Staying Home: Fewer Small Business Owners Are Taking Vacations This Summer

For years, small business owners have been going on less and less summer vacations. But this time, it might be because they see opportunities.

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But it actually may be a sign that the economy is picking up.

Since 2006, small business owners have been taking less and less vacations, largely due to the economic downturn. This year, only 46% of small business owners said they were planning on taking a vacation for at least one week this summer, down from a high of 67% five years ago, according to the recently released American Express OPEN Small Business Vacation Monitor.

But Alice Bredin, a small business adviser for American Express, says she thinks this year is different.

“From what I know about business owners’ mindsets, they don’t want to get away because they see opportunities for people who are demanding their products or services,” Bredin says. “A couple years ago, vacation numbers were down because owners were worried they didn’t have the money to get away. Now, it looks like they see growth periods for their businesses.” [time-link title=”(See a special report on how not to let your kids ruin a family vacation)” url=,28804,2065423_2065425_2065451,00.html]

For those owners who will get away this summer, they’re checking in with the office even less. Sixty-eight percent said they will contact their office while on vacation, and even less are checking their phones or e-mail. Why? Less desperation, says Bredin.

“It’s a correction from the somewhat frantic state that business owners were in in March 2008, an all-time high for checking in with the office,” she says.

If you are one of the many small business owners who are staying home this summer, you may want to reconsider.

“When you’re running a small company, you’re by definition a problem-solver,” says Bredin. “Morning, noon and night you’re solving problems. It’s hard to do that well if you aren’t recharging your batteries.” [time-link title=”(See 50 essential travel tips)” url=,28757,1912492,00.html]