This is not really news, but it's an apt time of year to say it: Americans, we suck at vacations.

A lot of us don't even use the vacation time we've accrued at work. If we do, there's as good a chance as not that we won't go anywhere. We are, of course, the culture that spawned the word, "staycaton."


And even if we do set aside the time and actually get away, a new survey says we're just as likely to spend a significant amount of time glued to our phones, and checking tabs on our jobs back at home.

I can't really blame us. We have one of the lowest rates of unemployment in history, coupled with some of the highest anxiety we've ever seen. We become workaholics not by choice so much as by habit.

And we live in a society that ultimately determines our value by how much value we contribute. And we even shame our fellow workers who actually take time off.

The thing is, nobody can keep this up forever. And that's the entire point of a vacation to begin with.

So my fellow vacation-deprived Americans, I encourage you to buck the trends.

The survey about vacation attitudes from Alamo Rent A Car--I guess they're into this because lots of people rent cars on vacations--says a majority of Americans simply can't disconnect when we're supposed to be disconnecting.

  • 59 percent of workers "say they put pressure on themselves to work during family vacations; most (57 percent) say they do this because they don't want to come back to a mountain of work."
  • Half of workers say they feel guilty about taking vacations because coworkers have to fill in for them--regardless of whether the coworkers actually express any animosity.
  • And a small, shrinking percentage of Americans say therefore that they're able to "completely unplug' from work while they're vacationing: only 37 percent in 2018, down from 53 percent the year before.

There's a lot of interesting other data in this survey, including that more families ranked "exploring new destinations together" this year as the most important vacation goal, while about 14 percent fewer people this year than last said they thought "spending quality time together" was most important.

One clue as to why: the huge swath of people (roughly 37 percent) who said they can't imagine paring down their use of social media during vacations.

My friends, we need to find a way to cut things off. Even for just a few days, if that's all that's practical.

Otherwise, you wind up being part of perhaps the most striking statistic in the survey: the vast majority of families interviewed (85 percent) who said they feel like they need time to "recover" after taking a vacation.