Drake Bennett writes:
They found that in all three cases, the respondents were least happy about the vacation while they were taking it. Beforehand, they looked forward to it with eager anticipation, and within a few days of returning, they remembered it fondly. But while on it, they found themselves bogged down by the disappointments and logistical headaches of actually going somewhere and doing something, and the pressure they felt to be enjoying themselves.
A recent Dutch study had a more striking finding. Looking not at vacation memories, but measuring general happiness level through a simple three-question questionnaire, the researchers found that going on vacation gave a notable boost to pre-vacation mood but had hardly any effect on post-vacation feelings. Anticipation, it seems, can be a more powerful force than memory.
Here is much more. I liked this sentence:
The most effective way to inoculate a vacationer against the deadening power of adaptation, however, may be the most counterintuitive – to break it up, to interrupt it with real life.
In other words, bring work. I call it "taking a work vacation."
For the pointer I thank David Archer.