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Science Says This Is How Long Your Holiday Should Last

Picture of Alex Jordan
Travel Editor
Updated: 25 July 2018
Ever wondered how long a holiday should last for maximum happiness? Experts at Finland’s University of Tampere say there’s a science to taking a vacation.

The group of psychologists at Tampere found that the number of days away has no effect on post-vacation blues or bliss, but in-the-moment happiness peaks on day eight of a trip.

Somewhat disappointingly, the research shows that the positive effects of a vacation ‘have faded out on the first work day within the first week of work resumption’.

© Ditty_about_summer/Shutterstock
© Ditty_about_summer/Shutterstock

However, if you’re planning to go away, then between seven and 11 days should give you enough time to totally unwind and enjoy the trip to the fullest.

In their 2012 study, the scientists from Finland revealed: ‘Our results showed that health and wellness rapidly increase after the start of the holiday and seemed to peak on the eighth vacation day’.

As to why this might be, the most popular theory is that it takes time for the body and mind to unwind and forget about work. By the eighth day you’ve forgotten all about emails, reports and deadlines, and have acclimatised to your surroundings.

Experts also suggest taking several medium-length breaks throughout the year, instead of saving them up for one month-long vacation. ‘Frequent respites might be more important to preserve well-being than the duration of one single recovery episode.’