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Breakthrough Study from University of Texas Researchers and HomeAway Reveals Science Behind Creating Longer-Lasting Vacation Memories

First-ever HomeAway Science of Memories Study of 700-plus Vacationers from around the World Finds Setting and Selfies Among Big Contributors

AUSTIN, Texas, November 15, 2016 – Snap those selfies, head to the mountains, and don’t break the bank. Those are just three insights into how deeper vacation memories are formed from a first-of-its-kind study released today by the world leader in vacation rentals, HomeAway®.

The unprecedented examination of more than 700 summer vacationers found that those who take photographs and selfies remember their vacations 40 percent better than their less snap-happy counterparts. That said, there are limits: Those who spent more than two hours using phones and other devices were 26 percent less likely to remember vacation details. Perhaps most surprisingly, the study revealed that the amount of money spent on a vacation has no effect on its memorability, among numerous other actionable findings.

“Let’s face it—we can’t vacation every day, which is why we need great memories to keep us connected to those who matter most,” said John Kim, president of HomeAway. “Every vacation is an opportunity to create great memories with the people you love. With this research, we wanted to answer the question, ‘What can we do to help our travelers make their vacations even more memorable?'”

To better understand how the behavior of the study participants impacted their vacation memories, HomeAway teamed up with a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, led by renowned psychologist and author Art Markman.

“The Science of Memories study is the first extensive examination of what makes vacations memorable,” said Art Markman, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin and lead researcher on the study. “Before this study, most of the psychological research on vacations focused on the mood and health benefits of going on a trip. The opportunity to investigate the science of vacation memories with HomeAway has yielded valuable insights about how such memories are created, from the scientific impact of selfies to surprising news about which destinations are the most memorable.”






Use your phone to grab those glorious moments...

… But leave your laptop at home.


Family or friends? Take both.

Climb every mountain.

Don’t break the bank.

Get excited!

Phone Time pictograph Mountain pictograph Selfies picto download Social Posts pictograph

More about the survey

The HomeAway Science of Memories study surveyed more than 700 summer travelers from six countries: the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy. Travelers were surveyed before, during, and after their trips with questions designed to measure memory recall. A subset of travelers also downloaded an app which tracked the amount of time spent on their devices. In addition to being the first survey of its kind to investigate the factors that create lasting vacation memories, the HomeAway Science of Memories study is one of the first surveys to investigate the impact of technology usage on vacation memory formation. This research study was designed and conducted by HomeAway and researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. Hanover Research aided in the fielding and analysis of the survey.

To highlight the survey findings, HomeAway today launched The Vacation Equation—an online resource intended to help travelers engineer their way to a more memorable vacation. It contains helpful tips and interactive insights from the HomeAway Science of Memories Study. To access additional findings from this landmark study, please visit www.homeaway.com/lp/vacation-equation.

“Through the more than one million online bookable vacation rentals listed on our sites, HomeAway provides the space and privacy for travelers to create memories with friends and family,” said Kim. “Thanks to the power of science, travelers now have another building block to help create unforgettable vacations.”

For more information, contact:
Christina Song
Public Relations Specialist


[1] Source: Adobe Email Survey 2016. Adobe’s survey found that 79 percent of Americans and 61 percent of Europeans check their work email while on vacation.