Applied Research in Quality of Life

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 35-47

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday

  • Jeroen NawijnAffiliated withFaculty of Social Sciences, Erasmus University RotterdamAcademy for Tourism, Breda University of Applied Sciences Email author 
  • , Miquelle A. MarchandAffiliated withCentERdata, Tilburg University
  • , Ruut VeenhovenAffiliated withFaculty of Social Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • , Ad J. VingerhoetsAffiliated withFaculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Tilburg University


The aim of this study was to obtain a greater insight into the association between vacations and happiness. We examined whether vacationers differ in happiness, compared to those not going on holiday, and if a holiday trip boosts post-trip happiness. These questions were addressed in a pre-test/post-test design study among 1,530 Dutch individuals. 974 vacationers answered questions about their happiness before and after a holiday trip. Vacationers reported a higher degree of pre-trip happiness, compared to non-vacationers, possibly because they are anticipating their holiday. Only a very relaxed holiday trip boosts vacationers’ happiness further after return. Generally, there is no difference between vacationers’ and non-vacationers’ post-trip happiness. The findings are explained in the light of set-point theory, need theory and comparison theory.


Happiness Holiday stress Quality of life Subjective well-being Tourism