Do Vacations Really Make You Happier?

I wanted to share this article I read today in Forbes. I found it really interesting. I think vacations give you a great mental break. Some people need it more often and some people need longer vacations. I think everyone needs to take vacations to be healthy. I also believe “staycations” are nice every once in a while but to truly be relaxed you need to take a vacation and get away from home.  What do you think?Image

http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryolmsted/2012/05/18/vacations-are-fun-but-do-they-make-you-a-happier-healthier-better-person-surprising-data/

Vacations Are Fun – But Do They Make You A Happier, Healthier, Better Person? Surprising Data

Who doesn’t want an occasinal escape from the daily routine?

“I need a vacation.”

It’s something we’ve all felt or said, especially when too much work, stress, or simple boredom of the daily grind sets in. The idea of taking a vacation to break that cycle and escape from the normal routine is a recurring fantasy, a promise that the vacation will somehow make life better afterwards, but does it really have any lasting effects?

Apparently, yes.

That is one of the many interesting results of a recent poll on American vacation attitudes commissioned by some folks who have a lot invested in what Americans think about when they think about vacations – The Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority.

The nationwide study, comprised of an audience of 21-74 year olds who had taken at least one overnight trip for pleasure, not business, in the past year, demonstrated that vacations actually led to increased happiness, less stress, and improved health afterwards. As if we needed more reasons to take a vacation!

The study also raised an interesting point for employers to consider, showing increased productivity and creativity among employees returning to work after vacations. Maybe it’s time to loosen up on our strict American vacation time policies, the stingiest in the first world. Not surprisingly, a majority of the employed (59%) believed that losing paid vacation time would “decrease a person’s well-being.” What I cannot fathom is the 15% – nearly one in six – who somehow think losing paid vacation time would increase their well-being. There must be a rationale for this position, though it eludes me.

The vacation survey was commissioned by the Las Vegas Convention & Vistors Bureau

93% of those polled felt happier after a vacation, which is hardly shocking. More interesting was the before and after opinions of vacation travelers. In every category given as a reason to take a vacation, the actual results afterwards were higher than expected. For instance, 81% of respondents felt that the need to “recharge” was a reason to go on a vacation, but more, 89%, felt recharged after taking a vacation. Ditto for “increased personal happiness” (93% vs. 78%); “reduce stress” (86% vs. 77%); “have more energy” (81% vs. 56%); “improve health” (78% vs. 53%) and several other similar categories where the actual results of vacations far exceeded expectations.

Notably, only 41% thought that a vacation would make them “a better person,” but 72% – nearly double – came home believing they were a better person.

Other interesting stats: fully two-third of vacationers who are employed said they refuse to check email on vacation, far more than I would have expected in our highly wired age, but the the minority that did check was fervent, and most checked at least daily. There is apparently a big digital divide at the beach. 71% of Americans surveyed vacationed as a regular annual event, and more than half, 56%, felt doctors should be able to write notes prescribing vacations. At the very least this might shift dollars away from the Florida prescription pill mills and to doctors known for being an easy touch when it comes to a vacation Rx.

Personally, as a travel writer whose livelihood is based on other people taking vacations, I have to admit to a vested interest when I say I am 100% in favor of people taking more vacations – the more the merrier.

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