What’s your vacation style: chilling by the pool with a cool one, or on-the-go, squeezing as many new sights and sounds and experiences as possible into your time away from work?
There’s no right answer. But as a new study by German market-research company GfK shows, your answer is likely to be driven more by your age than by your gender or your nationality.
The study, conducted in 17 countries, found that overall 59 percent of respondents preferred to “relax and take it easy,” 35 percent preferred “an active vacation where I do or see lots of things,” and 6 percent weren’t sure.
U.S. respondents deviated only slightly from the average, with 54 percent preferring relaxation, 38 percent opting for activity, and 9 percent unsure.
Brazil had the highest percentage of relaxers, at 71, while Italy had the highest percentage of actives, at 45.
Age-wise, teenagers were the most likely to prefer active vacations (43 percent) over relaxing (51 percent).
Respondents in their forties expressed the most interest in relaxing, with 64 percent opting to chill.
And respondents aged 60 or older showed waning interest in inactive vacations, at 57 percent.
Surprisingly, gender was a non-factor.
While the study focused on age-related relationships, there would also appear to be a correlation between work life and vacation preferences. Teenagers work least, and are the most inclined to play hard. Work intensity generally peaks in one’s forties, as does the need to relax. And as the end of work life and retirement looms, there is again more energy available for more active vacations.
That accords with the common-sense notion that with increased workplace stress comes an increased need to just kick back and unwind. And vice versa.
Whatever the underlying dynamic, the results are a reminder that vacation styles evolve as circumstances change. If work’s a bitch, head to the beach. You deserve it.
Reader Reality Check
What’s your preferred vacation style?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.