Planning a Trip

Vacay on the Brain

Last week, one of my favourite blogs (other than this one, of course) posted a really interesting read about planning and gearing up for vacations. She talks about some recent studies that have found that vacation anticipation makes people just as happy as actually going on vacation. And that even the simple act of PLANNING a vacation, makes us happier than actually taking one. At first, as I read this from the constant blizzard that is Ottawa, I was unsure – a trip sounded pretty nice.

Photo courtesy of the Ottawa Citizen: Ottawa statue in the snow, 2013. Aka, how I feel on a daily basis.

Photo courtesy of the Ottawa Citizen: Ottawa statue in the snow, 2013. Aka, how I feel on a daily basis.

But, I started thinking about years past where vacations were actually in my budget and realized that the pre-emptive steps to planning a vacation does make you really happy. When I was in the process of planning for my three-week jaunt to Europe, half the fun was reading the information provided by the tour company, reading travel stories and looking at pictures of the famous sights that I was soon to see. There was no rushing from plane to train to bus. There was no travel exhaustion. There was just me, my imagination and a set of rose-coloured glasses that glazed past the sometimes stressful travel scenarios.

The same can be said for vacation anticipation; I can vividly remember being so excited for the various all-inclusive trips I took down south during my “money grows on trees” stage. Back in the days of MSN Messenger, my status started a count-down approximately 100 days away from my departure date. And, with each passing day, my mind was again filled with the fantasies of being pool side with a drink in hand, easily skipping over the reality of sub-par food and pretty serious sunburns.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not bashing my travels in the slightest; I wouldn’t change the opportunities I’ve had to see the world for anything. But, I think it’s interesting how the mind works. How often on the third day of a week-long trip are you bummed out because you only have 4 days left? Or, how many times have you heard people return from vacation with beach-blues, explaining that, “they have nothing left to look forward to?”

Where I stayed in Jamaica... It was devastating to leave.

Where I stayed in Jamaica… It was devastating to leave.

Like Jo, the blogger who turned me onto this information, these newfound facts make me feel better about my incessant need to plan – maybe I’m really making the most out of my vacations by soaking in the good vibes that the pre-process can provide. Although, when I face facts, I think I’d skip the planning and hop on a plane today, given the chance…

What do you think? Do you get the rush from pre-planning and anticipating vacations? Does it make you happier than being on vacation itself? Let us know your thoughts in the comments, below!

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