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Secret To Memorable Vacations: Short and Sweet?


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  • Added on: February 17th, 2012
So what do you think?

The article essentially says that what we experience last is the most memorable, so by keeping trips compact, we spend more time experiencing the intensity of those last moments. Maybe applicable if money is tight and one only has a week vacation, but I say if you have to trick yourself into having more memorable vacations, maybe you're not doing it right.

Time wrote:Last is best. Things you experience on your last day of vacation will be enhanced simply because you know they’re happening at the end. In a recent paper in Psychological Science, psychology researchers Ed O’Brien and Phoebe Ellsworth had University of Michigan students taste five types of chocolates—milk, dark, crème, caramel, and almond—varying the order in which they were eaten. Some students ate the last one knowing it was the last; others were not given that info and were left to assume it was just another in the series. When later asked to pick which one was their favorite, two-thirds chose the last one when they knew it was the finale when they ate it; only a fifth did so when they hadn’t known it was the last. So be sure to choose something like chocolate the last day or two of your vacation—something good that will seem even better because it comes at the end.

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Armchair Traveler
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  • Added on: February 17th, 2012
I don't know if I agree with article. Maybe in terms of spending money and a short jaunt at club med? A couple days on the beach, a spa day and a zipline experience.... but I'm not sure that is what most folks here are all about.

The best experiences I've had while traveling didn't cost any money or much more money than a beer and usually come about by sitting quietly observing life and being open and approachable so that the "locals" would feel comfortable enough to talk. Usually in the guise of them "practising my english"

My favorite moment in Vietnam, happened in Hanoi during Tet. P & I had gone off in search of a cinema that supposedly played english films (never did find it) and we ended up in a park with a big pond. Slowly,slowly as we sat there and watched the afternoon unfold we noticed the locals come down to the pond with carp in bowls, bags, basins and release them to the pond so their kitchen gods could get a ride to heaven and give a good accounting of their household. We saw grandparents and toddlers, young couples, family members of all ages do this. The best part of the activity was watching the entrepreneur with the net and the bucket who was catching the released fish and storing them in his bucket, so he could sell them to other families.

Loved that afternoon and I'll remember it always.
Buen Camino Peregrino!


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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Joined: February 17th, 2012

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  • Added on: February 17th, 2012
I am a psychology student, but I disagree with the findings in the study Marcus addressed. Some of my favorite travel memories were not those that I experienced towards the last of leg of the trip. For example, my tour operator for Central Asia (East-Site Travel) suggested I remain in Registan Square after the other tourists had left so that I could take photographs in the evening--very dramatic and memorable. Plus I was able to feel more of the awe and ambiance of the stunning buildings and shrines at that time of day. Unfortunately, my photos didn't come out due to a problem with my camera, but the memory is very clear, even though I went on to Tashkent and later Tajikistan.

Those kind of studies are interesting, but not necessarily accurate. The human brain is extremely complex!


Street Food Connoisseur
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  • Added on: February 18th, 2012
I don't agree with the article much either because you definitely get into a different mentality when on a longer trip and taking things as they come. Plus honestly if I'm flying halfway across the world you know I'm going to be there for a few weeks minimum to get my time/money's worth.


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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
Here's my issue. The research that was cited was done on college students. In a laboratory setting. Using chocolates. What exactly does that have to do with adults taking vacations? Answer. Probably very little.

This, unfortunately, is the deep dark secret of most psychological's done exclusively on college students and it's done in a controlled laboratory setting that has very little to do with the real world. The experimenters often try to generalize their results (many of which are barely significant) to other populations, other settings, etc. And if the experimenters don't do it themselves, places like Time Magazine are happy to do it for them.


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Holds PhD in Packing
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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
What load of bollocks. I do not see how "saving the best till last" is going to make a holiday anymore or less memorable.
Hey everyone, a bit of shameless self promotion! I have my own wine company now, please check it out on Facebook! ... 2916852962


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  • Added on: February 19th, 2012
EMH is probably right, comparing the two things, eating chocolate and the highlights of a vacation are so apples and oranges, i would think an orangutang would know that and not bring it up for our mental perambulations.

So looking at the surrounding jungle at night on top of a mayan temple 5o miles from the nearest road was very memorable, and since i am here, it obviously couldn't be at the end of the trip. or getting stuck in a mudhole and having to hitchike out of the nearest jungle village, well that "stuck in the mud" experience was very memorable but getting on my plane to go home, not so memorable.

let's dredge up something that might stimulate our craniums!!!!


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Thorn Tree Refugee
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  • Added on: February 23rd, 2012
I'm working with East-Site Travel, a tour operater for Central Asia, planning a "five stans" tour. I ran the conclusion of the study past her and she kind of laughed. Frankly there are so many different, varied, unusual things to see and do that it would be impossible to select one memorable thing. And as she pointed out, memorable to one person is not as great to another. It would depend on individual preferences. But then, she's not a psychologist! As far as I know.

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: March 22nd, 2012
I spent just under a week in Lisbon last month, after a long winter of 80-hour work weeks in Brussels. I couldn't have asked for a better antidote to overwork and constantly overcast skies. I got to see the sun, the ocean, eat a lot of bacalhau, and hear some great music.

Short and very sweet.

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