567: Return Travel

A Thousand Things to Talk About
567: Return Travel

Where’s your favorite place to travel? Why?

Full episode script

We’ve talked about the mere exposure effect in previous episodes of this podcast – where when you have been exposed to something before, you’re predisposed to like it more. The familiarity makes an experience less stressful — and while stress isn’t always a bad thing, when you’re traveling it can be useful.


In 2010, in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, researchers examined what impact travel and vacation has on our well-being. That study found that, among other things, several small trips over the course of a year tend to have a bigger impact on our happiness than longer-duration and less often vacations.


That same study also quoted others, saying:

Vacationers who have a history of past tourism experiences in a certain destination, or who take similar types of holidays regularly, are better capable of matching their wants to their needs (Ryan 1998). This implies that tourists may become increasingly able to derive benefit from their holidays in terms of fulfillment, enjoyment and happiness.


And even beyond that, there’s a certain benefit to knowing a place well enough to not have to do the big tourist things. As Tyler Moss put it in Conde Nast Traveler:


On an initial visit to a destination, we often feel obligated to cram in its proverbial “top ten” during what is most likely a limited stay: the Great Wall, Summer Palace, Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, for example. But such a relentless schedule—and the odd FOMO pressure to fulfill it—can be stressful. Exhausting, even. On a return trip, however, the stakes are not so high: Because you have already checked the “essentials” off of your list, you’re free to get even more lost—and this is a good thing.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.