for all six weeks. Many employers offer more than four weeks - and also do not include the Bank Holidays in the total. Many employers close down totally between Christmas and New Year and many people are gifted the additional 3 or more days between the two.

Many American companies seem to give only 2 weeks or so - judging by what I read online.

Heidi
12-7-11, 2:24pm
That's hardly the point..... 6 weeks is six weeks, and the company PAYS for all six weeks. Many employers offer more than four weeks - and also do not include the Bank Holidays in the total. Many employers close down totally between Christmas and New Year and many people are gifted the additional 3 or more days between the two.

Many American companies seem to give only 2 weeks or so - judging by what I read online.
Unfortunately, two weeks is the average. I know people who get one week or NO vacation time at all from their employers. There is no law regulating vacation time. I think a number of holidays have to be given by law. Usually people who agree with the system are well set themselves, as Alan in this case. But you should talk to the people who have to slave away at their jobs without any vacation time and no health benefits! To me this is exploitation of the workforce, and I consider it criminal.

Alan
12-7-11, 2:31pm
That's hardly the point..... 6 weeks is six weeks, and the company PAYS for all six weeks.
Perhaps to some, being forced to provide 4 weeks is just as generous as not being forced, but doing so anyway. I don't see how, but perhaps.

Spartana
12-7-11, 3:00pm
Unfortunately, two weeks is the average.

That does seem the average for most regular full time jobs. But many people start off at just one week/year and have to work up to that 2 or 3 week level over time - often a long time. Not enough time off IMHO. I know having 30 days leave was great while I ws in the service but that was literally 30 days - meaning you had to count your weekend days as well as holidays as part of your leave time since most didn't normally get those days off. So unlike a M-F 9 to 5 person, who's one week vacation started Fri at 5 pm and lasted until over 9 days later at Mon at 9 pm, people in the service had to count those same 9 days off work as 9 days of leave/vacation time rather than 5 days. But still, 30 days off is 30 days off even if you have to count the weekends and holidays as part of the total amount.

ApatheticNoMore
12-7-11, 3:07pm
Current company is 2 weeks and you earn one additional day for each additional year you are with the company. So after 5 years with the company you could work your way up to 3 weeks.

dmc
12-7-11, 4:54pm
Back when I was working I got 4 weeks plus 10 holidays paid. I generally didn't take the 4 weeks off in a row as I didn't want to. And I could accumulate time off so if I didn't use all of them one year, they were still there. And if I wanted to take off December and January, I guess I could.

Everyone got 2 weeks and the 10 holidays the first year. After 5 you got 3 weeks, after 10 you got 4 weeks. Not a union or government job. I was a engineer working for a construction co.

And since I worked in the USA I guess my take home pay was higher, so I quit working at 50 and I have now been on vacation for 4 years. I'll call myself retired when I can start taking SS. If its still there for me.

Gregg
12-7-11, 5:01pm
Call me crazy, but I still think addressing the root cause of our need (perceived or actual) for time off would be more productive than simply escaping. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand wanting to be with family, travel, paternity leave, etc. I just seem to hear a lot of people, in here and elsewhere, saying they need a break to get away from the stress. Guess I'm one of the lucky ones. Spending time with my family can be a lot more stressful than my work! !Splat!

jennipurrr
12-7-11, 5:36pm
I guess I am an outlier...I've never taken more that a week of vacation at one time. I've worked for a corporation and now a Universtiy in the US in a office position.

There are people who take more time at once, so its not discouraged. I just don't think I would want to be away for that long from my doggies or the alternative, schlepping them around with me.

One of the reasons I work where I do it the vacation time. I could make more money elsewhere. We get 4 weeks, then a week in the Spring (Spring break, woo! keeps me young :) ) and almost two weeks at Christmas. I don't feel like I am escaping, but I love to have breaks throughout the year to travel or to stay home and just relax and do my own thing.

cdttmm
12-7-11, 6:45pm
I guess I am an outlier...

Me, too!

1. 8 days to the Cayman Islands
2. Worked for a family business that my partner and his father owned together
3. USA
4. 2004

I don't really enjoy traveling, so I always took time off to just do fun stuff around the house for a few days. I've spent almost my entire adult life working in jobs where I could work from home or in jobs where I worked only part time hours. In my 3 years as a truly corporate employee I racked up 8 weeks of vacation time because I rarely took time off. I was much happier to have the check they cut me when they laid me off. :D

Mighty Frugal
12-7-11, 10:04pm
1. 18 days went to England
2. Work in publishing-pre-press
3. Canada
4. 1998

I get 5 weeks vacation every year plus 11 holiday days PLUS another week (or two) at Christmas. Awesome.

chrisgermany
12-8-11, 4:42am
1. 6 Weeks to Canada, Alaska + Washington/Oregon (gap time between 2 jobs)
2. Legal Counsel
3. Germany
4. 2003

Blackdog Lin
12-10-11, 6:00am
1. 2 weeks
2. Postal worker
3. USA
4. every year

While technically my seniority entitles me to 5 weeks leave annually, realistically I am never able to take it all, as we are eternally short-handed. But contractually my employer is required to allow me 3 weeks a year, and I ALWAYS take one block of 2 weeks off, then at least another block of 1 week, and some years I'm able to schedule a fourth week. I've been employed by the USPS since 1980, so have been taking my 2-week vacations since 1983 or so.

In the early years that annual 2-week vacation was always a trip to Los Angeles to see my Daddy, and let him see his grandson. I used to know I-40 like the back of my hand. After he died in '93 we branched out to trips to Colorado, Utah, Oregon (we always go west, never east.....I wonder why?) And 2 memorable "trips of a lifetime", once to Hawaii and once to the Caribbean. Good times.....

ljevtich
12-12-11, 10:13pm
1. What was the longest vacation you ever took?
2. What kind of job did you have?
3. What country were you living in at the time?
4. How long ago was the vacation?

1. 6 weeks
2. I was self-employed, DH was in corporate work.
3. USA
4. 2006

Now, of course is different, we have off usually 5 months of the year as I work as a seasonal park ranger. But back then, that sabbatical that we took totally changed our outlook and focus on life. We had been reading YMOYL before it, and once we got back (midnight the Sunday night, working the next day!) we decided that we wanted to put the house on the market and have a different, more simple lifestyle.

It was a major hassle to get the six weeks for DH. Even though he had it already saved up, the company had never had anyone take that much time off. (and probably never would again :0! )

Shari
12-13-11, 4:56am
1. 10 days off in a row (counting weekends) and a holiday) when relocating across the country
3. US
4. Over 10 years ago

Weston
12-13-11, 1:28pm
Over in public policy we've been discussing whether Americans and Europeans both take lengthy vacations. Rather than further hijack that thread I'd start a new one to take a survey. 4 questions:

1. What was the longest vacation you ever took?
2. What kind of job did you have?
3. What country were you living in at the time?
4. How long ago was the vacation?





I'll give two different responses. One before I had full time employment and one after.

Before full time employment

1. 3 months
2. I had just graduated college. Had money saved from summer jobs and one year of employment in a textile warehouse between my sophomore and junior years.
3. USA
4. 34 years ago.

Graduated college. 2 friends and I (who also had a little money saved up) got into my car. Pointed it west and kept going until we hit the Pacific. Drove all over the west for 3 months, camping out and living on rice and cheese. My friends remained behind in Oregon. I rolled back into my parents house in NJ with a quarter of a tank of gas left and $17 in my pocket.

After full time employment

1. 2 weeks
2. Lawyer
3. USA
4. 26 years ago

Several months after we were married my wife and I went on an Alaskan cruise and then spent an additional week exploring San Fransisco and Northern California. Figured it was a once in a lifetime trip so we took the kids. (Technically her kids at the time, but I had been raising them since they were 2 and 3). Those kids are now in their early thirties. I still don't think they've figured out that they went along on Mom and Dad's honeymoon and that they didn't really keep losing their cabin key. Mom and Dad kept stealing it from them so they wouldn't walk in on us in the cabin we shared.:laff:

Spartana
12-13-11, 5:32pm
that sabbatical that we took totally changed our outlook and focus on life. We had been reading YMOYL before it, and once we got back (midnight the Sunday night, working the next day!) we decided that we wanted to put the house on the market and have a different, more simple lifestyle.



Yes! That's was my experience too. I realized, after a planned long sabbatical, and finding these (old) SLN boards, YMOYL, et al, that I wanted a different life then the one I had been living. One where I called all the shots, and not one where they were called for me. So I too sold the house and downsized so that I would never have to go back to traditional employment with a 2 or 3 week vacation time a year - which it seemed I had to practically beg for anyways! While a "vacation" for some is just a time away from their jobs to do whatever they want - travel, visit family, de-stress, whatever - for me it was actually just a too-short glimpse into the life I really wanted for longer than a week or 2 a year taken when someone else said I could.

RosieTR
12-18-11, 1:33pm
1. A little over 3 weeks
2. Academic research
3. United States
4. 2004

In that case, we went to Australia after saving our tax refund check for several years. It was great, and I think we could have spent a little longer. DH's boss told him he'd never approve that amount of vacation in a row again after we came back. We spent almost 3 weeks in Honduras in 2001, but in that case we were very ready to come home and it would have been perfect at just over 2 weeks (enough for diving and spending time with family). I keep hoping someday to have a bit of a break between jobs for like a month vacation but so far it hasn't happened that way. It seems like a lot of workplaces are getting even stingier with vacation, or making policies that require "use it or lose it" by the time even 2 weeks is built up. And they wonder why many Americans haven't ever gone out of the country, or have only been to Mexico or Canada.