When Does A Vacation Become Too Long?

Most people take travel opportunities whenever they can – often the odd weekend here and there. Some book longer off work – up to two weeks. But very few of us ever consider what the optimal vacation length should be. 

How long should we spend away from our regular lives and work to explore the rest of the world?

That’s actually a very good question, and something that science is currently investigating. You want to go abroad long enough to give your body time to recuperate, but not so long that you start wasting away or losing skills. 

Vacations Longer Than A Week May Be Better

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In the past, workers grafted all year and then took an obligatory two-week break in the summer. But this isn’t just tradition, it seems. It actually maximizes pleasure. 

Researchers in Finland tracked people’s bliss levels while on holiday abroad. They found that their life satisfaction peaked on day eight – longer than your typical week-long retreat – implying that going away for two weeks is better than one. 

The authors put forward a bunch of reasons for this. For instance, they noted that it takes people time to adjust to new time zones and allow the stress of work to leave their bodies. It also takes a while to acclimate to one’s surroundings and get your bearings. 

Longer Than A Month Might Be Bad For Your Career

While spending two weeks in a foreign land is enough time to provide your body and mind with a proper break, staying abroad longer than a month might be bad for your career. It turns out that after about four weeks, people start losing skills. The process is slow at first. But it accelerates as additional holiday time racks up, especially if you’re over the age of fifty. 

This effect is why so many companies are wary of providing their employees with sabbaticals. Ideally, they should be focusing on personal development and growth. But once they leave the working environment, they can go into decline. 

Staying Longer Than Three Months Can Cause Legal Trouble

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Extending your vacation over the three-month mark can create legal trouble in many countries. Once you remain for that length of time, it is no longer clear that you’re just a tourist visiting the sites. It seems more like you’re there to live and work. 

Getting a non-tourist visa is the safest way to extend your stay in a foreign country long-term. What is indefinite leave to remain? If you stay long enough, you may receive permission to remain in the country permanently. But that usually requires working in a local job, setting up a business, or receiving some kind of sponsorship. 

72-Hour Getaways Are Great, So Long As You Do Something Memorable

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Lastly, research shows that taking much shorter breaks – as little as 72 hours – can be rewarding. But you have to do something memorable for the experience to be worth it. So make sure that you line up a once-in-a-lifetime activity to keep you entertained and enthralled. 

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