The pros and cons of taking holiday? Are you sure Moneystepper? There are cons? Surely not?
Well, from a financial perspective (both directly through increased expenses and the knock on effect on your career), there are actually some cons to taking holidays. However, you’ll be pleased to know that I think that these are greatly outweighed by the benefits. Let’s take a look…
Pro 1 : Holidays make us happy…
Well, this is obvious, right? We spend all year saving up for our holidays and then months after they are booked counting down the days until we get to head off to the airport.
However, now it’s official. As the evidence from a recent SunLife survey show, holidays make us happy:
Con 1 : …but they come at a cost!
Whilst the survey shows that people who take more holidays each year are generally happier, this comes at a monetary price. The same survey, as you can see in the infographic above, shows that the UK average spend per household on holidays is soon to breach the £2,000 mark.
That’s not cheap. The average UK household income after tax now sits at £31,000 per year. This means that around 6.5% of our take home pay is now being spent on holidays. With the price of holidays becoming so expensive, it’s no surprise that 3 out of 10 households haven’t taken any holidays in the past year.
Also, for households who are paying down debt, you have to remember that it isn’t just the £2k expenditure on the holiday that they need to think about, but also all the interest they’ll be paying instead of paying down their debt. I’ve noticed many times during my Moneystepper days that holidays become a less guaranteed annual event once people sit down with their budget and understand the true financial costs.
Pro 2: A chance to recharge your batteries…
The average Briton works hard. And it seems that, despite increases in technology which should in theory increase our productivity and reduce our workload, we are working more hours each year.
In fact, according to stats from the OECD, the average employee in the UK worked 1,677 hours in 2014. This figure has gone up every single year since 2009.
With all this hard work, a week or two away from it all should be the perfect time to take a step back from the daily grind and get in some hardcore relaxation! A way to avoid burnout, a holiday should represent the perfect opportunity to recharge those batteries. But…
Con 2: …but can you really relax?
A survey carried out by British Airways Holidays found that it took almost three days into a holiday to get to the point where we’re able to forget about work and the majority of respondents were guilty of checking work emails and telephoning colleagues, often more than once every day whilst they were away.
Surprisingly, 15% of people surveyed took their laptops or tablets with them to the beach or pool with the sole plan of catching up with work.
And, how long do those batteries stay recharged even if you do manage to switch off and relax whilst you are away? Well, according to a survey of 2,000 British employees, respondents said that they started to feel tired and stressed just eight weeks after returning from a holiday.
Pro 3: Time to think up new ideas…
I remember reading once on an inflight magazine that two thirds of entrepreneurs and business owners come up with their new ideas for business projects whilst away on holiday.
And it’s easy to see why. Often, if you manage to take a step back from the detail of the daily grind, you get a better view of the overall picture which can be a great catalyst for idea generation.
Equally, immersing yourself in new cultures, seeing new things and experiencing a foreign way of life can have a resounding impact on people and can flow through from their personal life when on holiday into their professional life when they come back.
So, go on holiday and come up with new ideas…
Con 3: …but could it make you seem more dispensable?
…but, many holiday makers are starting to worry that them being away for a prolonged period of time will give their boss new ideas: that they aren’t as valuable to the company as they thought.
The worry is as follows. An employee may want to take 2-3 weeks off and they do so over a time period where their company is busy and their boss thinks that they couldn’t live without them.
Well, what happens when the employee goes away, and things fun fairly smoothly in their absence. Does the boss realise that perhaps they are superfluous?
This seems like a crazy idea, but is something I have heard. Maybe it goes someway to explain why employees are taking their phones, tablets and laptops with them on holiday for work matters.
“Yoo-hoo Mr Bossman, I’m here and I’m still helping whilst I’m on holiday. Look at how committed I am and how you couldn’t live without me”…
In my opinion, the pros hugely outweigh the cons to taking holidays. A life without seeing the world, without experiencing other cultures, without different foods and the characters you meet along the way; it isn’t a life worth living.
However, you need to be able to afford it. Holidays are a luxury, and as such they should be treated as such. They should be one of the last things to go into the budget, especially if they are averaging nearly £2,000 a pop for the average household.
Just think about it like this. The quicker you get your finances in order, the quicker you can climb those steps to financial freedom and the quicker you can spend most of the year on holiday…if that’s what floats your boat!!