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Days Off: In Defense Of Taking Your Vacation Time

Petros Karadjias
AP Photo
A father with his son enjoy their snorkeling during their vacations on the island at "Konnos" beach near the southeast famous coastal resort of Ayia Napa, Cyprus, Sunday, May 25, 2014.

This week, KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley offers a small treatise on the value of vacation.

Americans tend to get fewer vacation days than their counterparts in most of the industrialized world. The BBC explored this idea in a recent story about "no vacation vacations," which makes special mention that "the U.S. is the only developed nation that treats paid time off like a perk."

Brumley says that's why it's important to be smart about using the time you do have. Too many people don't use all their vacation time, and some don't use any. Maybe they feel they have to much to do.

And Brumley is among the guilty.

"I'm working pretty much all the time," he said. "Most of the people in the travel industry that I know, who write about sitting in cafes in France and watching the world go by, they're pretty much working all the time."

Then there's the amount of time you take. In many parts of Europe, workers have extended periods of time off. The French, for example, are known for long vacations in August. But that isn't always practical for workers in the United States.

"Even take a Thursday and Friday and head up to the mountains, or go on a bike ride," Brumley said. 

Brumley says time away from work makes you better at work. 


Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KPLU. "Going Places" is our new travel segment exploring all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B. Have a travel hangup or a tip? Let us know in the comments.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.