You’d think it would be straightforward – we love taking vacations, we’re stressed, therefore taking a vacation results in lower stress upon return. Unfortunately, research doesn’t always support this claim. In fact, one study in the Netherlands found that most people were actually less happy after a vacation.
A closer look at this study showed, however, that stressful vacations caused more stress after returning home and stress-free vacations increased happiness and productivity upon return. Stress involved with handling transportation, in dealing with details while away, unfamiliar locations and not feeling safe ALL contributed to no happiness once travelers returned home. Knowing that all vacations aren’t created equal, how can you invest in the best vacation possible?
Make sure the details are covered. Poorly planned vacations remove the benefit of taking time away. Why spend all the time and money if it doesn’t create anything positive? All the details involved are stressful for most folks – think about the travel uncertainty, being in an uncertain place, transportation, and just the time spent researching. Instead, hire a travel advisor with expertise and connections to cover this for you. They’ll worry about the many details and remove the obstacles and unknowns so you can focus on enjoying your getaway.
Plan early. Sometimes a last-minute vacation can work out, but generally the earlier you get something booked the better. It allows you time to get excited about your vacation! Plus you won’t get stuck with the leftover airline seats and rooms at the resort no one else wanted, giving your travel advisor plenty of options to selectively choose from. The last thing you want is to be figuring out all the details days before your trip or even during it.
Go far away. An average vacation does not produce a positive effect on happiness or decrease stress. Vacations with the largest “happiness increase” were to locations outside the country. Traveling somewhere new and far away is a perfect way to truly disconnect. Visiting new cultures can expand your comfort zone and mindset. While a stay-cation can be rewarding, most people still have lingering thoughts about work, home, to-do lists, and other thoughts/worries that you need a break from.
Have on-site support. Going to a new, exciting destination can also come with its own level of stress. Instead of getting off the plane and thinking “now what?” your travel advisor will set you up with a local guide or phone number should you need support while in your destination. This will help make you feel safe and knowledgeable right off the bat. Working with a travel agent is critical to getting step-by-step support and the on-site connections you need to remove any worry.
With a properly planned vacation you can come home feeling rejuvenated, happy and more productive. What tips do you have for making vacations stress free? Leave us a comment!