In a survey by Thomas Cook Airlines it was found in terms of holidays, 63% of women said that the idea of exploring somewhere new 'gets their heart racing', which is slightly higher than men (57%). Women appear to be more open-minded when it comes to trying different things such as food and activities. 52% said this 'gets their heart racing' compared to 46% of men. 1 in 4 Brits would opt for a 'me' trip if they had the chance to grab their passport and fly away. This increases to 35% for 18 to 24-year-olds. 65% of British travellers said it is essential for them to have nice weather in order to have the 'perfect' trip.

What gets you excited before a holiday?

What gets you excited before a holiday?

Art Markman, a psychologist at the University of Texas at Austin explains the reasons behind these findings.

'One of the key aspects of travel is that it allows people to disrupt their routines. Because routine aspects of life are not that memorable, the new elements of travel help people to create new memories. Those memories increase happiness in the long-run, because looking back on good times (particularly those good times shared with friends and loved ones) create a sense of fulfilment.

The observation that people are excited by exploring new places, trying new things, and meeting new people fits with this desire to create new memories. The percentages of men and women saying these things are fairly similar.

The idea of doing something adventurous is also related to the desire to get beyond the routine. Almost by definition, the routine aspects of people's lives are no longer that exciting. When doing something routine, people know what to expect and how to handle the problems that are likely to arise. When doing something adventurous, the routines have to be switched off. In adventurous situations, you have to be aware of what is going on around you and vigilant for what is happening. These settings give people a real sense of being in the moment. In contrast, much of people's routine lives is done by habit. Because people are on autopilot, they reach the end of the day and have to figure out what happened rather than experiencing the events as they go on.

Almost every big decision people make has a strong emotional component, and travel decisions are no exception. People need to know why they are taking a trip, and part of the answer to that question involves the emotions they are going to experience. Trips create the anticipatory emotion of excitement, which allows the individual to savour the trip even before it starts. It creates an emotional experience during the trip. Importantly, it also leads to positive feelings after the trip that persist with the memories of the trip later.

Interestingly, travel itself can sometimes be stressful. People worry about whether they will catch a train, they may have some difficulty finding their hotel or concerns about finding food they like. But, even though there are some stresses during travel, the excitement leading up to the trip and the positive memories afterward create a real benefit for travellers that lasts far after a vacation has ended.

When does the trip really begin for people? That depends a bit on the rituals you have around travel. Some people love road trips, in which case when the car (or van) is finally loaded and everyone is buckled in, the trip has started. For others, particularly those who do not fly that often, the excitement begins at the airport. Seeing the plane outside the window and waiting to board makes all of the planning feel real. Buckling into the seat on the plane gives an air of finality, because there is no turning back. Of course, there are also seasoned business travellers for whom a trip on an airplane is just another day at the office. For them, arriving at a destination and knowing that there are no meetings, clients, and reports is the point at which it sinks in that the vacation is starting.'

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