Vacations are stressful.
That's probably why few people take them.
As I write this I'm scrambling to get out of work at a decent hour to start my three-day vacation. It's a mini-vacation but even at that, planning has been a bear.
By the time this column is printed in the newspaper my vacation will be over, and sadly, probably long forgotten. But how hard I've worked for those few days off.
In addition to making sure my responsibilities at the office are in line while I'm gone I also already lined up what I plan on doing work-wise when I return.
My computer has been on the fritz so I made it an appointment with the computer doctor at the office. I also had to be sure to turn in my hours and gas mileage statements before the normal deadline. These points don't even cover my personal life and making sure my plants at home don't die while I'm gone, heaven forbid!
I've also had the trying task of scheduling a flight, which is something I have only done one other time in my life, mind you. I made lists and re-made lists of what I am supposed to pack for this trip and I will check them at least twice because that is what we are all taught Santa Claus does.
With all the preparation that goes into even the shortest of vacations it's a wonder anyone takes one anymore. And statistics about the American vacation aren't very promising either.
The average American takes 14 days off each year, according to a 2006 report by ABC News. This pales in comparison to our European counterparts. On average the British take off 24 days a year and the French 39 days, according to their report.
It makes me wonder what life and work would be like if as a whole Americans just decided to take it easy. I bet there would be a lot less inter-office conflict, less stress and a lot more people who love their jobs.
I even debated taking a vacation from my vacation. That's not all that unheard of because of the stress of planning involved. Sometimes it's necessary to have a day off after a vacation to get prepared to re-enter the workplace.
I voted against that idea, instead going back to work the day after I get back from my trip. If anyone sees me today and I look grumpy, I probably have jet lag.
Just don't take it personally. Blame it on Americans.
But don't blame it on the French. I think they've got this all figured out.
According to Travelocity.com, a travel booking Web site, there are still some people getting away from it all.
Their top choices, and maybe inspiration for everyone:
1) Las Vegas
2) Mountain destinations
4) The Caribbean
5) New York City Area