Rural is restorative. In one study, people generally rated rural settings as providing the best environment for relieving stress and enhancing mood.

A weekend is long enough. The aftereffects may not last long, but research shows that an impromptu short vacation can improve psychological well-being in the moment.

Activity is encouraged. People who spent more time engaging in physical activity on a winter vacation or weekend getaway reported significantly greater satisfaction.

Planning is half the fun. Some studies show that people derive the most vacation-related pleasure from organizing their trip. So if money is tight, try planning a staycation—mapping out fun new things to do in your hometown may deliver a similar jolt of happiness.