Vacations are assumed to be important to everyone because they improve quality of life through personal growth, self-fulfilment (McCabe & Johnson, 2013), improved mental health (Gilbert & Abdullah, 2004) and physical health (Chen & Petrick, 2013), leading to higher work performance (De Bloom, Geurts, & Kompier, 2013) and greater leisure life satisfaction (Neal, Sirgy, & Uysal, 1999). Vacations also benefit vulnerable groups, such as people with health issues and disabilities, and low-income families (Gump and Matthews, 2000, McCabe and Johnson, 2013, Pritchard et al., 2011).
Contradicting the assumption that vacations are important to everyone, some empirical evidence suggests people differ substantially in the extent to which vacations contribute to their quality of life (Dolnicar, Yanamandram, & Cliff, 2012). This contradiction is the basis for the core question we address in this study: How can we theoretically explain fluctuations in the weights people assign to different quality of life domains? Answering this question responds to the call by Dolnicar et al. (2012, p. 75) for research into “life events which lead to adjustments of quality of life domain weightings”.