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Study: For many, vacation means quality time with their laptops

By Layer 8 on Fri, 06/01/07 - 1:29pm.

So the summer vacation season is upon us. And what will you bring along? Well if you’re like a lot of other geeks out there you’re gonna pack up the old laptop and cellphone and hit the beach.  A study out today says  one in five people carried  laptop computers and 80 percent who said they brought along their cell phones on their most recent vacations.  The AP-Ipsos poll says many people are interrupting their unwinding time to check in at the office and, even more so, to keep up with the social buzz. About one in five of 1,000 randomly chosen adults said they did some work while vacationing, and about the same number checked office messages or called in to see how things were going, the poll showed. Twice as many checked their e-mail, while 50% kept up with other personal messages like voice mail. The culprit is in part today's array of devices that can easily keep people digitally tethered to workplaces, friends and family, the study says. The electronic gear was most commonly brought along by younger people — one in four below age 40 brought laptops, compared to 15% of those 50 to 64 and even less for older people. Reasons vacationers performed work-related tasks include an expectation that they be available; a worry about missing important information; or in some cases the enjoyment of staying involved, according to analysts and some of those surveyed. It doesn’t help that you have vendors out there touting ever-easier ways to bring along the corporate electronics either. For example the Traveling Forever Website says  whenever someone plans a long distance trip, staying in touch with the world is a major priority. Bringing a laptop, with all its weight, bulk, and potential for theft is often viewed as a necessary evil. Most people simply cannot be without their email, and access to their personal travelogues. In the past, keeping all the relevant information on a laptop was the only solution to connectivity on the road. With the availability of cheap USB keys and hard drives, though, the world traveler has a few more options.  The author gives his suggestions for what portable applications you'd need, such as Portable Firefox and others from the Portable Apps Suite.  Other interesting tidbits from the AP-Isos poll:·          19% of study  said they worked on their vacation even though they were technically off. ·          20% said they checked work messages like voice mail.·          15 % said they called just to check in.·          Men were the likeliest to have checked for messages or worked while on vacation.·          Higher educated and higher-earning people were also likelier to do work-related tasks, in part reflecting the demands of professional or managerial jobs.·          People under age 40 were likeliest to check their personal e-mails, voice mails or other messages from vacation spots. ·          Seven in 10 women and half of men said they had read a book on their last vacation. About three in four men, and six in 10 women, said they had read a newspaper.  Of course all this could be moot as most Americans are delaying or not taking vacations at all these days.  A Wall Street Journal story last Fall said  American workers - who already take fewer vacations than people in nearly all industrial nations - are cutting back even more. A survey by private research firm The Conference Board showed that "40% had no plans to take a vacation over the next six months - the lowest percentage recorded by the group in 28 years." Meanwhile, a survey by the Gallup Organization in May based on telephone interviews with a national sample of 1,003 adults found that 43% of respondents had no summer vacation plans. About 25% of American workers in the private sector do not get any paid vacation time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. Another 33%will take only a seven-day vacation, including a weekend. But they will have their laptops.  Then of course you can be a real geek and just go to Second Life.  The  New York Times Travel section last year called  it the  perfect virtual vacation spot for anyone with a broadband connection. On Second Life customers can travel to far-flug locales real and imagined, shop at malls, gamble at casinos, hit dance clubs and hook up with other players in adult-only areas. Sounds like a blast. Can I bring my laptop?