Whatever Happened To Peace, Love And Summer Vacation?

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Summer vacation, and how the US became the no-vacation nation. We’ll look at who’s stepped down, and who’s taking off this summer.

A family on vacation near Pagosa Springs, California around 1958.  (C Simpson / Flickr)
A family on vacation near Pagosa Springs, California around 1958. (C Simpson / Flickr)

We all know Americans take a lot less vacation time than Europeans.  C’est la vie. Now it turns out that Americans also take a lot less vacation time than their own parents did. Current Americans taking less vacation time than past. And many taking little or none at all. We’ve become the “no-vacation nation.” No one’s promoting this idea, exactly. We all know time away is good for mind and body and family and soul. And yet, it’s happened.  his hour On Point: saving the American vacation.  Plus, we’ll look at Cuba, where a whole lot of Americans are suddenly hitting Havana.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Jack Dickey, staff writer for TIME Magazine. (@jackdickey)

Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News' Paris correspondent. (@elbeardsley)

Thomas Geoghegan, labor lawyer based in Chicago. Author of "Were You Born On the Wrong Continent?' and "Only One Thing Can Save Us," among others. (@TomGeoghegan)

From Tom’s Reading List

TIME: Save the American Vacation -- "As a concept, vacation enjoys the sky-high Q scores reserved only for child stars and charismatic dictators. Ninety-six percent of American workers recognize the importance of taking vacation, according to a recent study sponsored by the U.S. Travel Association. (Not surprisingly, many of the people with the deepest research on this are those with a financial stake in leisure industries.)"

NPR News: One Woman's Struggle To Survive 'Too Much Vacation' In France -- "When I moved to France a decade ago, the culture of guilt-free time off seemed so refreshing compared with America's workaholic attitude. Taking three to four weeks off in the summer is not only the norm, it's viewed as necessary to recharge one's batteries for the fall. Don't get me wrong. I'm no workaholic. I always enjoy every bit of my vacation time. But after a couple of years in France, I began to realize that there actually is such a thing as 'too much vacation.' Especially when you have kids."

Harper's Magazine: Consider the Germans — "Germany has somehow managed to create a high-wage, unionized economy without shipping all its jobs abroad or creating a massive trade deficit, or any trade deficit at all. Sure, China just pulled slightly ahead of Germany, but that's mostly because the euro has soared, making German goods even more expensive, and world trade has slumped. Meanwhile, the dollar is dropping, and we still can't compete with either nation. And even as the Germans outsell the United States, they manage to take six weeks of vacation every year. They're beating us with one hand tied behind their back."

Americans Look To Havana

Beth Harpaz, senior journalist and travel editor for the Associated Press. (@literarydj)

Associated Press: Americans find ways to visit Cuba despite tourism ban — "Some Americans follow the rules on sanctioned travel — bringing supplies to Cuban churches or synagogues, for example, on a religious activities license. Others come on approved group tours known as 'people-to-people' trips with themed itineraries like the arts. But the 36 percent increase in American visitors here since U.S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced a thaw in relations includes many travelers who sidestep the rules."

This program aired on June 2, 2015.


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