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Old June 26th, 2011, 05:17 PM   #1
Penn's Woods
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When do you, and people in your country, hit the road?

The post that I'm responding to here was in the "strangest and most distant license plates" thread, but I realized by the end of my post that I was in effect asking people to go off topic, so I thought a separate thread might be useful. My original question is about European vacation times; the subject line is an attempt to broaden it a bit....

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Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
You will see much more, now that the Danish holiday season has started. Nordic people usually go on vacation 1 month earlier than Southern Europe. I've always seen many Danish vehicles in June and July in the Alps.
Something I've been wondering about, about European vacation times. I know everyone in Europe (well, in most European countries) gets enormous amounts of vacation by law. I'm a bit jealous of that, but on the other hand I'm not jealous of the nationwide traffic jams that form in France because everyone's traveling at the same time. I also know that there are breaks, and nationwide traffic jams, at Christmas, at Easter....

My question is How does it work: do you have to take your five weeks, or whatever it is, in a block during July and August - and then the Christmas and Easter breaks are sort of additional legal holidays? Non-Europeans are welcome, of course, to talk about how it works in their countries too.

I get three weeks' worth of "vacation days" a year that I can take whenever I want (one at a time, a few at a time, all at once....) at any time from the moment they're earned until the end of the following calendar year. So if I decided now I wanted to take an extended trip - say five weeks - I could just wait until about September 2012 and not take any vacation until then; by then I'd have all of the three weeks earned during 2011 and two weeks earned earned during the first eight months of 2012.... (In addition, I work at a Jewish organization and we're closed for quite a few Jewish religious holidays every year - but I'm not Jewish so they're days off to me - and half a dozen national legal holidays.) So it's not a bad amount of time.... All of this is as a result of my employer's policies - I don't think there's any legal minimum.

At this point, I still have most of my three weeks from 2010 which I'll have to use by the end of 2011. Besides the fact that I can't at this point afford a long trip, I like being able to take frequent, short breaks. The longest I've taken since I've been at this job was two weeks, half of which I spent in Montreal and the rest at my parents' (as Dad was starting to decline...and I was borrowing his car for Montreal). The last trip I took was earlier this month; we were closed on a Wednesday and Thursday for a Jewish holiday, so I took a vacation day Friday, which created a five-day weekend, and did a little trip to New England and New York State I'd been meaning to do for years.

Sorry that was a bit long.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #2
ChrisZwolle
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It strongly depends on the school holidays. Some European countries spread out the school vacations so that not the entire country leaves in one weekend. This does seem to happen in France or Italy though, but there is "vacation spreading" in the Netherlands and Germany, and possibly other countries as well.

Northern countries, including much of Germany and the Netherlands usually go on vacation in July or early August. Southern Germany, France, Italy and Spain usually go during the month of August, though France has also the 14th of July holiday weekend. Generally, all weekends in July and August are extremely busy on the roads, southbound in July in early August, northbound during August. The first weekend of August is usually regarded as the "black Saturday", but generally any weekend around that time is extremely busy. I'm not really familiar with the eastern European vacation period.

Most congestion is in France, southern Germany, northern Italy and the Alps, however nearly any coastal area gets busy during the weekends, also in Scandinavia when weekend recreation joins the long-term holidays.

As far as I know, almost nobody has 5 consecutive weeks off. In the Netherlands it's usually 2 - 4 weeks. We also have a "construction vacation", called the "bouwvak", a period when nearly all construction jobs are stopped for a vacation period.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 05:41 PM   #3
Penn's Woods
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Bedankt!

Not having kids, I tend to forget about the role of school vacations in this. But also, American schools are generally closed from mid- or late June until about the beginning of September, so even a family that has to, or wants to, take four weeks at once and take them during the school break still has a bit of a range to work with.

By the way, as far as France is concerned, the winter and spring school vacations seem to follow three different schedules, depending on regions. In some road atlases, you'll see a map of the regions together with the calendar for that year. I don't know if that's true for the summer though. When I was first studying French - we're going back a bit now - let's say late '70s - I believe I read that many businesses just shut down for the entirety of August rather than operate short-staffed, and that may (obviously) have a role in the everyone-traveling-at-once phenomenon. Don't know if that's still true.
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Old June 26th, 2011, 08:43 PM   #4
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In England ( I say England because holidays vary), the summer holidays are from very late July to very early September, or basically August, but its rare for people to use them all as holidays. My parents are taking one week off during the summer, and bits and bobs elsewhere. However, you don't get holiday traffic here like in France, most people either fly to Spain or Turkey or stay at home. On some bank holiday weekends you get a lot of people going to the South Coast though.

In Portugal a lot of people go to the Algarve at some point in the summer holidays ( mid June to mid September!), but especially in August and southbound traffic on north south motorways and on nearby toll-free routes is terrible, especially with all the French and Leitzburgish Portuguese descended people coming down


When I first saw your question I thought you were taking about the time of day, in the UK people leave early in the morning, but lots of people in Portugal leave in the evening and drive all night.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 12:55 AM   #5
g.spinoza
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
It strongly depends on the school holidays. Some European countries spread out the school vacations so that not the entire country leaves in one weekend. This does seem to happen in France or Italy though, but there is "vacation spreading" in the Netherlands and Germany, and possibly other countries as well.
That's not quite true for Italy. School vacations there are (more or less) as follows:

- from June 15th to September 15th.
- from December 23rd to January 7th
- 4 days around Easter.

I know in Germany school vacation are much more spread across the year.

As for work vacations, here in Germany I had more than 20 days of vacation for my 10-month contract of work (23 if I remember correctly), and I can take them whenever I want, all together, one day at a time, etc. Italy's got a similar amount of vacation days, with the same mechanism as Germany.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 12:57 AM   #6
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I've done plenty of overnighters to get from the North East of England down to Devon to go camping during summer. I enjoy the empty roads, much better than the daytime.

I'm heading to Brighton on Friday and plan to set off at 6am hopefully getting through the Yorkshire Motorway box before the peak of the rush hour and around London before the weekend traffic starts to move (or slow more like) in earnest!
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Old June 27th, 2011, 10:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Northern countries, including much of Germany and the Netherlands usually go on vacation in July or early August. Southern Germany, France, Italy and Spain usually go during the month of August, though France has also the 14th of July holiday weekend. Generally, all weekends in July and August are extremely busy on the roads, southbound in July in early August, northbound during August. The first weekend of August is usually regarded as the "black Saturday", but generally any weekend around that time is extremely busy. I'm not really familiar with the eastern European vacation period.
About Spain it's true. Here in Huesca we have the St. Lawrence festivals between August 9th and 15th and then the city gets almost empty until the end of the month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by g.spinoza View Post
That's not quite true for Italy. School vacations there are (more or less) as follows:

- from June 15th to September 15th.
- from December 23rd to January 7th
- 4 days around Easter.
In Spain it's more or less that, but we have School vacations from June 20th to September 10th and up to week and a half around Easter.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 10:57 AM   #8
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ex Yugoslavia it is July and August, prime time is second half of July and all of August.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 12:08 PM   #9
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As far as Bulgaria is concerned:by law the minimum off-time you get (called "paid vacation") is 20 days for your first years of work. This extends gradually as you work for more and more years and in the end you will have about 4 weeks off. The curiosity is that you will lose your vacation time if you do not use it at last in the year after the year you have the right to obtain your free days. Your employer is under obligation to give you your vacation and you have to reserve the days you want to take in the beginning of the year (i.e. you may take 10 days in July, 5 in September and 5 in December).
In addition, there are national and religious holidays, when almost nobody works - these are New Year, 3rd of March(National day), 1th of May (International Labour Day), 6th of May (St. George's), 24th of May (Day of Bulgarian Culture), 6th of September, 22th of September and Christmas. If these holidays fall on Tuesday or Thursday our government usually makes the holiday 4 days and the working Friday or Monday has to be "re-worked" on the following Sturnday.

Now, let's get to the travelling question:
- 23rd of December is the nightmare of traffic around here since all major roads out of Sofia are clogged with citizens of the capital, visiting their relatives in other cities and towns. There is also a saying: "Citizens of Sofia are going back to their home towns."(You can see that the "old-time"people of Sofia are a bit snobbish.) December is especially problematic, because of the possible snowfall. The other holiday weekends feel almost like it, apart from the snow.
- Some Bulgarians tend to take a ski-break in the winter, but only for a few days (usually a weekend). Traffic jams may occur near winter resorts in January and February.
- Most Bulgarians travel to the see in the summer. Weekends see congestion on all main routes leading to the Black see. There also not so many trevlers to Greece or Turkey. Here the school vacation starts from mid or end June (depending on your school age) and ends on the 15th of september. Most people tend to take their vacation in end-July or August. Relatively few - in the beginning of September.
- Bulgaria also sees a lot of traffic in the weekends of July and August, due to Turkish "Gastarbeiter"that are visiting relatives, coming from Germany. Border crossings are heavily congested in the weekends of July and August (mainly Kalotina - Gradina (SRB) and Kapitan Andreevo- Kapikule (TR) ).
This is the overall situation around here.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 12:16 PM   #10
woutero
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Dutch school holidays seem to be a bit shorter. They are 6 weeks in summer, and they are spread a bit. The period that overlaps (3 weeks) is the 'Bouwvak', which is when all construction companies close. I guess this is done because of the inter-dependency in this sector.

This year the summer holiday schedule for schools is like this:
Northern Netherlands: 23 jul 2011 t/m 4 sep 2011
Central Netherlands: 2 jul 2011 t/m 14 aug 2011
Southern Netherlands: 9 jul 2011 t/m 21 aug 2011

Schools close for a week in fall for a fall break, 2 weeks around Christmas/New Years, and a week in May, so that is a total of 10 weeks of vacation for school kids.

Most people who work have about 5 weeks of vacation (4 weeks is the minimum). Usually people take 2-3 weeks in summer, and spread the rest out through the year. Often for a week around Christmas and a week in spring.

Even though I don't have children, I tend to follow school holidays, because I want to be there for my clients outside of these holidays.
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Old June 27th, 2011, 12:22 PM   #11
ChrisZwolle
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Note that high school vacations tend to be longer, up to 9 weeks off.

Quote:
As far as Bulgaria is concerned:by law the minimum off-time you get (called "paid vacation") is 20 days for your first years of work. This extends gradually as you work for more and more years and in the end you will have about 4 weeks off.
I don't know how many workdays there are in a week in Bulgaria, but in the Netherlands 20 days = 4 weeks
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Old June 27th, 2011, 02:04 PM   #12
bozata90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
Note that high school vacations tend to be longer, up to 9 weeks off.
I don't know how many workdays there are in a week in Bulgaria, but in the Netherlands 20 days = 4 weeks
Sorry, I am studying law - it only counts to three. I meant something like 40 days.
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