Research paper

Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 651-665

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

Happiness Through Vacationing: Just a Temporary Boost or Long-Term Benefits?

  • Jeroen NawijnAffiliated withAcademy for Tourism, Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Transport, NHTV Breda University of Applied SciencesFaculty of Social Sciences, World Database of Happiness, Erasmus University Rotterdam Email author 

Abstract

Does vacationing add to our happiness in the long run? This question was addressed in a study of 3,650 Dutch citizens who reported their leisure travel every 3 months during 2 years and rated their happiness at the end of each year. Participants who had been on vacation appeared to be marginally happier, in terms of hedonic level of affect, than those who had not. This difference in Affect balance between vacationers and non-vacationers is probably due to a very minor causal effect of vacationing on hedonic level of affect. Possibly, vacationing is positively reminisced and these memories allow for the prevalence of more positive affect in people’s lives. Happiness did not predict vacationing. The effect of holiday trips on vacationers’ happiness is mostly short-lived; among vacationers, happiness was unrelated to the number of trips and days spent on vacation. A separate analysis of vacationers, who value vacationing most, yielded the same results. Implications for future research are discussed.

Keywords

Affect Holiday trips Longitudinal Subjective well-being Tourism