anticipating italy: the joy of trip planning

This morning I’m sitting on my balcony, sipping coffee and browsing AirBnB listings for various cities in Italy. Rome, Florence, and Venice are all on our “definite” list, but we’re considering a night somewhere in Tuscany between Rome and Florence–maybe Pisa, maybe Cinque Terre, maybe Volterre. Alex is mostly uninterested in the pre-trip planning process, so this pleasure is all mine. I started wondering which of us is more typical, and I found an interesting article (well, blog post) on “How Vacations Affect Your Happiness” from the NYTimes a few years ago:

Researchers from the Netherlands set out to measure the effect that vacations have on overall happiness and how long it lasts. They studied happiness levels among 1,530 Dutch adults, 974 of whom took a vacation during the 32-week study period.

The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. In the study, the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks.

I guess it’s not just me 🙂

For those of you interested in the details, our current trip plan looks like this:

5/17: Leave Dubrovnik for Bari, via ferry; arrive morning of 5/18, take train to Rome
5/18: Rome for two nights
5/20: Tuscany/Florence for three nights
5/23: Trento for two nights (I’m giving a talk there on the 24th)
5/25: Venice for two nights
5/27: One more night in or near Rome
5/28: Ferry from Bari back to Dubrovnik, arrive 5/29

Then we need to figure out where to spent two nights in Dubrovnik before we fly home on the 31st. (We can’t stay longer in Italy because the ferry only runs three days a week.) I’m going to see if our landlady will let us come back here for those two nights, since we’re leaving well before the end of our third month here. If not, we’ll look for an AirBnB place, possibly in Cavtat (near the airport) since we’ve spent so much time in Dubrovnik already.

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