Maximizing Your Vacation Happiness

Studies have shown that shortly after you return from vacation, your happiness levels quickly return to baseline. Here are some tips, backed by serious science, that can hack your vacation happiness. Don’t look at your vacation as merely a set period of time, but enjoy the anticipation, the journey, and the thrill of sharing it years afterwards.
  1. Plan Ahead
    Savor the excitement and extend the pleasure of looking forward to your vacation by planning as far out as you can. The more time and number of opportunities you have to think about, talk about, and to savor your future pleasurable vacation, the more satisfaction you will get out of it.
  2. Spend on Experiences, not Material things
    A lot of past research has shown that experiences in general provide more happiness than material goods. In short, buy less things and spend your money on amazing vacation experiences. Shared experiences garner extra happiness points.
  3. Frontload your Vacation with the Best Stuff
    The first few days of vacation leave the longest-lasting imprint. If these days are amazing, the entire vacation will be remembered with more fondness. Bring on the splurges and the most exciting activities at the beginning. Stay at the nicest hotel, go on that hot air balloon ride, go crazy at the spa….On the other hand, the very end of an experience can disproportionately affect your memory of that experience in a positive way, so save one big item to do at the end and go out with a bang!
  4. Don't Compare your Trip to Other People's Vacation
    In this world of social media, we tend to compare our experiences to others and this reduces our happiness quotient. Go on an unusual trip, a unique vacation, something different than everyone else is doing. Experiences are most beneficial when they can’t be compared to others.
  5. Talk About It
    Vacations provide stories to tell, connections to be had, and exciting things to talk about. The hedonic benefit of vacation can live on through the times we get to talk about them after they’re over. Go ahead, show everyone your slide show.