Thinking About Your Vacation This Way Will Make It Feel Longer (Says Science)

Updated 08/07/17

There are times when a vacation goes by so fast that the poignant sting of leaving is almost not worth the trip. But per a study published in The Journal of Consumer Research, this feeling all boils down to a simple mind-set mistake (that's incredibly common).

As Insider puts it, "how long or short your vacation—or any positive experience—feels has a lot to do with how you think." More specifically, categorizing certain experiences in your mind can make them feel shorter. "This might be a good thing to do during a stressful work week, but not on your already-too-short vacation," they add.

They give the example of vacationing in London. You plan on visiting the British Museum, seeing a play on the West End, going to Wimbledon, and seeing a local football match during your stay. "Separating these activities into two categories as 'arts' and 'sports' will actually make your vacation feel shorter," they explain. Rather, you should mix up the activities; if you can look forward to both types of events each day, rather than checking "sports" off your list one day and "art" off on the next, you'll extend the positive experience.

This all relates back to a theory by psychologist Marc Wittman, author of Felt Time: The Psychology of How We Perceive Time. He argues that you can make a positive experience, like a vacation, seem longer by seeking out new and memorable experiences and not planning so much, which will lessen your chances of unconsciously breaking your trip up into categories.

Head over to Insider for more, and add your two cents on the study below.

Related Stories