Examining the Potential Relationship Benefits of Leisure Travel Taken With and Without One's Significant Other and Children
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As adults continue to work longer and take less vacation days, relationship dynamics are changing to accommodate individuals' responsibilities to career, family life and self. The amount of time couples spend together and the way time spent together is utilized is in turn changing. These issues have resulted in a recent surge in research related to relationship satisfaction and the variables that can enhance relationships, including leisure activities. Tourism practitioners have started to examine the increasing trend of couples traveling without their significant other as means to increase vacation and relationship satisfaction. Industry coined "girlfriend's getaways" and "mancations” are noted by some as a means to potentially increase satisfaction with an individual's leisure choices as well as potentially leading to increases in the couple's relationships satisfaction. While academic research has yet to examine the effects of travel without one's significant other, it is possible that traveling without your significant other could make one value their relationship and time spent together that much more. It is also possible that the non-traveling partner forms resentment and/or mistrust in the relationship for not being included. Thus, this study sought to understand if travel with different companions contributed to perceived relationship commitment and satisfaction levels. As a new contribution the field, the current research compared satisfaction levels between three groups. It was found that traveling with a significant other had a positive and significant affect on relationship satisfaction, while traveling with people other than one’s significant other had a negative, although not significant. Travel with one’s significant other and kids was found to have a positive, yet not significant effect. A conceptual modeling proposed vacation satisfaction would have a positive correlation with satisfaction with life, when mediated by relationship satisfaction. The results suggested that those who had higher levels of vacation satisfaction also had higher levels of relationship satisfaction (β=.467). It was also found that as perceived relationship satisfaction levels increased, so too did satisfaction with life levels (β=.702). A second model utilized the Investment Model of relationships to determine relationship commitment. The current finding were consistent with existing research and showed satisfaction was the strongest indicator of relationship commitment (r^(2)=.642) followed by quality of alternatives which contributed a negative and direct correlation (r^(2)=-.278). Contrary to existing literature, investment size was not found a significant predictor of relationship commitment (p=.104). Theoretical implications of the study include a better understanding of the effects travel without one’s significant other has on a relationship, and that satisfaction with vacations taken with one’s significant other assists the investment model in explaining couples’ relationship commitment. From a practical standpoint, results revealed that tourism suppliers who foster relationship satisfaction for couples traveling together can assist the couples in becoming more committed.
Durko, Angela M (2014). Examining the Potential Relationship Benefits of Leisure Travel Taken With and Without One's Significant Other and Children. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from