I blog a lot about happiness research, but this one I have some personal experience with. A couple of recent research studies, summarized in today's Boston Globe, show a few interesting findings that many people probably instinctively realize, but are kind of stark when written as fact.
First, they found that ones happiness goes up just before vacation (in antipitation) but is often not higher when you get back (compared to someone who never went on vacation). Basically, we need a vacation from our vacation.
It is even worse these days because people are so worried about the economy, their jobs, and the money they are spending that they don't even enjoy it while they are on vacation.
And then a third study found that family vacations are stressful in general, because, well, you know how families can be. One guy actually pretended to go fishing every afternoon, drove a block to a nearby bar, and spent the afternoon there. None of his family cared about fishing, so he never got a question he couldn't squeak out of. I gotta remember that one :-D.