Six research-backed tips to have a great vacation

Research has shown the the best length for vacation is between 3 to 6 days: "People on mid-length holidays of between three to six days tended to report more positive mood than those on shorter or longer trips." This is one of six sensible tips to make your vacation as enjoyable as possible Barking Up the Wrong Tree from Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

  1. Anticipate: It brings more happiness than the trip itself because that awful thing called "reality" can't get in the way… and leave your luggage in Abu Dhabi.
  2. Avoid the 2 big mistakes: Think about your personality and who you'll be going with. And keep the trip between 3 to 6 days. (Especially if you need to change your contact lenses and they're currently drying out in Abu Dhabi.)
  3. Schedule lots of fun stuff: Frequency beats intensity when it comes to happiness. So plan lots of cool activities and take tons of great photos. (And then find solace in just how many other people are using the "#stillnoluggage" hashtag on Instagram.)
  4. Savor: Unless it's to call Air Berlin customer service for the 47th time, put the smartphone down and enjoy yourself.
  5. Use the "peak-end" rule: Your brain is going to remember the peak and the end, so plan them. Don't let the emotional high point be finally finding some deodorant.
  6. Ease back into work: (No explanation for this one. I'm taking it easy.)

"Schedule lots of fun stuff" is something Carla and I did on our recent (6 day) trip to Tokyo. It was so much more enjoyable than previous trips where we didn't have much planned and the days just blurred into each other. That said, it's important to have some unstructured time, too, just to wander around.