Do Vacations Make Us Happy?

by Patrick Appel

Ryan Sager explores the question:

[A] “very relaxing” vacation could create a noticeable (if small) bump in happiness for at least two weeks, wearing off completely after eight weeks. A small buzz of extra happiness for two to eight weeks sounds pretty good to me.

He thinks much of the benefit comes before the vacation actually starts:

 Start off daydreaming about where you might like to go. Look at various beautiful places and imagine being there. Look at hotels and imagine staying there. Look at rental cars and imagine driving down the highway. If a trip’s complicated involving more than a few destinations I’ll take a week or more to plan, doing just a little bit at a time so that the planning won’t be over until it’s just about time to leave. What could be more fun?

I don't find planning vacations nearly as enjoyable as Ryan does, but having something to look forward to certainly makes long stretches of intense work more bearable.