You may think that the perfect getaway is out of reach. But worry not! Summer hasn’t ended yet.
But before rushing to that relaxing paradise, did you ever feel twice as bad when you returned home from a vacation? It’s like a fleeting moment only to return back to your horrible hedonic treadmill.
You weren’t relaxed at all and happiness didn’t last for so long. Why bother going when you will just go back to this miserable cycle, right?
Hold on! It’s too early to quit on vacationing. Aside from multiple health benefits, it will certainly give you happiness. Maybe you are just not vacationing efficiently as one should have?
To bring more bang from your buck, here is how to make most out of your vacations.
Understanding Our Psyche: Buying Experiences, Not Things
Buying Experiences, Not Things. We all know this. It’s not just for the wanderlust of Millennials, it’s true for almost all the people on this planet.
In fact, studies show that experiences have more worth than material things. When we buy material things, we might be excited for a few moments, maybe two weeks at best. And it’s gone afterward. The utility we gain is now averaged back to how we felt when we don’t have it. We cycled back to the hedonic treadmill.
But it is different with experiences. When we try new things (like must-dos when we travel), we not only buy a good time, we purchase stories. These stories carry emotion. Happiness, Awe, Excitement. Name it.
We are able to share these stories with our friends and family members. And how did that make you feel? You recount the feelings you felt when those happened. These stories coupled with the emotion live on as long as you can remember them. Can you expect that with material things? I don’t think so.
With that, let us prolong our happiness by playing with this human tendency. Here is what you can do.
Before the Vacation: Play on The Anticipation
I’m not sure about you. But nothing gets me so excited than an upcoming holiday. Think about all the places you can go too. The change in scenery. The amazing food. The wonderful people!
It is best to play on this emotion. Try this when you’re about to explode from stress.
“20 more days before my flight to Iceland. I can do this.”
Isn’t it the best mantra for a challenging day? Go on. Build your vacation up to yourself. Feel the happiness it can give you. It can almost make you invincible to life’s complications.
Planning Stage: Have A Flexible Itinerary
An itinerary is essential in traveling especially if it’s for a short vacation. The worst thing you can do is going there blindly. The place will not magically show up to you when you don’t explore it. And you want to explore it as efficiently as possible.
On the other hand, the most stressful thing you can create is a super tight itinerary. Pretty much like a marathon leaving you with no sleep and so much exhaustion afterward. Know that you are here to unwind and heal, not to be running for one landmark to the other.
You have to strike a balance. Have a doable itinerary, probably something with a slow pace. And in case of emergencies, make it a flexible one. Not everything goes in our way. And being open to that notion, makes us accept the mini-setbacks and be happy moving forward nonetheless.
Primacy and Recency Effect: Start and End With a Bang
There have been studies that point out that the start and end of the vacation determine the most impact.
This is because of the serial-position effect (primacy and recency effect). In layman’s terms, people recall most the first and last thing they saw and experienced.
The primacy effect relates to the beginning of an experience. This is the reason why we remember first impressions and such. With that, the feel of the vacation should be set by the first few days of it. If you are happy by then, most likely you will remember having fun when you recall the memory.
On the other hand, the recency effect pertains to our tendency to remember the last thing as more important than the rest. That’s why when you recall your vacation; the lasting memory is that one activity you did last. Better make it the worthwhile then.
You don’t need to be in the most expensive and most luxurious place. What’s important are the emotions and memories you will hold on after once the pleasurable escape is over.
With that, we wish you a fun and meaningful vacation!