5 Things You Didn't Know About Taking a Vacation


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — At first glance, it's not exactly a shocker when Americans say they link vacations with happiness.

Of course they do, and in big numbers. Expedia , the Bellevue, Wash., online travel firm says that 86% of U.S. love their vacations because they make them happy.

Evidently, the more one vacations, the sunnier their disposition. Expedia says that those "happy" trip-takers are more likely to take three or more vacations annually.

But it goes further. Here are five surprising superlatives about travel:

It's better than the happiest day of your life. U.S. adults who take a regular vacation say their trips make them happier than their marriages, weddings, birthdays and religions. Vacations even surpass the happiness associated with owning a cat among U.S consumers, Expedia says. "I love my husband, and I love my cat, but like most Americans, I love them both more when I'm on the beach — with my husband of course, not the cat," says Sarah Gavin, a travel expert at Expedia.com.

Travel means better sex. According to the Expedia Travel Index (and let's never forget that Expedia wants you to travel — that's why it's in business), sex is better away from home. More than 88% of U.S. Travel consumers say they have more physical intimacy and better sex while on vacation, and that loving feeling doesn't go away soon; Expedia says the romantic lives of constant vacationers are improved for up to four years after a trip ... but only as long as you keep taking those vacations.

Travel is better with a loved one. Americans who travel alone are much less likely to report feeling happy about a vacation compared with vacationers who go as a couple. Married couples, in particular, report high levels of happiness and contentment after taking a vacation.

Atlantic City is better than Rome. What travel destinations triggers the most bliss? Expedia ranks Atlantic City first, followed by the Florida Keys, the Oregon Coast, and Cape Cod in the "top five." Expedia doesn't say why Atlantic City ranks ahead of Barcelona (eighth on the list) and Rome (10th on the list), but the lower cost associated with traveling domestically may keep bank savings accounts healthier, thus contributing to overall happiness.

Travel is better for men than women. This one qualifies as an eye-opener, but guys come back from a trip happier than their girlfriends or spouses. Expedia says that's because men travel more than women (four trips annually versus three), and when they go away on vacation they tend to stay away longer — up to five nights longer than women.

How about a bonus takeaway?

Expedia says travelers, men and women alike, tend to have happier vacations if they check into their offices less often or, better yet, not at all. Pulling the plug is important for harried workers, so the more you disconnect from the office, the better your mindset and the slower your pulse on vacation.

— By Brian O'Connell

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