Individuals in affluent societies generally have their basic human needs met. Consequently, these people seek greater happiness. One way to become happier is by choosing between certain types of leisure activities. This dissertation investigated how leisure travel affects individuals’ subjective wellbeing. Findings indicate that vacationers are happier, in terms of emotions, than non-vacationers. Furthermore, vacationers feel much better during vacation compared to everyday life. Post-trip effects on emotions are minimal. People return to their baseline immediately or within two weeks after return. Leisure travel has no effect on one’s overall life satisfaction. Changes in trip frequency or days spent on vacation fail to impact life satisfaction. This even holds when zooming in on individuals who value vacationing. These findings can be explained by a possible poor tourism product. One that appeals mostly to deficiency needs, but does not encourage individuals to grow. Furthermore, leisure travel may fulfill a wish rather than a need. Wanting to travel seems more appealing than the actual travel, in particular when it comes to the immediate pre-trip and post-trip phases. Future research should focus on developing positive interventions, address personality congruency and study effects of tourism flows on the host community’s happiness.

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R. Veenhoven (Ruut)
Erasmus University Rotterdam , NRIT Media, Nieuwegein
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Nawijn, J. (2012, May 29). Leisure Travel and Happiness: An Empirical Study into the Effect of Holiday Trips on Individuals’ Subjective Wellbeing. Retrieved from