Is budget vacation a drain on productivity?

Ambling preamble

I usually don’t read the papers because the news is at least one day stale. If I do read the papers, I’d flip straight to comics and then my horoscope.

But this Monday was a different day. I was enjoying a takeaway of the epic KFC Double Down at the office table while I flipped through the papers. I found a a column titled: “Budget vacation a drain on productivity” and stopped eating.

Click for full story. Copyright of Straits Times

In case SPH pulls a well…SPH, here’s the full post that’s not be behind a paywall. Woot! (Disclosure: I wrote the article in the first link at my day job.)

Of all places, the article was in the Money section or somewhere near there. You know who reads those…Your boss. (At least not my boss, I think.)

In a nutshell, the author was condemning budget vacations. Budget flights are allowing employees to take cheap holidays. So these employees would take advantage of weekends with attached public holidays to take “long weekend” breaks.

Employees also have the gall to do all the booking and planning “at their desks”. Then they pick locations that “may well be as hot, crowded or expensive as Singapore”.

Fast forward to travel day: pre-travel stress! On holiday: mid-travel stress! Post holiday: post-travel stress and lethargy. Not good at all for productivity and she even ends with “See, budget carriers, you have a lot to answer for.”

In defense of ‘budget vacation’

After reading the piece, my first thought was: Which employers sponsored the post?

Also, how do we define budget vacation? The short length of time? The cost of flight? Not going on a tour packages? When do we take a vacation, if not during the holidays? What’s the alternative–staying at home on a 3-day weekend and vegging out in front of the TV?

I forwarded the piece to D who replied that it might be a satire. Well, it does look like something that would appear on The Onion.

Of course I have a stake in the opposite of the thesis of the article. I’m an advocate of budget vacations. In fact, I have seven of those short, cheap trips lined up till October. (I’m not sure how that happened.)

I think of my trips as periods where I recharge my battery. Even though I need to save money for long-term travelling, I still let myself take a short break or two or seven because if I don’t, I think I would go mad. Would the author rather we slave away at our jobs without a break for the sake of productivity?

Yes, travelling is tiring. I admit that I felt like a zombie the day I came back from my Kuala Lumpur trip but it didn’t take more than one day to recuperate. What is 1 day compared to the rest of the XXX days and overtime that staff are pumping into?

A cendol toast to all budget vacationers

Disclaimer: My boss (if you’re reading this!) is very understanding about taking breaks, in fact she encourages us not to hoard our vacations.

More on budget travelling:

What are your thoughts on ‘budget vacations’? Do you think they are the enemy of productivity?

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