Memories are some of the best travel souvenirs: they’re free, for one thing and they stay with you for a lifetime. It’s actually possible to set yourself up for the best possible vacation memories, if you plan ahead a little bit.
Have lots of different experiences
If you do the same thing every day of your vacation, you’ll end up with one big blurry memory. Behavioural economist Dan Ariely told Popular Science that even a little variety can leave you with more happy memories: if you spend a day skiing, another snowboarding, and another sledding, those won’t blend together like three days of skiing might.
Do something your friends aren’t doing
We’ve written before that unique experiences tend to lend themselves well to happy vacation memories. That can mean something you’ve never done before—easy to find when you’re in a new place—but also, if you’re in a popular travel destination, seek out a thing or two that not everybody does. I’ll skip the touristy landmarks for a good medical museum every time.
End on a good note
Unfortunately most vacations end the same way: with a gruelling flight or road trip, unpacking, and laundry. That’s a shame because we use the end of an experience to calibrate our memories of the whole thing. That’s a phenomenon known as the “peak/end rule.” Popular Science suggests taking an extra day off at the end of your vacation to ease back into everyday life, maybe taking the extra time to look over photos and enjoying souvenirs. Ending on a happy note can mean we enjoy the rest of the trip’s memories even more.