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Good Question: Do Vacations Make Us Happier?

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(credit: CBS) Esme Murphy
Esme Murphy, a reporter and Sunday morning anchor for WCCO-TV, has...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, and, for many of us, that means it’s vacation time.

In fact, a Harris Interactive Survey found that 84 percent of Americans are planning to take a summer vacation. But do vacations make us happier?

Jo and Mike Etter, of Minneapolis, said the warm day Monday made it feel like summer. Jo Etter said she thinks vacations make her happier. But a Dutch study says otherwise.

The study, which surveyed the happiness of those who had just taken vacations and those that hadn’t, found no difference.

The study found one group of vacationers did get a boost of happiness that lasted two weeks. They were the ones who described their vacations as stress-free.

A.J. Knapp, of Red Wing, said some vacations can become worrisome, especially when one is always scheduling things and trying adhere to itineraries.

The study found that for most vacationers happiness peaked before — not after — their vacation.

“I love planning vacations,” Jo Etter said. “It’s a blast looking forward to it.”

And while anticipation brought the most joy, the aftermath of the vacation brought the biggest downer.

“It’s kind of like back to reality,” Knapp said. “You snap back into the different mindset of you’re not on vacation anymore.”

The Harris survey also found that Americans say they plan to spend less money on vacations than they did last year.

To read the survey study, click here.

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