It’s already October, and this is the first time this year I’m taking time off work for any significant period — meaning more than a week. I’ll also be spending most of this time at home.
Of course the fault is entirely my own. I am not under the same sort of pressure that US workers face when planning their vacations.
According to a careerbuilder.com report, 38% of American workers said they were planning on taking a so-called ”staycation” or choosing to spend their vacation time at home. …
Last year, only 65% of workers took a vacation, compared with 81% of managers and 80% of workers in 2007, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. Trips are a short 4.3 days on average.
It is unfortunate that the abbreviated stay-at-home break from work may become the new normal in the UK also:
Millions of Britons have decided to stay at home for the holidays waiting for the recession to be over. During the credit crisis, significantly more people were reported to be taking “staycations” – for example, in 2011 there were 5% more British people taking their holidays in the UK than in the previous year. The upward trend continues in 2012.
A trend that will only be reinforced by rising transportation costs, higher energy prices, and food inflation. Furthermore, there is an entire generation locked out from the first time buyer market who can barely afford rent on their primary home that some are forced to move back in with their parents — the boomerang generation. Renting a vacation property, even for a very short period, seems difficult to justify were it not for the cultural pressure to take at least one vacation annually. However, the Great Summer Vacation was only a recent development in the history of the modern middle class workforce, and I am no stranger to the irrational urges of other deeply ingrained social pressures — coupling up, marriage, and raising children.
We can see how well integrated the notion of vacation travel has become with those mainstream life goals when trying to book a trip as a single person. Quickly one runs into the problem of the single supplement
For all those who prefer to travel alone, or have little choice but to do so, they seem like an unfair imposition, sharply increasing the cost of holidays and rooms. …
They argue that they have to charge extra because singles are a less attractive commercial proposition for them. The fixed costs of running a room – cleaning and servicing, linen, heating and so on – are the same no matter how many people occupy it. And single travellers spend less money in the restaurant and bar than couples.
With the cost of room booking making up a significant proportion of the vacation budget, a single person is forces to take cheaper vacations, shorter in duration, and less frequently. It is already more difficult for single adults to overcome a reluctance to travel alone, especially for women.
“Generally, single women have never felt as free to travel alone as single men, due to the personal safety risks involved for them,” explains Kayte Williams, holidays manager at travelsupermarket.com.
“Even if a woman can get beyond the fear and stigma of holidaying alone, she can also face paying hefty single person supplements which creates another reason to stay at home.”
To address these concerns, there are a growing number of websites specially catering for solo travel, some catering specifically for single women. However, single men should be wary of the gender-specific stereotyping that often lies behind the travel itinerary. I’ve confirmed this for myself when Googling holidays for single men — one finds dating tours that assume single people are only interested in hooking up. If you’re a single man organizing a vacation for yourself, you are probably on your own. Ultimately I find myself much in agreement with Charlie Brooker regarding taking leave from work by staying home.
I’m useless at every single aspect of holidays. Timing them for one thing. I tend to exist in a permanent workbubble, fighting off deadlines with my bare fists. Then, when there’s an eventual lull, I think, “Wow, I really need a holiday”, but by then it’s too late. What’s more, I’m single. How, as a tragic singleton, are you meant to go on holiday anyway? I know from experience what couples do on holiday: they argue. But I’m not a couple. Who am I supposed to slowly fall out of love with? I can’t slowly poison my relationship with myself. Or can I?
a small caveat. “Just don’t go for more than a week, because you end up talking to yourself.”
“Well, it’s the evenings, you see. It’s fine during the day, because you can just lie on the beach or walk round museums with an iPod on, but in the evenings there’s not much you can do except eat alone in restaurants or sit alone in bars. If you’re a woman it’s not so bad, because you get chatted up now and then, which can be amusing, but you’re not a woman so you’ll probably have to sit there reading a book or something. And eventually you’ll get so lonely you’ll start talking to yourself. I went for a week and started talking to myself on the last day. Go for a fortnight and you’ll totally lose your mind somewhere around day 10.”
Yup, that is me in a nutshell. One must now work so hard to earn enough money to spend on a vacation, that the expectations can easily be unrealistically inflated. And much like marriage and parenthood, the reality often doesn’t meet expectation.