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Leave Worries Behind When Packing for Vacation

Last Updated: August 01, 2009.

Absence of negative emotions contributes to a great trip, survey finds.

SATURDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The key to a satisfying vacation may be to have fewer negative feelings about the trip, rather than having more positive experiences, a new study says.

Virginia Tech marketing professor Joe Sirgy says his research shows that the amount of satisfaction a traveler experiences during vacation is "strongly influenced" by the lack of negatives related to worries about health and safety -- such as getting sick, being tired or fretting about weight gain -- and financial issues, such as not overspending on or during the trip.

"Our results contradict the general belief that leisure travel affects an individual's life satisfaction through positive emotions related to health and safety, [such as] feeling relaxed, rested and mentally re-charged after the trip, or feeling healthier because the trip required physical activity," Sirgy, who specializes in quality-of-life studies, said in a news release from Virginia Tech.

He also found that people were happier if they felt the trip didn't drive them to the poor house and instead perceived that "the trip was well worth the money spent."

Sirgy's conclusions are based on a survey of more than 260 tourists asked about benefits and costs of travel and how those factors affect satisfaction in general and in relation to specific areas such as social, family or financial life.

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more about managing stress.

SOURCE: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, news release, July 2009

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