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November 30, 2011 09:50 ET

British Columbians Can't Let Go of Work Even When on Vacation

More than anywhere else in Canada, we check office email or voicemail when taking a holiday, Expedia.ca's latest Vacation Deprivation™ survey finds

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 30, 2011) -

Attention: Business, Travel, and Lifestyle Editors

Picture it: you're on vacation, taking a well-deserved rest. But be honest: do you still see your smartphone or laptop in the picture, close at hand?

If you answered yes, you're not alone: Most British Columbian workers (68 per cent) say they at least sometimes check in with the office by email or voicemail when they're on holidays - more than Canadians from any other province or region - according to the 2011 Vacation Deprivation® survey, conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.ca.

The study is an annual analysis of vacation habits across multiple countries and continents. Twenty countries are represented in the 2011 study, spanning North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Australia.

"This year's survey has highlighted the continuing trend of workers struggling to 'power off' from work and instead focus on enjoying their vacation," said Sean Shannon, Managing Director, Expedia Canada. "It seems that for a sizeable number of British Columbians, it's hard to not use technology like smartphones on vacation to ensure projects are running smoothly back at the office, but we shouldn't underestimate the benefits of a vacation on our physical and mental well-being - both at home and at work."

British Columbians Not Longer Giving up Vacation Days

On average, B.C. residents reported receiving approximately 15 vacation days this year and the average B.C. resident noted taking all time allotted. This was a notable improvement over 2010 data, which indicated that British Columbians only took 14 of a reported average of 15 vacation days.

Canadians generally take most of the vacation time they are allotted by their employers, with most of us using 15 of the average total of 16 days. Multiplied by the size of our workforce, that time not taken translates into approximately 17 million(1) unused days overall in Canada.

The survey also revealed that the number of unused vacation days vary depending on geography. While Alberta ranks first in the number of unused vacation days at five, Atlantic Canada follows suit with residents leaving four of their 20 vacation days unused. Quebec closes out the top three with an average of three untaken days out of their allotted 20. On the flip side, Ontarians and British Columbians both receive and take their 15 vacation days, a trend similar to those in the Prairies, who reported taking all 20 of their allotted vacation days.

What's Keeping British Columbians from Going on Vacation?

So why work when there's vacation time in the bank? Being unable to afford to take the time off was the number one reason cited by more than one third (34 per cent) of British Columbians - far higher than anywhere else in Canada (the national average was 26 per cent).

Thirty-nine per cent of B.C. residents reported having had vacations postponed or cancelled because of work-related reasons, which is in line with the national average of 38 per cent.

"British Columbians should never let time or money get in the way of a much-needed vacation. Would-be travellers should plan their vacation as far in advance as possible as the best rates are most often found 60 days out from the departure date; not to mention, it gives employers enough advance notice to plan ahead," said Shannon. "Vacation costs could also be reduced if travellers bundle flight and hotel together, which saves the average Expedia.ca customer more than $300 per trip on some of the best deals already available to our customers."

The 2011 Vacation Deprivation study was commissioned by Expedia and conducted by Harris Interactive. More details on the survey results can be found at www.expedia.ca/vacationdeprivation2011.

Vacation Deprivation in Canada - More Regional Revelations:

Where?

  • The beach rules! A relaxing beach vacation is the number one choice of Canadians in every province - and the most popular among British Columbians at 38 per cent.
  • However, outdoorsy, exercise-oriented vacations were the strong second choice (18 per cent) - and for the same percentage of B.C. residents as well.

With whom?

  • Travelling with the immediate family (including the kids) is far and away most popular choice of B.C. residents, with 48 per cent having had a full family vacation in the last year.
  • 42 per cent of British Columbians vacation most often with their spouse or partner.
  • Nationally, Canadians vacation most often with whole family, including the kids (47 per cent) while getting away with just your spouse or partner was the second most popular choice (42 per cent).
  • Atlantic Canadians led the regions with 52 per cent taking a vacation just for two in the past year.

When?

  • Like most Canadians, British Columbians prefer summer vacations (40 per cent), with 31 per cent saying they prefer taking a break in the winter.
  • Summer vacations are the top choice in most parts of the country (42 per cent is the national average); but a majority of Prairie residents and Albertans prefer a winter break.

Big break? Or shorter getaways?

  • 34 percent of British Columbians prefer a mix of one long break and several shorter ones - compared to 36 per cent for Canadians overall.
  • Quebecers prefer taking longer vacations, with 40 per cent saying they like one or two extended holidays per year (compared to the national average of 27 per cent preferring to use their vacation time this way).

Expedia.ca's Tips for the Vacation Deprived

With 2011 coming to an end and those vacation audits due, start planning ahead for 2012 with vacation planning tips from Expedia.ca:

Think about your vacation as a well-earned part of your career, not a professional luxury. Team up with others in your workplace to promote the benefits of taking time off to ensure wide-spread support for when people do go on vacation.

Advance holiday planning not only helps secure the best possible deal, but it also gets people ready for your eventual departure. Leaving detailed notes about work in progress and assigning a designated replacement in your absence helps ensures vacations remain work-free.

If you do feel the need to check in with work, set limits on yourself and your colleagues. Let people know you won't be 'on-call' or in touch frequently and set aside the minimum amount of time needed to check in. Don't break your own rules and resist the temptation to follow-up with the office throughout your vacation.

Promotions can mean huge savings. Expedia.ca's annual Escape Winter promotion, which launches this month, offers discounts on package vacations to several southern destinations all backed by the Escape Winter Best Price Guarantee. For those who like to take advantage of daily online deals, Expedia.ca has teamed with Groupon to deliver deals that offer more than 50 per cent off hotels, flights and cars, all redeemable whenever you are ready to take your hard earned vacation days.

Lastly, for those looking to take any unused vacation, Expedia.ca's latest Facebook contest will send one winner and a guest to sunny Puerto Vallarta for five days at the Marival Residences & World Spa All Inclusive Resort in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. More information is available at www.facebook.com/expediaCA.

About Expedia Inc.

Expedia, Inc. operates Canada's most visited full-service online travel service, Expedia.ca. To help Canadians plan and purchase travel, Expedia, Inc. provides the best combination of scheduled and charter flights, car and hotel reservations, vacation packages, destination activities, cruises, trip insurance and traveller-authored content. Expedia customers are supported by customer support agents available 24 hours a day, seven days a week via a toll-free number and email response.

Expedia and Vacation Deprivation are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners. © 2011 Expedia, Inc. All rights reserved. CST: 2029030-50

Methodology Statement

This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.com from September 19-October 9, 2011 among 7,803 employed adults 18 and older in the following countries: The United States (520), Canada (1080), Mexico (411), Argentina (301), Brazil (308), United Kingdom (440), Germany (402), France (409), Italy (400), Spain (428), Norway (300), Sweden (300), Denmark (301), Ireland (301), Netherlands (300), Japan (300), India (302), South Korea (300), Singapore (300) and Australia (400). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Emily Vear at Veritas Communications.


(1) Statistics Canada - Labour Force Survey 2011

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