How Upcoming Vacations Make You Happier

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This made me smile: a story in the NYT‘s travel section about how planning vacations makes you happier.

Sure, that’s pretty much stating the obvious. I’ve posted about how deciding to a trip boosted my mood when I was going through a difficult time, and how I usually beat my post-vacation blues by booking another trip. And I’d think that most people would agree that they just feel better when they have a getaway coming up.

But I’m all for anything that spreads the word of how travel is good for you!

According to the NYT piece, anticipating a trip makes you happier due to a number of reasons. (All are well-rooted in happiness psychology.):

  • Researching a destination can get you excited about what you’ll see/do/experience, as well as provide you with positive images to recall anytime you think about your trip.
  • By researching, you’re also learning lots of interesting, new things—thus shaking up your boring day-to-day routine.
  • Most people also talk about their upcoming trips with friends or family—the act of being social is a happiness booster, as is talking about experiences.

I like to refer to upcoming trips as “carrots”—like a carrot dangling in front of a horse to get him to move. Quick getaways are “baby carrots” and long trips are “big-ass carrots.” They’re the incentives that energize me anytime I think of them, simply by making my life feel richer and more exciting.

(Image by A Well Traveled Woman, via Bippity Boppity Boo)

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