How Long Should Your Vacation Be? 

According to a scientific study published by the Journal of Happiness Studies, the perfect vacation length is between 8 and 14 days.

Eight days gives you enough time to reach the peak point of vacation relaxation and feel comfortable in your new place.

But, vacations of any length are essential to break up the monotony of daily life and improve your health and happiness, so make sure to take some time for yourself any way you can.

The rest of this article will explore the ultimate vacation length and how a trip of any length can be worth it. 

What’s the Ideal Vacation Length According to Science? 

Around 8-14 days, according to a Journal of Happiness study performed by Finland’s University of Tampere.

The study included 54 vacationers and found that happiness peaked on the eighth day. 

So to reach and really enjoy that peak of vacation bliss, you should at least get an eight-day vacation. 

How Long Does it Take to Get Into Vacation Mode?

Switching your brain off work mode takes time. 

Overall, most vacationers’ health and well-being rapidly increase in the first four days. Thus, it may take two to four days, or more if you’re passing through time zones, for you to let go of those lingering work thoughts and immerse yourself in your vacation. 

However, never underestimate the positive vibes that come with a day trip. These excursions may not be the ideal vacation, but many people report feeling diminished stress after them. 

Is a Fortnight Too Long for a Trip?

Depending on your work-life balance, two weeks or even a full week can seem like an exceptionally long vacation. But two weeks or longer can be a great amount of holiday time for a special trip or event, and it gives you ample time to enjoy your holiday. 

So if you have a dream spot, special event like a wedding or honeymoon, or just have time off, a two-week vacation can be perfect. However, most people get homesick and start longing for their regular routines around day 11, so you may not want to be gone too long. 

Is a Three-Day Vacation Worth It?

Although eight days is ideal, three-day vacations can make excellent get-aways over long weekends. Plus, there are many upsides to holidays that last three days, such as being easier to plan and cheaper. 

Even short business trips can help you relax without taking up your vacation days. 

So, whether spontaneous or pre-planned, three-day vacations or day trips can be just what you need and give you some of the best times of your life. But, they may not be enough to get you into a relaxed routine, so keep that in mind when planning. 

What Affects Post Vacation Happiness?

The Journal of Happiness Study found that happiness levels return to normal within a week of the first day of returning to work. 

Yet, the study also concluded that pleasure, relaxation, savoring, sleep, and control are most significant for optimizing post-vacation bliss. Reminiscing with travel companions can affect your happiness after a holiday as well. 

How to Vacation on a Budget?

There are many easy ways to afford trips of any length, such as backpacking or traveling in the off-season. 

Off-Season Travel

One helpful method that reduces vacation costs is to travel during low-demand times, such as the off-season or right before a holiday. These times of the year are an excellent opportunity to save money and avoid crowds in some of your favorite destinations around the world. 

Low-Cost Destinations

There are plenty of beautiful countries with relatively cheap living costs where you can spend a long, luxurious vacation for a fraction of the cost of more commercial destinations. 

Countries like Albania, Colombia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Mexico have beautiful landscapes, monuments, and cultures. And in these places, you can take a full ten-day vacation without having to spend too much. 


Back-packing drastically reduces your costs and allows you to experience more for longer. You can spend as little as $10-20 a day, meaning you will have more money for experiences and can take longer trips. 

Shorter Durations

Shorter vacation times may help reduce the overall costs of your trip. If only staying for a few days, you will save the expenses of a more extended trip and can splurge a bit more on individual activities or experiences. 

Deciding Trip Length – Travel Tips

Of course, your destination or reason for traveling should have a significant impact on how long you decide to stay. So, is this a simple get-away or the trip of a lifetime? 

If you’re going on your dream holiday, you will likely want to stay longer to enjoy the new place and the local customs. But if you’re going to a familiar area to relax, it’s a good idea not to use so much of your holiday time. 

Additionally, remember that any sleep specialist will tell you that you should give yourself more time to account for jet lag if you’re crossing a time zone. 

Is a Long Vacation Bad? Should I Feel Guilty?

In work-centered cultures such as America, many people don’t have guaranteed holiday time, and some see leaving work for even just a few hours as a poor choice. This practice continues in the US even though spending months abroad isn’t that out of the ordinary in many other countries. 

And, in fact, research at The Washington Post reports that:

  • 54% of Americans feel guilty about taking holiday time
  • 55% don’t use all their paid time off
  • More than half don’t take more than four days off during the year

Also, America is the only country out of the 36 wealthiest nations in the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development that does not mandate annual paid hours for workers.  

Deemed the No-Vacation Nation, the USA’s workaholic culture makes taking a longer vacation a serious dilemma. 

However, no holiday time can be bad for your health and potentially shorten your life, so you should actually feel guilty about not taking one. Forbes reports that vacation time improves heart health and reduces stress, which can help save your life and reduce the chance of chronic illness. 

So if you want to vacation for three weeks and have time off, you should take it. 

What Are The Benefits of Vacations? 

Taking vacations, especially ones at the ideal length, can drastically improve your health and happiness, and their absence can do just the opposite. 

So, remember that holiday time:

  • Improves mental health
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Increases happiness by shifting the body’s chemicals
  • Boosts productivity
  • Increases energy
  • Helps re-establish your creativity 
  • Allows you to explore a new area of the world 
  • Makes you forget about work