Travel

Which countries get the most vacation time?

Published On 06/18/2014 Published On 06/18/2014

The average American works a staggering 1,836 hours a year, which is a good deal more than most of the world. Something something, the American Dream, blah blah blah. But with all that time put in at the office, Americans surely get loads of vacation days to keep them productive and not just freebasing K-cups on a day-to-day basis, right? Wrong. They're definitely freebasing K-cups.

Compared to other developed nations, Americans get very little -- if any -- paid vacation time. As a small consolation, they do get approximately 10 days a year off for holidays. So that's a thing.

We combined data from Mercer and the Center for Economic and Policy Research to make the handy-dandy map below that shows how the number of vacation days varies around the world. And according to data collected by Mercer in 2009, Brazilians have it best, getting 30 vacation days, plus 11 national holidays, for a total of 41 days off each year. 

Center for Economic and Policy Research

In Europe, things are almost universally better, as employees are legally required to take a minimum number of vacation days. That's right: There's a law that says people need to go on vacation. In the US, there's nothing.

According to the Center for Economic and Policy Research's "No-Vacation National Revisited" report from 2013, Austria has it the best of any European nation, with 25 vacation days, plus 13 holidays. Yep, 38 days! And in Finland, employees get a whopping 30 days off after just one year of service.

Effectively, while there's plenty of work to be had in the US, there's not really a ton of leisure time.

Other countries with a generous amount of vacation days include France (30 days, 31 with holidays); Bolivia (27 days, 37 holidays), Sweden and Luxembourg (which both get 25 days, and 36 with holidays).

Not everybody has it so great, however. India (12 days, 28 with holidays), China (10 days, 21 with holidays), Thailand (6 days, 22 with holidays), and the Philippines (5 days, 20 with holidays) are among countries that get a lot less vacation -- though still more than the US.

Oh, and just to add insult to injury, even Canadians get more time off, with 19 days of vacation, including holidays.

Check out the graph above and enlarge the map below to see how US vacation days compare to other parts of the world. Then, for your next vacation, book a one-way flight to Rio and consider relocating there permanently.

Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. She moved from a country where there’s a minimum of 28 vacation days... to the USA. Follow her to working on the beach on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.

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