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Skip your staycation and take a real spring break

Consumer Science Hospitality and Tourism Management

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

Have you used enough vacation days?

Overworked and underpaid Americans have not used 705 million vacation days, according to the most recent figures from the United States Travel Association.

Xinran Lehto, a professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University, has spent the last two decades studying the restorative qualities of vacation.

When people do take time away from the office, it’s often spent at home on a “staycation,” answering emails at work or checking social media, said Xinran Lehto, a professor in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Purdue University.

“Once you have had a sustained period of work and study, your mind is fully extended and you start to lose the kind of attention that’s required to focus on the task at hand, causing you to be less productive, less efficient, less creative and not as sharp,” Lehto said. “A short-term respite, perhaps at home, may not be enough because it is not as easy for your mind to stay away from daily stressors associated with your everyday routine.”

Simply going from point A to point B also is not enough to recharge during time off, said Lehto, a member of the Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center and an expert in tourism marketing, specifically wellness tourism. Over the last two decades, she has studied the beneficial aspects of vacation using survey data, personal interviews, short-term longitudinal experiments and content analysis of travelers’ personal websites and blogs.

“More than ever, the tourism and hospitality industries need to be mindful of travelers’ need to disconnect from everyday obligations and should provide products, experiences and services with a health and wellness orientation. Travelers should try to take a clean break, stay physically active and stay fully immersed in interesting activities available at a destination. Only when they are able to do so, can they regain the ability to focus, and a sense of connection with people, places and life in general.”

working on a computer
“Can people truly disconnect themselves?” Lehto said. “Physically, you moved to another place. Mentally, it is increasingly challenging to disconnect, precisely because of the increasing digitalization of life.

About Purdue School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM) is a global leader in hospitality management education.  It is among the best hospitality programs in the country.  Core components include experiential, theoretical, and analytical study.  Two peer-reviewed studies have ranked the undergraduate program at the top.  The graduate programs have also been recognized – and recently both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs were ranked first in the nation in a longitudinal study of graduate hospitality education.

Our mission is to prepare managers and leaders for the challenges that lie ahead, and to identify solutions and tools to make better decisions.  Endorsed by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Administration, HTM’s program combines sound research and real-world engagement, leading to highly sought after graduates throughout the industry. 

Writer: Joseph Paul, 765-494-9541,

Source: Xinran Lehto, 765-496-2085,

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