Expedia report find millennials in the UAE are the most vacation deprived

View of the beach in Nice, France

Expedia released its 24th Vacation Deprivation report, which takes a deep dive into the UAE market, for the first time following the brand expansion launch. UAE Millennial residents have a higher percentage of vacation deprivation than Gen Zers, 50% compared to 35% to the latter group. It also shows that over half of Millennials surveyed are full-time employees. However, Gen Zers globally are more vacation deprived than any other generation.

“Despite receiving more than six weeks of annual leave from their employers and using all of it UAE residents still feel vacation deprived” says Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group brands public relations. “Millennial workers have difficulties planning a vacation -57% feel overwhelmed by the process and find booking travel stressful because they never know if they’re getting a good deal. There’s so much choice that contemplating travel options can become a major mental burden. Our minds want shortcuts, that’s why the Expedia app helps travelers with every step of their travel journey.”

While UAE Millennials overall take time off less frequently, more than half of Gen X workers (33%) go six months or more between holidays. Only 5% of Millennials allow themselves a break from work every month. For today’s youngest workforce, Gen Z, the biggest thing holding them back is saving for a big trip this year. While being money-conscious is not exclusive to any particular generation, it’s most prevalent in Gen X with (34%) saying they much prefer saving their money for a more fulfilling trip, versus just 29% of Millennials and 27% of Gen Zers.

UAE Millennial residents are not as vacation deprived as other Europeans and leave the fewest amount of days behind
International vacation deprivation has remained the same in 2023, with approximately two-thirds of employed professionals saying they feel somewhat or very vacation deprived. ​For UAE’s Millennials, 50% feel holiday deprived according to Expedia’s report, so with half the nation yearning for more holidays, it is perhaps not a surprise given that 32% of went a full year without a holiday last year.

Millennial women feel just a little more vacation deprived than men (58% versus 57%). The top reasons for Millennials of both genders for not going on holiday are that they are saving for a bigger vacation this year (29%), saving time off for unexpected leave (27%) and have difficulties in balancing work schedules or workloads due to shortages in staffing (26%).

International travel destinations are where most Millennials spend their holiday days  (52%). However, their perfect make up of annual trips would be to take two long weekends, four one weeklong holidays and two 14 days holidays per year.

UAE employers champion holiday time, with Gen Zers eager for a 4-day working week

On average Millennial employees living in the UAE receive 25.5 holiday days from their employer and ended up using between 21 to 30 days in 2023, while those lucky ones with unlimited leave used 30 days. In 2024, Millennials plan on taking the same amount of holidays they did in 2023 and the nation’s employers are encouraging it. Expedia’s report showed that UAE employers are doing a good job of encouraging people to take holiday days, with between 80% to 81% of Millennial and Gen Z workers respectively feel their employer is supportive of them taking holidays.


Over 40% of Gen Zers are in favour of moving to a 4-day week though, predominantly to have more personal time for things like appointments, managing the household and projects, with a quarter saying they’d use that extra time to travel.


Science of the vacation: why holidays are the ultimate mood booster

As expected, almost two thirds (64%) of UAE Millennials feel their mood boost when they were on holiday but interestingly over 44% see their mood improve when they book the trip and even the planning of it boosting their mood (35%).


That holiday feeling is all about spending quality time with loved ones for Millennials (61%), for 60% it is about rest and relaxing and for 31% it is that freeing feeling from the daily responsibilities. Almost 71% of Millennials think holidays are good for health and wellbeing, that it is a deserved basic right and that they always come back feeling less anxious.



Holiday Habits From Around the World


With the majority of UAE Millennials having feelings of vacation deprivation and days left behind, there are lessons to be learned from other countries. Looking globally, the biggest year-on-year shift in Vacation Deprivation sees Germans become 14% more holiday deprived versus last year and the Japanese 10% more. On the flip side, Mexicans and Australians saw a positive shift, feeling 13% and 8% less deprived respectively.