Around this time last year, a study came out that said having a vacation on the horizon boosts your happiness significantly during the eight weeks leading up to it. This rang true for me. I had just booked a flight to McCarran International Airport, and then, I bought something even more exciting: Fodor’s Las Vegas 2010.
I am a sucker for a good guide book. Paging through one of these, armed with highlighters and sticky notes, is what triggers my pre-vacation happiness boost. I love picking out the tastiest restaurants, the bars with the best beers, the clubs that sound the least sketchy. I let my imagination run wild, picturing myself cramming an unrealistic number of meals, drinks, and dance parties into my limited vacation time.
I was telling a friend about this recently, and she said, “Ugh, I could never go on vacation with you. I am way more laid-back.” She misinterpreted my love of guide books. Just because I have some idea of what I might want to do doesn’t mean I am anal about doing it all. Plans change, often for the better. When my friends and I got free passes to a different club than the one Fodor’s said was best, we saved $20 and time waiting in line and still had a great night. But, when we didn’t know where to go for dinner on our last night there, it was Guide Book Geek to the rescue. Burger Bar – relatively close to our hotel and a Fodor’s Choice restaurant – served up one delicious buffalo burger with cheddar, avocado, and jalapeno bacon.
I have a couple trips for work coming up, and I’m getting almost as much anticipation-joy out of them as I get from real vacations. I’m going to be at Disney World Friday through Monday, and I’ve already determined which rides I need to fit into my schedule. (The Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster sounds about 100x more awesome than anything I went on when I was there 15 years ago.) Once I return, I can start marking up my guide to Barcelona, where I will be visiting for a week in early June. Why spend only eight weeks getting excited about a vacation when you could spend three months?