New research from the fourth annual 2018 Alamo Rent A Car Family Vacation Survey shows significantly fewer workers prefer to completely unplug from work while on a family vacation.
Roughly one-third (37%) of Americans report unplugging from work completely while taking time off, a significant drop from 53% in the 2017 Alamo Family Vacation Survey. More than half (59%) say they put pressure on themselves to work during family vacations, with 57% saying they do so to avoid coming back to a mountain of work.
But work isn’t the only vacation distraction—social media is also to blame. Thirty-seven percent of social media users admit they use social media while on family vacations the same or more than usual, and 16% even admit they could never unplug from social media during a family vacation. Nearly one in four people (23%) say that they’ve seen social media ruin a family vacation. Overall, more than two out of five people (43%) say they wish they could take a vacation from social media.
This social media distraction takes its biggest toll on Millennials. While 36% of Millennials have seen social media ruin a family vacation, 22% say they could never unplug from social media while on vacation. One-third of Millennials feel pressured to post photos on social media to show they’re having a good time, with 26% confessing they grow concerned when their social media followers don’t like or comment on their family vacation posts. In light of its impact on vacationing Millennials, it is perhaps not surprising that 53% actually wish they could take a vacation from social media.
The research also indicates that social media has an impact on where people go and what they do on vacation. For approximately two in five U.S. families (39%), photos they’ve seen on social media have influenced their vacation plans. This number skyrockets for Millennials, with 60% admitting that they’ve decided where to go or what to do on vacation based on social media posts. But others’ photos are only one way people choose their destination—more than one-third of Millennials (34%) and 19% of men say they’ve decided where to go or what to do on vacation based on how good their photos would look on social media.
The survey also revealed that many travelers feel pressure to post updates to social media while on vacation. Of U.S. families, 20% say they sometimes feel pressured to post photos of their vacation on social media to show they’re having a good time, and more than one-fourth (27%) admit they post their vacation photos on social media simply to show off the places they visited and the things they saw or did. Parents are more likely (25%) to admit they’ve felt pressured to post, in addition to men (23%).
“Our research shows that the majority of U.S. families believe the biggest benefit of taking a family vacation is spending time together,” says Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for Alamo Rent A Car. “But many people aren’t taking full advantage of their relaxation and quality time together on vacation because they’re distracted by work and, more recently, by social media.”