For many people, the year is very unevenly split into 1) being on vacation and 2) wishing you were on vacation. The bad news: you probably won’t get more vacation days anytime soon. The good news: Vacation Anticipation can be just as good as the real thing, according to research.
A Dutch study from back in 2010 found – surprisingly – that people who just return from vacation are no happier than those who’ve been on the grind back in the office. The vacationers were happier than their non-vacationing cubicle mates, however, in the time leading up to the trip.
So how can we maximize pleasure during this anticipation phase, especially considering that it lasts roughly 355 days out of the year?
Stephanie Rosenbloom at The New York Times offers a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach to making the most of your vacation anticipation. And you should probably start doing most of them today.
This one is fun. Depending on your where you're going, put together a playlist of songs related to the place and listen to it in the days leading up to your trip. But instead of naming your playlists “Rome” or “Vegas” as recommended, go for something more subtle, like “F*ckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt” (“Hov just landed in ROME…”) or "Houstalantavegas" (covers multiple destinations). Then share them on Spotify to make people jealous.
Be social about it
Talking with your friends about upcoming trips is one of the best ways to increase happiness, Rosenbloom writes. This strategy should be carefully deployed; most people probably don't want to hear about the incredible trip you're about to take when they're stuck in the office. If you want to be extra annoying about it, include a vacation countdown on your Facebook page for all to see.
Annoying or not, is there anything more fun in the world than planning a trip with friends and constantly G-chatting, Google Doc-ing/planning your itinerary? Do you.
Immerse yourself in the culture
Reading "history, philosophy, fiction and poetry while also combing through fashion, food and technology blogs," as Rosenbloom recommends, sounds ambitious. But feel free to tailor your cultural immersion to fit your own needs and interests. For instance, if you're going to Cabo for Spring Break, why not check out this video tutorial on How to Drink Tequila?
Or if you're headed to Amsterdam, take some time familiarizing yourself with this interactive map of cannabis coffee shops.
Finally, remember: even if your actual vacation doesn't live up to the fantasy you built up in your head, you at least made the most of the anticipation phase.
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.