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4 tips to Maximize Vacation Happiness

May 17, 2011

The very act of taking a vacation has been linked to an increased level of (self-reported) happiness. The New York Times posted an article on the increased level of happiness in the weeks leading up to the planned trip. This happiness comes in the form of excitement and anticipation.The more excited you are about a trip, the longer your happiness boost will be pre-trip.

1. Plan a trip you are absolutely thrilled with.

Most interestingly in this study, happiness on the trip itself was variable and depended on the conditions of the trip itself. A difficult travel partner, missed connections and other stress caused the trip to realize only small happiness increases.

2. Vacation with like minded travel partners and have your trip planned in advance.

In general, the happiness level returned to baseline upon the traveler’s return, except when the traveler did not return to a pile of work and reported having a very relaxing vacation.

3. Give yourself a few days to relax once you get back home and slowly re-introduce work.

Vacations and travel have been shown to provide a higher happiness dividend per dollar than possessions or other status symbols. Experiences provide more and have a greater impact on the individual than a new car or other material objects.

4. Budget vacations as mandatory. Travel is an investment into your life.

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