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Vacations boost pleasure, Expedia study finds

Vicky Karantzavelou - 08 May 2013, 11:36

While unsurprising that vacations bring happiness, what is surprising are the institutions that vacations surpass. Americans report that vacations make them happier than their marriages, their religions, weddings, birthdays and even their cats.

BELLEVUE, WASH. - Expedia.com released the results of an online survey conducted on their behalf by Harris Interactive, which was designed to examine the link between vacations and happiness. The Expedia Pleasure Index found that consumers link their personal happiness to vacations. 86% of Americans pair the two, and those who vacation three or more times per year are more likely to do so than those who travel two or fewer times.

While unsurprising that vacations bring happiness, what is surprising are the institutions that vacations surpass. Americans report that vacations make them happier than their marriages, their religions, weddings, birthdays and even their cats. (The news is not all bad for cats: the study revealed that consumers who have never taken a vacation are more likely to say that cats make them happy than those who have gone on vacation within the past year.)

Expedia has formally launched its 2013 Summer Sale (details follow) to help consumers find the happiness they crave.

"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," said Sarah Gavin, Expedia Travel Expert, Expedia.com. "Investing in a vacation is one of the best ways to bring more pleasure into your life. The good news is that Expedia has more programs than ever to save money on packages and last minute deals through mobile and Expedia ASAP, so you get all the pleasure with none of the guilt. You can even give the gift of pleasure with our Groupon Getaways with Expedia program or get a voucher for yourself – stocking up on pleasure at a great discount is an investment in your marriage, your job and your whole life."

The Expedia Pleasure Index was conducted online within the United States between March 19-21, 2013, among 2,076 adults ages 18 and older by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia. Full details on the 2013 Expedia Pleasure Index can be found on Expedia's Media Room.

When consumers go on vacation, they report an increase in their libido
Among vacationers who take any vacations in a typical year with their spouse or partner, "pleasure" is taken literally: 88% report being at least somewhat likely to be intimate. On the whole, nearly 40% of Americans who take any vacations in a typical year and have a spouse/partner report being "somewhat to much more likely" to be intimate while on vacation. Only 12% report being "somewhat or much less likely."

Vacations correlate to a happy love life even when couples are not traveling. Those who have taken a vacation within the past year, or even within the past four years, are more likely to be satisfied with their love life than those who have not gone on a vacation in five years or more.

Third time's the charm
The Expedia Pleasure Index revealed that those who vacation three or more times per year are more likely to be satisfied with their love life than those who take vacation two or fewer times.

This may be obvious
For couples looking to use vacations to spur their love life, time together on vacation is critical. Those who traveled with their spouse – and only their spouse – on their last vacation are "much more likely" to indicate that they are satisfied with their love life than those who took their last vacation alone, or traveled with family or friends only. Also, married individuals who traveled with their spouse only on their past vacation are "much more likely" to associate vacation with their overall happiness than those who spent the past vacation alone.

Top destinations for pleasure
While couples in search of pleasure tend to head to the same destinations as most Americans, some destinations stand out as "top trend cities" this year. In essence, they over index on couples. They include:
- Atlantic City
- Florida Keys
- Oregon Coast
- Cape Cod, MA
- Sedona, AZ
- Santa Barbara
- Palm Springs
- Barcelona (SPA)
- Charleston, SC
- Rome (IT)

The pleasure of a free vacation
Expedia is encouraging travelers to take that much-needed vacation with kickoff of its 2013 Summer Sale. The 2013 Summer Sale begins on May 7 and runs through September 2. Participating customers can use a MasterCard card when booking a package or a standalone hotel and have the chance to get the trip for free. One winner will be selected each day over a period of three months.

More than four in five U.S. adults take at least one vacation in a given year
Men take more pleasure in vacations than do women, according to the Expedia Pleasure Index. Overall, the average number of vacations[2] per year is three – men who vacation take four vacations per year on average, while women take three. Men also take longer vacations; on average, men take two vacations per year that are five nights or longer, while women only take one such break per year. (Over six in ten U.S. adults – 63% – define a vacation as 4-7 days in length; only 6% of consumers were willing to call a 1-2 day break a "vacation.") A third (34%) of Americans who have ever taken a vacation visited an urban/city destination during their most recent vacation, while 27% visited the beach and 13% visited the countryside.

While the impact of vacation on overall happiness is clear, Americans' general sense of their own happiness was more mixed. Less than half (45%) of employed Americans report a general level of satisfaction with their job, and a similar number of Americans (47%) report satisfaction with their love life.

Americans often find it difficult to leave their work behind when they head off on vacation.
Those who check in with work once a day or more while on vacation are much more likely to indicate a high stress level than those who check in fewer than once per day, or not at all.

More than half of employed vacationers who take any vacations in a typical year make a habit of checking in with the office. Roughly one third (32%) of these vacationers check in at least once a day. 59% of men make a habit of checking in with the office, versus 49% of women. However, a full 46% of employed Americans who take any vacations in a typical year report that they "never" check in with work while on vacation.

Those employed Americans who have taken a vacation within the past year are more likely to be satisfied with their job than those who have not taken a vacation in five years or more.

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