The state of the American vacation is simply abysmal. As Travel + Leisure previously reported, nearly half of workers in the United States leave vacation days unused — and when they do take a vacation, they tend only to enjoy a four-day break.
It’s time to change all that. And we have the science to prove it.According to research published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, the ideal length of a vacation is exactly eight days.
As the researchers noted, a vacationer will feel an increase of happiness over the first several days of vacation, with that feeling peaking on the eighth day, The Times-Picayune explained. Moreover, an eight-day trip gives travelers enough time to unpack, get their bearings, and settle into a new, more relaxed routine.
After the eighth day, those positive vibes and wellness benefits start to taper off, according to the researchers' findings.
As the researchers noted in their conclusion, "It takes some time to wind down after a stressful work period and acclimatize to vacation."
And the benefits of an eight-day vacation may be well-worth the time off sacrifice, as travelers will discover they're sleeping better, feeling diminished stress, and experiencing an overall feeling of wellbeing long after returning home.
And really, for these reasons alone we should all be planning to take longer vacations.
"Asking why we should keep going on vacations is...comparable to asking why we should go to sleep considering the fact that we get tired again," the study noted.
But this doesn’t mean you need to pack your bags for an around the world getaway. Even people who choose to stay close to home (staycation, anyone?), will reap the same physical and psychological rewards.
Simply taking time away from what stresses you out, be it work or responsibilities around the house, will likely provide you with the same positive benefits as an eight-day trip abroad. Of course, taking off a large block of PTO days can help you experience some exciting, more far-flung destinations.
Now that you're ready to request eight full days away from your desk, it's time to craft the perfect out of office e-mail.