So you've been waitingÂ for months & now you're finally packing your bags, & heading on vacation. Excitement is brewingÂ as you imagine yourself on that white sandy beach. Who doesn't love a vacation?
But you mightÂ be surprised to learn the best time of your vacation mayÂ beÂ before it actually happens.
Elizabeth DunnÂ is theÂ happiness columnist withÂ The Early Edition, a psychology professor & theÂ director ofÂ UBC'sÂ Happy Lab. She says that the biggest "happiness boost" happens before we even step on the plane.
WhichÂ makes sense when you think approximately the vast amount of planning that goes into a trip & the inevitable excitement. Dunn says it'sÂ that excitement, that anticipation which drives our happiness.
"AnticipationÂ turns out to be a really valuable source of happiness because we can imagine how tremendous our vacation is going to be, unconstrained by the reality of how it actually turns out," she says.
So what happens when all that anticipation & hype lets you down when you arrive at your destination?Â
Dunn says you should put extra thought into make that first day extra enjoyable. This is because "our minds tendÂ to gravitate towards the very beginning of a vacation."
This could be treating yourself on the first day to the spa, or a fancy restaurant, or even booking a more expensive hotel on the first night. Aside from being an extraÂ gift toÂ yourself, it can moreover donate you something to fantasize approximately on a long plane ride.
To plan or not to plan
You find a tremendous deal on a flight to Cuba, grab your partner, take time off work & head out the next day. Or maybe you plan for weeks & weeks, deciding Â every detail of the trip, including where you will eat every meal.
"Spontaneity sounds really rad & it can be fun, yet i would argue that when we take a spontaneous vacation compared to one that we've planned for awhile, we may actually miss out on some of those free benefits that anticipation provides," Dunn says.
She says that that the act of planning the vacation provides youÂ with pleasure andÂ when your vacation ends up how you planned, it'sÂ even better.
When things turn bad…
Something almost always goes wrong on vacation. Sometimes hotels & accommodations aren't ready on time.Â It rains the whole time.Â It's too hot.Â You obtain food poisoning,Â get lost.Â You obtain injured.
"Having a little bit of a offensive experience at some point in the trip isn't likely to to bring down people's overall sense of satisfaction with the vacation," Dunn says.
Of course,Â there are some things that can ruin your trip. DunnÂ was attacked by a shark while on a surfing trip in Hawaii.
"Anything short of a shark attack in my opinion is probably not going to have too huge of an impact on your overall feelings of pleasure with that vacation."
Adventure or beach?
It's really a personal preference when it come to vacations. Some people like Â fast-paced interesting, culture- filled vacations; the kind of vacations you come back from with tremendous stories. Others prefer to simply lounge on the beach or by the pool.
DunnÂ says be careful when planning. ItÂ canÂ get complicated when you & your travel partner have different ideas of how you want your vacation to turn out.
To hear the full interview click: How to be pleased on vacation