The tourism industry thrives on the notion that holiday travel improves well-being. However, scientific evidence that holiday travel is more beneficial than spending free time at home is lacking. Using the Effort-Recovery and the Limited Resources model as theoretical basis, this study investigates whether workers behave, think, and feel differently during travel than during leisure time spent at home. In a five-week longitudinal field study, we followed 24 workers during free evenings after work, a free weekend at home, and on a free weekend of domestic travel. Within-person differences were investigated between these three occasions in behavior, cognition, and emotions. During travel, employees slept more, engaged more in physical and social activities and less in obligatory activities than during free evenings after work. Hedonic well-being was higher and ruminative thinking lower during travel than during free evenings after work. Physical distance from home and work was related to engagement in resource-providing rather than resource-consuming activities and seems to translate into mental distance from everyday worries. Differences between holiday travel and weekends at home were small. Still, the findings suggest that travel may provide feelings of remoteness in places with novel and fascinating qualities, free of chores.
- environmental sustainability