Spoiler alert: Summer is half over. Vacations can happen in any season but there is something about summer vacations that overpowers the other seasons. I blame school summer vacations. Those two months off have built industries for camps, theme parks and even National Parks.

And we dump a lot of money and time and energy into planning them.

The smart and funny podcast HIDDEN BRAIN did a summer edition looking at what social science research has to say about vacations (listen)

Some researchers found that where you are when you book vacation lodging matters more than you might realize. People who booked hotels while at work generally purchased more luxurious accommodations than those who booked their vacation hotels from home. Do work at work and stop doing personal stuff! Another reason to do it at home is that those who booked from the workplace were less satisfied.

Other research found that the exotic and extraordinary vacation experience is hard to share and that seems to matter in the vacationer's ultimate experience.

Do you put on a few pounds on vacation? Do you try to drop a few before vacation? Adults gained about 3/4ths of a pound while on vacation, a gain that persisted even six weeks later. That's nothing.  expect at least 5 pounds if it's something like a cruise with lots of good stuff to eat.

How can this be? I am more active on vacation - swimming, walking, playing beachy games. Apparently, the food and also the alcohol (often twice as much as usual) far outweighs the activity.

How long do the vacation good vibes last when you go back to work? Research shows about a month, though I have lost that glow after a week and once I recall saying to my wife that the week off was all gone after one day back at work.

Still, I have seen other research multiple times that shows that experiences - like vacations - have a much stronger and longer lasting uplifting effect on you than buying "things."  A week at the resort with your mate is better than an equally expensive piece of jewelry.

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