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Indians Are Terribly Vacation Deprived, Even When Science Claims Its Necessary For Productivity

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In 2016, Expedia released a Vacation Deprivation Report. This survey is conducted every year across several countries to get a better understanding of how working people around the world prioritise travelling in their lives.

According the final report submitted on December 13, 2016, India ranked as the 4th most vacation deprived country in the world.

The statistical findings further corroborate this report. According to the survey, 63% Indians take fewer vacation days than they are offered and around 40% don't use their vacation days as their work schedule is too hectic to incorporate time for travel. The reasons for this behaviour vary from affordability to the fear of missing out on important decisions at work. Many working Indians even feel that travelling is a luxury and not a necessity.

The countries that beat India to taking even fewer vacation days are Spain (68%), UAE (68%), Malaysia (67%) and South Korea (64%).

The Marketing Head of Expedia, Manmeet Ahluwalia, who spear-headed this survey said,"Vacations play a critical role in creating work-life balance as it re-energises people to be more focused at work."

Why don't Indians travel?

The report disclosed few more key factors behind Indians not taking vacations; 27% Indians could not go on a vacation as they found it difficult to coordinate time with spouse and family and 32% felt that their personal commitments did not allow them room for travel.

The fear of missing out on important workplace decisions was the reason why 21% did not go on a vacation and the same number also felt that not taking leaves reflects positively on colleagues and employers.

Photos of Indians Are Terribly Vacation Deprived, Even When Science Claims Its Necessary For Productivity 2/4 by Sreshti Verma
From my trip to Parvati Valley last year. (c) Akhil Verma

Other than these practical and personal reasons that stopped Indians from travelling, it was also noted that when Indians do travel, they love it!

A whopping 96% Indians revealed that they feel happier after a vacation. Around 94% Indians noted an increased intimacy towards their partner and family member after taking a vacation and 95% even feel better in health.

Breaks = Productivity

John P. Trougakos, an assistant management professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Rotman School of Management, perfectly explains the reason why taking regular breaks and vacations is directly linked to productivity.

"Mental concentration is similar to a muscle, It becomes fatigued after sustained use and needs a rest period before it can recover, he explains — much as a weight lifter needs rest before doing a second round of repetitions at the gym."

Photos of Indians Are Terribly Vacation Deprived, Even When Science Claims Its Necessary For Productivity 3/4 by Sreshti Verma
Wouldn't you want to escape to a place like this? (c) Akhil Verma

But instead of waiting for a complete burnout to travel, one needs to keep refreshing the mind for its better use. Professor Trougakos says that people should "try to take a break before reaching the absolute bottom of you mental barrel. Symptoms of needing time to recharge include drifting and daydreaming."

The need to get moving after long hours of work seems to be natural and organic, but the desire to leave the city and travel after weeks of labour still doesn't seem essential to many Indians. Several reports by psychologists from around the globe have been working towards spreading awareness about one of the most basic aspect of living, that is, taking a break!

Primary care physician Natasha Withers from One Medical Group in New York told ABC News that decreased risk of heart diseases and better reaction time are one of the few benefits of taking some time off. Seconding her, Francine Lederer, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles who specialises in stress and relationship management, said that,

"The impact that taking a vacation has on one's mental health is profound, most people have better life perspective and are more motivated to achieve their goals after a vacation, even if it is a 24-hour time-out."

Despite evidence supporting the need to travel, Indians have a hard time even fully utilising their day-offs. Their preference for impressing employers and indecision towards planning vacations is alarming, because it would be very unfortunate if 10 years later we become home to a massive burnt-out generation.

Photos of Indians Are Terribly Vacation Deprived, Even When Science Claims Its Necessary For Productivity 4/4 by Sreshti Verma
Disha Kapkoti on one of her travels. (c) Trisha Singh

Disha Kapkoti eloquently writes in her reflective piece that urges young Indians to travel,

"It is often said that if you're one in a million in India, then there are 1241 Indians exactly like you. Is that why most of us are working harder than we want – due to a competitive environment? An increasing number of young Indians working in corporate firms are succumbing to stress, anxiety and health disorders and the stats are alarming and here's why it's time for you to slow down and travel."

Now don't go hunting all over the internet to plan your next vacation. Start here, You've Got 14 Long Weekends In 2017, And We've Planned The Perfect Getaway For Each, by picking the most suitable long weekend. You won't even have to take any days off, in this case. All you need to do then is to pick an amazing destination that fits with your chosen long weekend.

Once you are back, how about you take a little time to share pictures, videos and reviews of your recent trip. 

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