Larry Mantle |

It's challenging to juggle vacation with work




We're all aware of the trends toward shorter, more plugged in, vacations in America. While many industrialized countries offer a month of vacation a year, 30 percent of Americans aren't taking any vacation this year. Few get the chance to take more than a week at a time, unless forced to by unemployment, and that's hardly a vacation.

Tuesday morning on "AirTalk" we looked at the latest trends in vacations and focused on how electronically tethered most of us are to our jobs, even when taking time off. We had many outstanding listener calls and "AirTalk" page postings detailing how people deal with the expectations of employers and the need to get distance from work.

Our family faces the same challenge every time we take a vacation or weekend away. I take my laptop with me and use it to check e-mail and research local sights. However, the trade-off is that I don't use a smart phone during the day to check e-mail or go online. I'll do that in the hotel at the start of the day, and right before bed. Kristen does the same with her work e-mail.

This seems to effectively consolidate time spent on the computer and doesn't detract from our time together as a family. I can usually provide a quick response to urgent emails and leave the others to reply to once I return. Plus I can delete the 250 or so e-mails I get a day that don't require a response. That cuts my load considerably when I return.

The bigger issue might be my interest in following current events, even when on vacation. Like many of you, I suspect, I'm a news junkie. That means you'll find me popping CNN on the hotel TV when I get the opportunity. I hate the feeling of being out-of-the-loop for a full 24 hours. I need to check in, either at the beginning or end of each day. Kristen's pretty understanding, given my work. However, at some point she correctly draws the line and I turn off the box. Fortunately, we're not in our room very long when we travel.

How do you handle these challenges in your travels? Are you able to completely cut the cord when you hit the road? Is that something you'd ideally like to do, or does that create more work than you can handle when you get back?