Vacation Mode is Not Your Friend

I think vacation mode is only initially good for one thing — making sure people aren’t overwhelmed with a large review queue after breaks so they don’t end up quitting Wanikani.

I think that biting the bullet and doing the reviews gets you refreshed (maybe even super-refreshed like never before) in Wanikani much faster than enabling vacation mode and coming back.

What’s wrong with doing reviews (and no lessons) during vacation?


It’s good if you get 200+ reviews/day and need a break for a few days to a week.

Otherwise, I’d pretty much agree.

Still, a mountain of reviews may be more daunting to some than you’d think. So if the end result (missing a bunch of reviews) is the same, the main difference is that you might get through that backlog faster without vacation mode, but depending on the individual, missing a whole bunch at once may be more demoralizing than missing several in a smaller review batch.

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Isn’t vacation mode for… vacations? You literally can’t be on WK, so you stop reviews from appearing.

Is that not what people are using it for?


Having a seemingly endless amount of reviews is disheartening for a lot of people when they return from a vacation (or some other event which has occupied their time, you know, such as life). Many people may feel the need to do all the reviews in one sitting, or at least to get them done as quickly as possible, and as a result feel frustrated or burnt out. Vacation mode stops this from happening because there won’t be an infinite pile when you return. Of course, this doesn’t mean you’ll be able to remember them all, and abusing vacation mode certainly isn’t advisable.

I’ve used it two or three times during my time here and I haven’t come off worse for it.


I think it really depends on the context and length of your break. For example, last week I was away from home for 4 days, with a day either side of that for travel and I really thought about putting Vacation Mode on.
I was going to a big party where I knew I would be out of action doing reviews as I would be staying somewhere without electricity and would be in no fit state to do them, but I was also staying at my parents’ with electricity and wifi, so in the end I made the decision to try and keep up with reviews but not beat myself up if I didn’t.

Here's a breakdown of that time:

-Friday- travel day. Managed 108 before travelling, and 27 late that evening when I got to my parents’. 70% on my evening reviews, which is below average.
-Saturday- party day. 73 before party.
-Sunday- recovery day. No reviews.
-Monday- bumming around. 215 reviews. I’m an old lady and was glad I had nothing really to do that day because I still felt dodgy
-Tuesday- packing/procrastinating. 67 reviews.
-Wednesday- travelling. Didn’t do reviews until evening because of dodgy signal on train. 108 reviews, below average hits.

But I’m too poor to take a real holiday and the internet is so bad where I live that when I go away I usually have better internet. If I was paying to go away somewhere and have a proper holiday, I think I would use vacation mode. Sometimes it’s nice to switch off your brain for a bit and not have to think about running around going “do you have wifi?” It can end up just stressing you out (like on my train home when I was trying desperately to do reviews with dodgy signal and in the end stopped winding myself up and spent the time copying out katakana out of a book instead).


I agree that vacation mode is not meant to be used for weeks at a time. I use it for days at a time. Maybe I take a hit to my learning that way, but I’d rather have a steady workflow rather than come back to a huge backlog of work.

Next week I won’t have access to internet for 2 or 3 days (not a normal occurrence) and I’ll be using vacation mode during that time.

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Nothing wrong with it, but most people don’t want to. If you’re off hiking - no internet. If you’re backpacking - WK on your mobile with shitty wifi’s no fun. If you’re on a package holiday with your mates - white Russians for breakfast ain’t gonna help your percentage.

If you’re just on vacation and relaxing at home - yeah, do your reviews like normal.


Never had a problem when turning vacation mode on, even on two weeks holidays. It gets a bit slow when going back to normality, but the SRS takes care of it.

Sometimes I even turn it on when I’m too busy to dedicate time to WaniKani and it also works great.

I think vacation mode is your friend if you prefer to let the SRS do its work later on instead of having hundreds, even thousands, of reviews to do, young padawan.


I get where you’re going, but when I go on holiday this year, i won’t have wifi on my phone cause it’d cost me extra and there won’t be free wifi on the camping site. I will be gone for 2 weeks and I think I’m gonna turn on vacation mode then. I really don’t think it will do any harm and I wouldn’t want to come back home to have 1000 reviews ( or more, I don’t know) waiting for me. :woman_shrugging:


I just got some translation work last night. I’m on vacation mode until I finish it and am ready to jump back to doing reviews. L40 will have to wait a bit.

I know that I’m not at very high level and I haven’t been on a holiday yet but easter is coming and I’m going to be away from my computer for few days. I was thinking about using the vacation mode, but I think I do the lessons and reviews with my phone instead. This site runs pretty well on mobile so why not use it.

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Mane, everyone’s different. Some people are more discouraged by getting things wrong than having lots of reviews. Some people absolutely panic when they see lots of endless reviews and are stressed any time their review num aint zero.

The great thing about using vacation mode is that its optional, and the best thing we can do for people is to not tell them how to use it, but simply that its there. Its up for the individual to decide if its their “friend” or not.


Obviously the best option is to reviews during vacation. Let’s all agree that taking a break is always a sub-optimal decision… So let’s assume that you simply cannot do WaniKani for a while.

I feel like I’m seeing in your message that you have some focus on accuracy. I don’t know if accuracy is the most important thing to all learners. Probably if you want to be a racer. From that perspective, not using vacation mode might be faster. Because you get more reviews, you progress faster. So if having a 1000 review backlog doesn’t concern you, I agree with your advice.

Personally I think consistency and motivation are far more important. Having a backlog is disheartening. I often hear of people resetting a few levels because they can’t cope with their backlog anymore. If you had used vacation mode, that might have been avoided in this specific scenario.


I think this situation is different from what many are answering to in the OP. I too agree that for the most part if one is already behind with reviews (because a person coming from vacation with 500 reviews right off the bat is already in the territory of being overwhelmed), then vacation mode only serves as a way to kick the responsibility of catching up down the road. Yes, accuracy will go down due to memory issues. However, WK is the most optimal when people have the time, energy, and resources to focus on it. A person who is relatively caught up should use vacation mode if they plan to be mentally away from their WK studies. Otherwise they may procrastinate and genuinely get behind. Those who are behind on their reviews and choose vacation mode do so on their own risk because the longer they are away, the less likely they are going to get the items they are struggling with under control. (The same is true for someone who isn’t behind on their reviews, but this effect is even more apparent when one is behind on their reviews). With that being said, there are plenty of users who have toughed it out and get caught up in those situations. Provided that the person is willing to put more effort coming back from a “mental vacation” from WK, they’ll be fine. Vacation mode, however, is by no means a silver bullet; it’s more of a two-edged sword to those who come in to it half-heartedly.

I’m not sure if you authored this because you took someone’s advice and did vacation mode as a way to kick the responsibility of chipping away at a backlog or if you’ve only seen the advice and thought it wasn’t the best advice to throw around all the time, but to flatly say that it isn’t “your friend” (i.e., it’ll work against you and perhaps undermine your studies) in general is also a bit much. Definitely do reviews rather than run away from them because of…life. But don’t underestimate the usefulness of vacation mode when you know good and well that you won’t be opening WK for a while.


as someone who just recovered from missing about 8 months of WK, came back to over 1700 reviews, I kind of agree. It was EXTREMELY disheartening to have all those reviews, and even more disheartening when i would do 1-200 reviews a day only to have 150-200 reviews added in the middle of the night. It sucked, in the worst way. and what made it worse, is that of course i forgot all the material, to where my apprentice count was 320+ when i did finally get it under control.

But i needed all of those reviews, and the ones that popped up at me overnight too. Because i didn’t know the material. It was not fun, but now that it’s all over and my apprentice count is more normal (56) I know the words, almost all of them at a very high accuracy rate. If i would have put it on vacation mode and not been put through that hell, then i wouldn’t have been forced to really learn the material in order to catch up. I would have just been pushing through reviews like i did in the past and not really taking the time to learn them.

At the end of the day, how it worked out is the best thing that could’ve happened. Now i know what i’m doing, know the material, and am in full command of the program. and by the time i start doing lessons again i’ll own the material that i fell behind on. I learned a lot about the effort that needs to be put into this program, I wouldn’t trade that.


haha. I’ve been using this site (and app) since July and didn’t even know there was a ‘vacation mode’ until you mentioned it.
Now that I hear about it, it seems like a horrible idea. I’ve been away from this site for as many as 4 days at a time (while very sick or on vacation) and can’t imagine how my level would’ve dropped if I hadn’t been forced to cover literally hundreds of items that I’d let fall slack over that period.

One of the beauties of this system is that you’re not forced to review items by a time limit, only by when you get to them. They’ll never disappear, but you will be punished for not ‘studying’ consistently, same as if you let dirty dishes pile up in the sink.

I’m doing around 400 reviews a day. I’m going to be gone all day today without internet access and am seriously considering turning on vacation mode just for the day so I don’t have 400 tonight when I get home.

Looks like you just have way too many apprentice items, it’s probably better to reset your level down a bit and stop lessons until your cleared your review pile to below 100. If your review sessions are too long they don’t really help to remember things anyway.

298 apprentice items. Some of that is because I just leveled up, but also I missed a weekend of reviews while I was camping and had 500 built up.

I’m used to the pace though so it doesn’t really bother me too much.

Try to keep it below or around 100. You’ll find Wanikani to be much easier, and in my case, faster.