How to extend the pleasure of a vacation

17 September 2019

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Vacation is beautiful for everyone except one - it is not infinite. No matter how pleasant it is to bask on the Caribbean beach, to ski on the Italian Alps, to ride a bike along the wilderness of Vietnam, the ghost of returning home inexorably breathes in the back of the head, reminding you of an imminent meeting with everyday duties.

Through long and persistent interviews, scientists have again confirmed the obvious fact: a vacation aftertaste does not last long. Soon after returning home, the level of happiness inexorably moves to the pre-vacation level. And although, according to the California psychologist and vacation researcher (there are some) Jessica de Bloom, short days of rest “have a strong, but short-term effect”, do not rush to return bathing suits to the store and cancel the booked tour. Studies of the happiness and nature of consumption have nevertheless led science to useful conclusions that will help maximize the enjoyment of short and long-awaited vacations.


In general, in terms of acquired happiness, vacation is the right idea. Psychologists confirm that any experience brings more pleasure than material wealth. This is partly due to the fact that people are usually more interested in talking about what they have experienced than about what they have bought (forget for a while about the enthusiastic owners of new iPhones). “By investing in travel, we not only pay for a temporary change of scenery, but also invest in stories that we will share with relatives, friends and colleagues,” explains Amit Kumar, Ph.D., from the School of Business at Booth University of Chicago, which studies, among other things, the relationship between money and happiness. “Holidays make us happier after months and even years, because they live in stories of past adventures.”


Scientists have also proven empirically that preplanning guarantees more pleasure in anticipating an event than a spontaneous decision made at the last minute. “We are excited to look forward to the pleasure of the holidays, and we are unconsciously looking for a way to extend these pleasurable sensations,” says Dr. Kumar. “We make lists, build routes, ask for tickets, choose equipment - active training adds to the experience, making the wait an independent entertainment on the eve of the trip.”


Another aspect that is important for prolonging vacation happiness: Pay particular attention to planning your trip. For example, when booking a two-week stay in a simple hotel in the fabulous Bali, give yourself the “first night right” in a five-star resort. Examine airline offers - you may be able to pay for your well-earned luxury with accrued miles or loyalty cards. “The first days of the holidays will be remembered for a long time, adding to the category of the best events in life, if they are rich in positive emotions,” says Dr. Elizabeth Dunn, a researcher at happiness at the University of British Columbia and co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happy Spending (Happy Money : The Science of Happier Spending). “If something goes wrong, the impressions of the rest will be appropriate.”

In order for the vacation finale not to fade against the start, Dunn advises applying a similar strategy to the last day: “Mark the end of the vacation by going to the restaurant, flying in a balloon or something at least