Find out where happy peo­ple live

Aus­tralia places first in hap­pi­ness stakes, then Canada and Italy

Life & Style Weekend - - TRAVEL - with Ann Rickard

ARECENT study shows our trav­els make most of us hap­pier than just about ev­ery­thing else we do. And the peo­ple who con­ducted the study (book­, they talked to 17,000 peo­ple from 17 coun­tries) said we should al­ways holiday where happy peo­ple live. So where might that be?

I guess it won’t surprise you to learn the top des­ti­na­tion for happy peo­ple is – drum roll please – Aus­tralia. We are a happy lot here, es­pe­cially when we are frol­ick­ing on one of our beau­ti­ful beaches or tramp­ing our ver­dant parks or munch­ing our way through our vi­brant din­ing scene. So no won­der for­eign vis­i­tors like to be around us.

Also in the top three des­ti­na­tions for happy peo­ple are

Canada and Italy. No sur­prises there.

If we want a re­ally happy travel ex­pe­ri­ence, as op­posed to just a travel ex­pe­ri­ence in gen­eral, the peo­ple at book­ urge us to fol­low three golden rules.

The first – go where the happy peo­ple are – as they have said. I think most peo­ple love their own coun­tries and that makes them happy – apart from the poor souls in North Korea and sadly few want to holiday there.

The sec­ond rule for a happy holiday is to en­sure our cho­sen des­ti­na­tion pro­vides what we want most and, ac­cord­ing to the survey, that is food fol­lowed by per­fect weather and breath­tak­ing scenery. So where do we go for the best food in the world? Who can say, apart from your own palate?

In my ex­pe­ri­ence you rarely get a dud meal in France or Italy, and the flavours of Thai­land can’t be beaten, ex­cept by those of Viet­nam and maybe China, def­i­nitely Malaysia and al­ways Sin­ga­pore.

I reckon the best way to en­joy food while on holiday is to eat only that coun­try’s cui­sine for the du­ra­tion of your stay. Why eat eggs and ba­con for break­fast in Bei­jing when you can have plump dumplings and tofu pud­ding?

Why go to an air-con­di­tioned Ital­ian restau­rant in Thai­land and eat fet­tuc­cini when you can stand at street stalls and eat freshly made sa­tays on sticks? It seems ob­vi­ous to me to eat paella in Barcelona, gnoc­chi in Tus­cany and bratwurst in Ber­lin.

Eat­ing the food of the coun­try you are in should be a given, yet I know peo­ple who doggedly stick to their favourite rou­tine foods no mat­ter what coun­try they are in. Who can for­get the Shirley Valen­tine scene where the English tourists in Greece fainted at the thought of eat­ing oc­to­pus? “If they’d been at the Last Sup­per they’d have asked for chips,” Shirley says to her­self.

The third and last golden rule to holiday heaven, ac­cord­ing to the survey, is to sleep our way to hap­pi­ness. Now, now, set­tle down. It means a com­fort­able bed is a top pri­or­ity to holiday con­tent­ment. Fol­lowed by a lovely view, free wi-fi and nice toi­letries. I guess most trav­ellers have ex­pe­ri­enced the hor­ror bed sce­nario at some stage.

One of my favourite places in the world, a small re­sort I visit ev­ery year, has the best views, the clean­est rooms, the most de­voted ser­vice… but a rock-hard bed with a pa­per-thin mat­tress. I put up with an un­easy back for two weeks be­cause ev­ery­thing else is so per­fect.

We all know what we want for our per­fect holiday and, while we don’t need a survey to tell us what will make us happy, it does make sense to fol­low the sun and the fun. Per­haps the best el­e­ment to get out of your holiday is to love the place you are in at that mo­ment. No good dream­ing of patis­series in Paris while you are sit­ting on a beach in Hawaii, or wish­ing for a turquoise ocean while you are trawl­ing a mu­seum in Venice, is there?

Get in the mo­ment, eat like a lo­cal, hope for a good bed, de­mand free wifi and Bob should be your un­cle.


For peo­ple who want to holiday where the happy peo­ple live, book­ found Aus­tralia was the num­ber one des­ti­na­tion af­ter con­duct­ing a survey of 17,000 peo­ple from 17 coun­tries and, right, a happy holiday also means try­ing lo­cal foods.

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