SURVEY SAYS: Have You Had a Summer Vacation?

August 19, 2010 ( - We’re just a couple of weeks away from Labor Day, and the traditional “end” of summer vacation season. 

Now, based on the out-of-office notifications, a lot of folks are still trying to squeeze some in, but this week I asked readers if they had been able to take any time off this summer, if it was at the time they planned to, and if they spent that time the way they planned/hoped.    

Despite the aforementioned out-of-office notifications, most of this week’s respondents (74%) said they had taken time off this summer, while another 13% said they hadn’t yet, but planned to.  Six percent said they hadn’t taken time off, 5% said they hadn’t, but hadn’t planned to, and the remaining 2% had taken time off, but hadn’t planned to. 


Among those who took some time, just over half (51.6%) took it when they had planned, though roughly half as many (25.3%) said that while they had taken the time when planned, they hadn’t taken as much time as they had planned.  One in ten said they hadn’t taken that time off yet, one-in-twenty said they hadn’t taken the time when they planned, and the rest hadn’t taken time off. 


As for how that time was spent, just over half (54.1%) said they were able to spend it the way they had planned, and another 21.2% said they were able to spend the time “pretty much” the way they had wanted.  Just over one-in-ten conditioned that response as “sort of”, while 14% said they hadn’t been able to. 

Now, this week’s verbatims were full of interesting insights, comments, and ideas for a little time off (summer or otherwise) – but here were my favorites: 


I had a kidney stone this summer.  I hate to admit it, but I sort of enjoyed it despite the pain.  I got to take some time off from work and personal obligations without feeling guilty. 


They still have those? 


Ah, summer vacations - those magical days when we escape from the office only to return to the chaos that ensued while we were gone.  That is, if we were even smart enough to resist checking e-mail while we were out! 


But this week’s Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who noted, "My summer vacation was spent doing an acquisition, changing payroll providers, and updating our policies and procedures.  Can't wait for next year's!!” 


Thanks to everyone who participated in our survey!  And enjoy the expanded verbatim sampling on the pages that follow! 

My husband and I purchased a timeshare on our honeymoon, and it was the best purchase we ever made.  Because we now live in the state, that's where we put up my husband's various family members when they come to visit.  It's a win-win! 

Stayed home and worked around the house. 

I don't want to be around screaming children 

I know people who won't take more than one week off because they say coming back to their overflowing e-mails and work is too vile.  And they don't trust anyone to cover for them for a longer period of time.  I say, "Hogwash!"  I take the time--and deal with it later. It's better than NOT taking time! 

My husband and I decided to forgo the summer vacation for a fall one...we don't have kids (yet) so if at all possible I like to avoid everyone else's! 

Took a mini staycation, enjoying time at home, and exploring the surrounding area.  It was quite relaxing. 

No extended time off this summer just some longer weekends. But even then, though my body was elsewhere my mind was still around the office. Sheesh, I'm beginning to truly understand what Satchel Paige meant. (For those under age 55, Satchel Paige was an aged major league pitcher who is credited with coining the phrase "Never look back, you might not want to see who's gaining on you".) 

I typically take most Fridays off in summer so we can get in a 3-day camping trip but between family issues and camper issues I spent a lot of Fridays cleaning house which is NOT my idea of a vacation day! 

I always make a point to take time off during the summer.  This is the only time of the year when we can all get away. 

I'll be taking the Friday before Labor Day (my birthday's on Saturday); and it's a present to myself.  I plan on doing absolutely NOTHING but relaxing - the cell will be OFF, the doors locked, and no un- expected or invited guests on the roster!  And, I'm not cooking, so take-out is the venue for the long holiday weekend.  Strictly TIME FOR ME only . . .  as it should be; well earned and deserved. 

We took a one week vacation to beautiful (then) Orange Beach, AL.  We found a great deal on a wonderful condo and booked it in June.  Then the oil spill happened, but our owner was gracious enough to allow us to cancel up to the day of our arrival.  The oil hadn't showed up at Orange Beach by the time we got there, so we had a WONDERFUL week when hardly anyone else was there (most school had not let out, but ours had...the week before Memorial Day).  My mother was able to join us and spend the week with her only grandsons, and we all enjoyed a relaxing peaceful visit, and I didn't check e-mail once. 


It was the first time we'd been away a WHOLE week in about  years.  We've taken 4 and 5 day trips, but never a whole week.  We hope to make this an annual event, but we'll have to see.  We really lucked on a good deal on this condo and I don't know if we'll get it again. 

Trying to schedule meetings, both internal and external has been rather difficult due to vacation schedules. I also sometimes feel like it is not worth taking time off since I only have to work extra hours before and after vacation to make up for it. 

Can't afford a vacation.  Maybe next year. 

We rent a house on a lake every summer, and we book it a year in advance.  This year I got a new job and started the week before my vacation at the lake.  So I worked a week, got a week's vacation, then went back to work.  It was like restarting the job twice. 

I had a kidney stone this summer.  I hate to admit it, but I sort of enjoyed it despite the pain.  I got to take some time off from work and personal obligations without feeling guilty. 

Our company requires all employees to take 5 consecutive business days off during which we cannot access our computers and should not call to check voice mail.  This requirement provided a great reason to spend a week at a lake house with family and friends. 

My summer vacation was spent doing an acquisition, changing payroll providers, and updating our policies and procedures.  Can't wait for next year's!! 

Took the one week I had planned, but didn't get in any other time off.  I was hoping to take a couple of long weekends.  That just didn't happen. 

Living in Minnesota means it's important to go somewhere warm in the winter and, then, there's no vacation time left to get away during the summer when our weather is good!  It's a crazy way to live and can only be remedied by retiring!!!!!!! 

I usually avoid taking my vacation in the "summer". I prefer to take them in September or October when the kiddies are back in school, travel is less expensive, and the weather is not so miserably hot. New England is beautiful in the fall. 

For the first time after 30 years, just my spouse and I were able to actually take a week-long vacation alone.  And I turned off the BB.  If the office had a REAL emergency they could call...they didn't.  It was wonderful!  I wish we could have done it before. 

I spent my week off moving. While I'm happy to be in a new home and was glad to have the time to get settled, it wasn't my ideal vacation. 

Since I don't have any children's schedules I have to work around, I usually try to plan my vacations for the spring or fall. There are fewer people vacationing at that time and you can get better deals. 

There appears to be no good time to take a week off anymore....time of year doesn't matter. I check voice mail and email, though my extended absence greetings say I won't.  But it IS true that the business survives without us ! 

I think only kids experience the joys of summer vacation and unfortunately they're too young to appreciate it.   I guess that's why they say youth is wasted on the young.  🙂 

They still have those? 

Each member of my immediate team and extended team has taken time off, which meant I had to deal with extra work.  We're making significant changes to our welfare plan for 2011 and I'm respoonsible for leading those changes.  I was afraid and still am to take off any significant amount of time for fear of the transitions failing.  What a drag. 

I have taken 3 vacations already this year and have 3 more by the end of the year.  I'm doing what I can to help the economy.  Only one vacation was taken in summertime--I believe in vacationing throughout the year. 

We just took  3 days off for a short vacation/family reunion.  I've taken the rest of my vacation a day here or there.  Have one week left, which I'm required to take all at one time.  I'm planning on taking it over winter vacation when kids are home from school. 

We escaped the Nebraska heat for 9 days in New England. 

I used a one week vacation to move to a new home , so it was not a fun filled vacation.  I have spent the remaining part of summer trying to squeeze in a day here and there between other people's vacations.  Perhaps fall will allow for a fun vacation. 

Planning ahead makes it work. 

I didn't get to take the time off I had hoped for because of work load but hope to fix it in October by getting some time off for a week.  Otherwise I've just been able to grab a day here and there to keep from losing vacation time as I am maxed out. 

I don't like summer and usually I don't take vacation in the summer.  Also, I have no children and I defer time off in the summer to my colleagues that do have school age children.  This summer I had surgery and I took 5 days of vacation for post-op rest and recovery.  (It was my choice to use vacation time as opposed to sick time.) 

A friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to go to the PGA Championship so I took a day for that. The golf was fantastic. I took another couple days to go to the last of my wife's chemo sessions. Plan on taking some time in the fall when she is feeling better. 

Bahamas! Here's to hoping no rapidly developing hurricanes ruin my fun next week 🙂  

(However, my favorite day off in the summer is one I never have to take birthday aka July 4th!  Hoorah for federal holidays...especially when the 4th falls on a weekend!) 

Wedding planning is getting in the way of a real summer vacation.  It will be worth it but this summer has been sucked up. 

I'd rather take my "summer" vacation in the fall as it's usually less crowded and more moderate weather. 

Am taking off the week of Labor Day and then will go on FMLA a few weeks later when my baby is born. 

Went to D.C.  I recommend a visit there every few years -- great (and changing/evolving attractions) -- many of which are free.  Plus a learning experience -- who remembers everything that they learned in American History way back when! 


American business culture has changed significantly over time.  As a manager, I've had two rules - be honest and take all of your vacation time. 


People (especially bosses) now think everyone has to be "connected 24/7" - the result is that most are actually disconnected most of the time. 



Can't wait for my vacation -- we leave on Sunday for an Alaskan cruise. 

I took a long weekend to go the beach and it was wonderful. 

Ah, summer vacations - those magical days when we escape from the office only to return to the chaos that ensued while we were gone.  That is, if we were even smart enough to resist checking e-mail while we were out! 

I was able to plan two vacations this summer and take both on the days I wanted. I also managed to take 5 Fridays off to give me 3 day weekends. (It's been a slow summer). Weather has been awesome!  

Best tan in years! 

This summer my "vacation" has been limited to making trips to the city where my daughter will be attending college.  I get to take two more days off this week to finish the packing and loading for move in on Sunday.  Well worth the time and effort but what I really crave is a couple of days at the beach or in the mountains with nothing we "have" to do. Oh well, maybe a fall getaway is in order. 

Being "empty nesters" my husband and I can now take vacations outside of the traditional summer months.  We went away the beginning of May for our anniversary and are going on our "summer" vacation in early September. 

My husband's a teacher so I always try to take some time off in the summer and this year we spent our 25th wedding anniversary in Vancouver, Canada.  It was wonderful and we enjoyed perfect temperatures (upper 70's) while those back home in Colorado were suffering a heat wave (upper 90's).  And, I checked work e-mail just a couple of times during the week! 


I don't take summer vacations.  I save my days for winter so I can go places that are warmer than here.  I took off only one day this summer, for my annual fishing day with the guys, but that was it. 

Took the family on vacation to Cleveland, Ohio.  Spent one day at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, another day at the Cleveland Zoo, and also visited the house from the movie 'A Christmas Story'.  Our young boys had a great time; I never envisioned Cleveland to be so family-friendly. 

My first full week off since my 3-year old was born starts in 2 days, 2 hours and 6 minutes!!! 

I spent 2 weeks in Zimbabwe, Africa, on a mission trip with my church at my expense.  I very humbling experience to say the least. 

I would have taken more time this summer but need to save time for long weekends out of the office and have something to look forward to through year end until January when my vacation time renews itself back to double digits.