The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Business

October 30, 2013

Balancing Act: Vacations that restore the worker’s soul

My husband and I differ over what constitutes a vacation these days. For my husband, getting out of town for a few days would be defined as a vacation, an important part of work-life balance. Of course, that doesn’t mean unplugging all together. He still sneaks in brief phone calls to the office, 6 a.m. emails and work-related reading.

For me, those few days away aren’t enough. In this workaholic, multitasking society, I need more than a few days to unwind - and less time in contact with “the real world.”

Of course, I realize my family is fortunate to be able to take a vacation at all. Many Americans - about 23 percent, according to a recent survey by research company Kelton commissioned by SpringHill Suites - don’t get paid time off, and some don’t have the money to get away. But the economic worries that led American workers to limit themselves to drive-by vacations for the past several summers seem to have lifted. Fortunately, this summer, the two-week vacation seemed to make a comeback, even among overachieving professionals.

Mostly, it’s because people have figured out ways to integrate work and travel to make for a better return.

Travel agents, hoteliers and rental-property owners report a trend toward longer, farther trips through the end of the year, according to TravelMarketReport.com and AAA. The trend is buoyed by more hotels offering Wi-Fi, as well as mobile devices that have the same functionality as desktop PCs. A new TeamViewer survey found about 70 percent of employed vacationers bring work-capable devices with them.

“You have to weigh the ability to disengage fully with how much pain there is in the return,“ said Michael Crom, executive vice president of Dale Carnegie Training, who had recently returned from a two-week road trip from New York to North Florida. “People are coming to the decision that they need a mental break, but they don’t want to come back to thousands of emails.“

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