Why The Trip Home Seems To Go By Faster : NPR

This story has to do with trips in vehicles but I experience the same thing while hiking.

Does getting home from your vacation spot always seem to take less time than getting there? A new scientific study provides an explanation for why.

Harold M. Lambert/Lambert/Getty Images

Does getting home from your vacation spot always seem to take less time than getting there? A new scientific study provides an explanation for why.

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September 5, 2011

In 1969, astronaut Alan Bean went to the moon as the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12. Although the trip going to the moon covered the same distance as the trip back, “returning from the moon seemed much shorter,” Bean says.

People will often feel a return trip took less time than the same outbound journey, even though it didn’t. In the case of Apollo 12, the trip back from the moon really did take somewhat less time. But the point remains that this so-called “return trip effect” is a very real psychological phenomenon, and now a new scientific study provides an explanation.

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