Beverly Beuermann-King, CSP, Resiliency specialist, notes how it’s hard to get away from work in this Global News piece

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4 tips for vacation-deprived Canadians to maximize time off work

This piece originally appeared on Global News October 19, 2016. Let’s face it, this is relevant advice anytime of the year!

A new Expedia.ca survey shows more than half of Canadians think they’re lacking vacations. Expedia.ca’s annual vacation deprivation survey shared some insight in the 2016 working world through the perspective of employees. Global’s Zahra Premji reports.

Over half of Canadians consider themselves to be “vacation-deprived,” a new travel report reveals.

An Expedia Canada (a.k.a. Expedia.ca) survey released Wednesday found 62 per cent of 1,006 respondents feel they deserve more vacation days — 11.5, to be exact — than their average 17.3 days.

(Side note: Who are these 38 per cent seemingly satisfied with the time off they get? Who doesn’t want more vacation time?)

Regardless of how much vacation time you get, the study suggests you could use some help making the most of it.

“I think the biggest problem … is it’s hard to get away,” said Ontario-based stress and resiliency specialist Beverly Beuermann-King. “People are having to do much more with fewer people in the office.”

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Link HERE to watch TV segment.

Overcoming vacation barriers

Millennials (those aged 18-34) appear to have the most difficulty in this department. They rarely take all their vacation days, according to the survey, because they’re too busy at work.

Experts say it’s important for those over-worked employees to remember: time off is important for both mental and physical well-being. Vacation time can relieve stress, reduce anxiety and even lower blood pressure.

The other biggest barrier is affording a vacation.

Some “progressive workplaces wellness programs” offer vacation savings plans to help with that, Beuermann-King explained.

They may allow you to bank one day of pay each week. Then after a certain amount of time, you could use the accrued hours and pay for a sabbatical.

Other workplaces, according to Beuermann-King, offer “volunteer programs where they can go off and work for Habitat for Humanity for a couple weeks and it doesn’t cut into their vacation.”

For the rest of us, tacking on a couple days to a long weekend is one way to enjoy a five-day getaway without breaking the bank (or depleting your vacation bank).

The upside of several short vacations throughout the year is you always have something to look forward to.

READ MORE: Are unlimited holidays the key to work-life balance?

Here are four tips for Canadian vacationers to maximize vacation time:

1. Plan ahead

Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, says planning your trip in advance can help reduce stress.

It also gives you time to anticipate the getaway, which experts claim can sometimes bring as much excitement as the trip itself.

Planning ahead is essential if you have to coordinate your travel plans with your partner’s work schedule — or if you’re going to a place where Internet may not be as readily available.

You don’t want to be searching for restaurant reviews or “things to do” on an Internet cafe’s painfully slow connection.

2. Choose the right vacation

Plan the right vacation for your personality.

“If you’re looking for relaxation time, don’t plan a vacation where you go from activity to activity because you’re not going to come back feeling relaxed or rejuvenated,” Beuermann-King said.

“If you’re taking family members, you have to consider the activity and energy level of people so you don’t burn them out. “Especially if you have children, going from activity to activity is pretty much a recipe for chaos…make sure you plan some down-time for them.” The same could be said for grandparents.

An all-inclusive beach vacation might be perfect for people who have to make a lot of decisions in their everyday lives because it’ll give them the opportunity to just sit back and relax.

Those looking for a bit more adventure might get away with a last-minute deal that lets them go with the flow.

3. Unplug as much as possible

Over one-third of travellers post to social media while on vacation (up from 28 per cent in 2015), the survey showed.

Millennials are the demographic most likely to check their work messages while on vacation.

They’re also likely part of the 20 per cent who admitted they’d go so far as to “risk their personal safety” to get that perfect “look how much fun I’m having” shot for social media.

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