Sounds weird, right? I was surprised as well when I first read these research results. However, yesterday I understood how planning a trip can make you happier than actually going on the trip.
Yesterday, we went to visit my father-in-law for lunch. He wanted to us check out some cruise-ships tours in the Caribbean for June. As husband and I have talked about travelling there, they also wanted. We checked and found an amazing cruise trip for an affordable price. The flight ticket was maybe a bit too expensive. However, we found pictures of the places the cruise ship was going to visit. Pictures of crystal clear water, white sand beaches. In other words, the places looked like a dream.
As my father in law newly got remarried, we have a very big family now. Everyone was gathered yesterday, and wanted to join this trip when they saw the pictures. Everyone was getting so excited and happy. They were all dreaming about the trip that only my husband and I was supposed to go on, and suddenly we were a group of twelve planning to travel.
It would be very nice if we all could travel together. However, I am not so sure that it will actually be like that. That being said, it was easy to see the positive effects just planning the trip had on everyone’s happiness. And this is not just my observation. Researchers have found that the minute we decide to go on a holiday we get a rush of happy hormones. These hormones are maintained by planning and thinking and talking about the wonderful time you imagine to have on your holiday. It is even found that looking at pictures of beautiful holiday destinations can give you a boost. And that was just what happened yesterday with all of us.
Unfortunately, the researchers furthermore found that way too often, the holiday experience itself do not live up to the anticipation. Often jet lag, tiredness, annoying tourist-crowds, stress, homesickness, or problems with travelling companions can make the trip less enjoyable.
When the trip is over, it is back to the daily stress of work or school again. In addition to worries about money, as we often use much money when travelling.
Though it is proven by researchers that people that go on holidays are happier than people that do not. At the same time scientists from Netherlands (Dr. Jeroen Nawijnfound) found that as fast as the holiday is over, the people going on holidays are actually not any happier than those who stayed at home.
And actually I can recognize myself in this as well. When I come home from a trip, I am very happy for a few days for see my family and friends again. But then everything gets back to normal. It has also happened that I have been a little bit depressed after coming home from a trip.
These findings show that despite that if you cannot take the time for a vacation right now, it can be a good idea to plan one. Try to put a trip you wish to go on, on the calendar, even if it is a month or a year ahead. Then whenever you need a boost of happiness, remind yourself and dream about that holiday. Furthermore, the finding shows that there are no use to be jealous of people travelling to exotic places in the holidays, when they come home they are no happier than you, that might stayed at home.
Do you get happy by planning a trip? Any stories from when you were planning one?