How to Have the Happiest Holiday

Research confirms that experiences make us happier than things, and going on holiday is an excellent way to enjoy a new experience! You will be able to joyfully anticipate your travels, enjoy them in the moment, and reminisce fondly about them after they are over. But how can you make the most of your travels to extract the biggest happiness boost of all?

Here are some tips to maximise the happiness you gain while travelling.

1. Start planning early

Planning early will not only minimise any last-minute surprises and stress, but also allow you to enjoy the happiness boost from anticipating your holiday as early as possible. In fact, people sometimes derive more enjoyment from looking forward to an occasion than the occasion itself! Make the most of it.

2. Pay in advance

If you pay in advance, studies show you will enjoy the moment more. Rather than dreading a large bill at the end of your travels, by paying in advance, you free your mind to focus on having fun.

3. Travel with friends 

A vacation with family or friends offers the highest gratification because social experiences bring greater joy than solitary pleasures. Invite your loved ones to join you on vacation, and revel in their company.

4. Put your phone away

Did you know that even having your phone on the table when you’re out with friends reduces the pleasure you get from the experience? Avoid the magnetic pull of your smartphone by keeping it out of sight while you absorb the beauty of your destination and delight in the company of your travel companions.

5. Take photographs 

Taking photos can actually help you enjoy an experience more. What’s more, it will also assist you in reliving those joyful moments when you’re back home, multiplying the pleasure you get from your vacation. Go on – get clicking!

6. Choose new experiences over shopping 

If you’re choosing between visiting a mall and exploring a new culture/cuisine/locale, always choose exploration. Due to a phenomenon called hedonic adaptation, people stop valuing material items over time. Great memories, on the other hand, last a lifetime!

7. Be a voluntourist

Consider devoting a few days from your next vacation to give back to the community, whether it’s working with children, the environment, or supporting economic projects. 94% of volunteers say it improves their mood, and 96% say it enriches their sense of purpose. And, across 136 countries, donating to charity has a similar impact on happiness as doubling household income! 

8. Be an eco-traveller

Make your travels more meaningful by travelling locally, off-season, and in groups, and by choosing eco-hotels. Pack light but take your own toiletries and water bottle. Try to reuse your linens and towels during your stay, and plan to wash your clothes at home on return. You will enjoy a happiness boost from knowing your travels had a minimal impact on the planet.

Follow these eight tips to make the most of your holiday experience. Happy travels!

Read more ideas on how to live a happy, healthy and successful life in my book Cheat Sheets for Life: Over 750 hacks for health, happiness and success. Get it now on Amazon for only $2.99:

About the author:

Ayesha Ratnayake (MBA, Chartered Marketer) is the author of ‘Cheat Sheets for Life: Over 750 hacks for health, happiness and success’. She is a Sri Lankan born in Fiji with 10+ years of experience in marketing and management. Ayesha is a startup mentor and a mental health advocate.