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June 22nd, 2016 by


Admit it, we spend many a minute day-dreaming about our next dream holiday. We feel as if the minute our feet touch that white, fluffy sand, we’ll be at in the land of milk and honey and nothing will ever taste as sweet as that moment.

But what would you say if I said this is probably that this stage of planning an imaginary holiday is the happiest you will be in the entire holiday planning process?

According to a study published in the Applied Research in Quality of Life journal, simply anticipating or planning the holiday of a lifetime can make you happier than actually being on it.

Sure, let’s not take away from the first-time experiences, feelings and wonder you are most likely to experience. Travelling is a vital part of anyone’s life and it is a place where you indeed can reinvent yourself and become anyone you would like to be. But all that time spent in the clouds, doesn’t necessarily take away or add to what it actually would be like to be sitting in a piazza in Italy, sipping on some prosecco and listening to the incessant and dramatic chatter of the locals around you.

The authors of the study found that although all holiday-makers enjoyed pre-trip happiness, only holidays that were relaxing and restful gave people a boost in happiness. The levels in happiness from respondents who classified their holidays as “stressful” or “neutral” were classed alongside people who hadn’t taken a holiday at all.

Moral of the story, when you are planning a holiday, while it is important to get all the sights in, make sure you factor in significant ‘down-time’ to fully recuperate from the hecticness of one’s life.

But it’s time to face the facts: Vacation is healthy, and more Americans need to be both planning and taking one.

To get yourself going, try swapping out one big, often stressful vacation for shorter getaways throughout the year. That way, you don’t feel like you’re gone from work for too long, and you get to enjoy the repeated happiness boost of planning multiple vacations. It’s a win-win.

Nawijn also suggests maximizing the pre-trip happiness boost by fully indulging in the excitement of planning. Talk to people about your plans, brag about them on social media, and revel in both the anticipation and FOMO you’re causing.