Summer is in full swing, so it’s only natural that we spend every waking minute thinking about going on holiday, right? As well as tough decision over where to go, you also need to consider how long to go for.
What length of time will make you feel the most relaxed? A long weekend, a week, or even longer? Well, new research by a team at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands has determined just that.
The research, which has been published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, explored the effects of holiday length on health and wellbeing and how it linked to positive after-effects.
As Country Living explains, the team wanted to find out if there was a perfect length of holiday time that will provide travellers with the maximum beneficial effect on their health and wellbeing. The results? The ideal holiday length is longer than eight days. Let’s explore the research in more detail...
In particular, the research focused on longer holidays, ranging from 15 to an envy-inducing 34 days, with an average of 23 days. All of the 54 participants reported their health and wellbeing before, during, and five times after the holiday, looking at six factors - health status, fatigue, satisfaction, mood, tension, and energy level.
This enabled the researchers to look at the psychological processes associated with a long break and how it can impact the development of health and wellbeing during and after the vacation.
Unsurprisingly, health and wellbeing were found to rapidly increase during the holiday time, but it peaked on the eighth day. Again, predictably, the researchers found that health and wellbeing returned to baseline level within one week of returning to work.
The authors noted: “Vacation experiences, especially pleasure, relaxation, savouring and control, seem to be especially important for the strength and persistence of vacation (after-) effects.”
But the research didn’t stop there. As the positive impact holidays have on our health and wellbeing can fade after just a week, taking more “frequent respites” could be the answer for longer-term happiness. Instead of saving up for one big holiday, the researchers suggest holidaymakers could reap more long-term effects if they take more frequent shorter breaks, rather than going on one long vacation every year. As if we needed an excuse to go on more holidays!
Whether you prefer short city breaks or longer beach holidays, the aim of the game is relaxation. Make sure you stay zen by getting yourself and your loved ones covered against any eventuality with the right travel insurance policy. Even if you have a pre-existing medical condition, Medical Travel Compared can help you find the best deal.