Stat: 59 Percent of Millennials Feel "Vacation Shame"

Travel agents take heed: "vacation shaming" is on the rise, particularly among Millennial travelers, and it could be leading to clients not taking their full time off, according to new research from Alamo Rent A Car. Findings from the 2016 Alamo Family Vacation Survey show more employed Millennials (59 percent) reported feeling a sense of shame for taking or planning a vacation compared to those 35 or older (41 percent).


The survey was conducted from January 5 - 15, 2016, with 1,500 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, have 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 data is reflective to the adult population based on U.S. Census data.

Millennials are also significantly more likely than older generations to say they also shame their co-workers (42 percent vs. 24 percent). Plus, Millennials who have ever shamed their co-workers were significantly more likely than older generations to say they’re at least somewhat serious (42 percent vs. 22 percent).

While Millennials were most likely to feel guilty about taking time off, Alamo’s research indicates that vacation shaming is affecting all generations of travel clients. Nearly half (47 percent) of all workers surveyed said they felt a sense of shame or guilt at their workplace for taking time off to go on a vacation. What’s more, two-fifths (42 percent) of those think their co-workers are seriously shaming them – not just joking. And nearly half (47 percent) said they’ve felt the need to justify to their employer why they’re using their vacation days.

Twenty-two percent of those employed individuals surveyed reported that feeling shame was at least somewhat likely to keep them from going on or planning a vacation.

Work-Related Family Travel Trends

Compared to the 2015 Alamo Family Vacation Survey, the 2016 survey showed a larger proportion of adults received paid vacation as part of their job benefits (56 percent vs. 52 percent, respectively). However, 41 percent of respondents who received paid vacation are still leaving some of these days on the table. 

Of those who reported having unused paid vacation days, two-fifths (40 percent) said they left five or more vacation days unused in 2015. The top two reasons people gave for not using all of their paid vacation were a desire to roll over their days to take a longer vacation the following year and the fact that they are simply too busy at work to take time off. Compared to the 2015 survey, this year, significantly fewer adults reported never working on vacation (44 percent vs. 48 percent), indicating a rise in Americans being unable to unplug during their family vacations.

In both the 2015 and 2016 surveys, spending quality time together remained the most important benefit of traveling as a family (43 percent and 48 percent, respectively). The most frequently cited benefit from respondents’ last family vacation in both the 2015 and 2016 surveys was spending quality time with a spouse or partner.

Additionally, adults appear more likely now than a year ago to go on vacations with extended family (73 percent in the 2016 survey compared to 67 percent in the 2015 survey). Out of a list of 21 items, the most popular opportunities people said they wanted their vacations to provide were to spend quality time with loved ones, get a break from their routine, rest and relax, bond/reconnect with family and see family or friends.

Ninety-three percent of parents reported allowing their kids to use electronics on vacation at least once in a while. Compared to the 2015 survey, more parents said they let their children use electronics on vacation most of the time (26 percent vs. 21 percent). Still, seven percent of parents report they do not let their children use electronics at all while on vacation.

Source: Alamo Rent a Car