Holiday Planning – the joy of anticipation

Looking forward to the release of the next instalment in your favourite book or television series. Going to watch a long-anticipated movie. Planning a holiday. Building or buying a new home. Preparing to welcome a new pet into the family. Planning a wedding or other event. Awaiting the arrival of a new baby. What do all these have in common? The joy of anticipation.

I’m a planner. I love preparing for a special event. The excitement slowly builds as the details come together and the vision of the finished product feeds your energy, sometimes for many months or even years.

I must admit I have been guilty of thinking about my next holiday even before I finish my current one and love to have a new adventure of some sort to look forward to. It’s the proverbial carrot on a stick which keeps me working and saving towards a tangible goal.

Dutch quality of life research found holiday makers have a higher happiness rating than others. Happiness gradually rises during the planning phase, peaks during the holiday itself and returns to a lower level post-holiday.

Anyone who has experienced a post-holiday slump and struggled to return to reality understands the after holiday period is not always an easy one, although it is fun reliving your recent adventures with travel-loving friends. I love to hear others’ travel tales and am more than happy to share my own.

I love researching, planning and booking my own holidays and have been known to

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stretch this process out for many months. I well understand the happiness involved in planning. The excitement builds as flights, accommodation and activities are discovered, considered and booked and the holiday spreadsheet grows. The joy of anticipation keeps me going. “… Anticipation played an important role in explaining the observed differences in pre-trip happiness between vacationers and non-vacationers … For most, the enjoyment starts weeks, even months before the holiday actually begins.” (Nawjin et al. 2010)

Nawjin suggests that the experience of a “pre-trip high” may be explained by an innate wanderlust, possibly originating from a hunter-gatherer past where seasonal movement was essential for survival.

Finally, I have an excuse for my wanderlust – it’s been genetically pre-programmed for generations!

Anna xo


J. Nawjin, M.A.Marchand, R. Veenhoven, A.J. Vingerhoets, 2010. Vacationers Happier, but Most not Happier After a Holiday. In Applied Research In Quality of Life.

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