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Are you enjoying your vacation?

It will come as no surprise to parents, but researchers have found that couples with children view vacations as slightly less pleasurable and less important than childless couples do. They also see vacation choices as more risky, particularly selecting a good destination for the entire family.

"Dealing with a car full of restless kids will make any vacation less pleasurable," notes Robert Madrigal, an assistant professor of health, physical education, and recreation, Ohio State University. "On top of that, parents may enjoy themselves less because they make vacation choices with their children's interests in mind, rather than their own."

The researchers examined 70 married couples. Subjects ranged in age from early 20s to late 70s, were married from less than a year to more than 10, and were predominantly middle income. Each partner of the couples separately completed a survey asking about his or her involvement in vacation planning and various demographic questions.

One of the issues examined was how views about husband-wife equality affected vacation decisions. The researchers found that couples who said they had egalitarian relationships - in which husbands and wives shared equally in tasks and responsibilities - also said vacations were more important and pleasurable to them. "I think these couples enjoyed being around each other and took genuine pleasure in planning and taking their trips together," Madrigal says. "This is consistent with other research which shows that egalitarian couples tend to be happier with their marriages than [those] with more traditional relationships."

Older couples tended to place more importance on the status value of their vacations. "Many of the older couples may be planning cruises or other expensive [trips] that they've waited a lifetime to take. It's more a case of conspicuous consumption and trying to choose a vacation that will impress others."

Couples with higher levels of education also tended to say vacations were more important and pleasurable to them. This may be because highly educated people invest more time and effort planning them. They are more likely to order and study travel brochures and magazines and seek more sources of information about vacation spots.
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Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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