Planning a Trip is Good For You Even if You Don’t Go

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A few days ago I read a blog post that listed some strange statistics. It claimed that 80% of people were so stressed to plan a trip that they would rather cancel it to avoid said stress. Now don’t get me wrong, I have felt stress while planning trips… but I’d like to share some different statistics with you. It turns out that planning a trip makes us really happy, and not just about the upcoming trip.

“It’s statistically proven that time spent planning vacation directly correlates with greater happiness in your personal and professional lives, as depicted in the chart below.”


Pre-Trip Happiness

Is there a reason I’m talking about traveling when so many of us are still house-bound? Yes! I swear I’m not trying to torture you with a trip you can’t take. The whole point is that there’s scientific evidence that proves that planning a trip can make you happier than actually going.

That’s why I’m suggesting that you plan a trip right now! It can be your dream trip or a realistic trip that you can take once travel is possible again. The point it, it doesn’t actually matter, as long as you are planning and dreaming. Because that might make you happier than going on your actual dream trip.

“More and more, we’re learning that waiting for something—and working hard to get it—gives us pleasure and makes what we purchase feel more valuable.”

Nat Hab

2010 Study – Applied Research in Quality of Life

It’s not just a theory that planning a trip makes us happy. In 2010 a study was done on people who were planning a trip. The results were unexpected. Although travel and taking time off has many positive effects on one’s health, happiness occurs before the trip more than during or after.

“The aim of this study was to obtain 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 the return. Generally, there is no difference between vacationers’ and non-vacationers’ post-trip happiness.”



Plan a trip! Any trip. Realistic or not. Even if you end up taking a spontaneous trip instead, take the time to plan a trip. Set the dates and get excited! If the studies are correct, the planning process will make you happy even if it’s all just a dream.

“The Travel Secrets survey polled more than 9,000 adults from five countries to analyze cultural vacation habits. It found that 69 percent of Americans have done vacation research during work hours, which is more than any other nation in the study. But the sad part? While we spend most of our workdays researching trips, we don’t actually go on them. 42 percent of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day in 2014, according to a poll from Skift.”


These Americans are definitely doing something right. Although I strongly recommend that they actually DO take some time off, planning trips is probably what keeps them sane. After living in China and having a pretty miserable daily life, the monthly weekend trips kept me going! So I can personally attest to pre-trip happiness.

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