Didn’t Get Away For Memorial Day? Vacations Don’t Make You Happier, Study Finds
A European study has discovered that vacations, while fun, don’t necessarily boost our overall happiness level.
Of course, if you’re reading this from the passenger seat of a cramped minivan full of screaming kids on I-95, you probably don’t need a study to tell you that. More than 1,500 Dutch people (who, it should be noted, live in a land of legalized weed and prostitutes ergo may be in less need of a vacation than their American worker bee counterparts) were surveyed about their feelings both pre and post-vacation, leading researchers to conclude that perhaps the expensive practice of vacationing really doesn’t make people much happier when all is said and done.
In the group of 1,500 plus participants, around 1,000 went on vacation, with 500 of the people serving as control participants. And ultimately, after all the money was spent on hotels, restaurants, shopping and experiences, those who did vacation were no happier for it afterwards- researchers explained:
“Generally, there is no difference between vacationers’ and non-vacationers’ post-trip happiness. Vacationers reported a higher degree of pre-trip happiness, compared to non-vacationers, possibly because they are anticipating their holiday. Only a very relaxed holiday trip boosts vacationers’ happiness further after return.”
Yes- it would appear planning a vacation is actually more fun than taking one. But it doesn’t mean vacations are a total wash- other studies have linked regular time off and away from day-to-day stressors with overall longer lifespans, finding men who did not vacation had a 21% higher mortality rate overall and a 32% higher risk of heart attack.