Britons are licking their World Cup wounds by panic booking vacations—to Croatia

Time for a trip.
Time for a trip.
Image: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov
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Britons love a warm weather vacation, and after England’s loss to Croatia in the semifinals of the World Cup on Wednesday, they seem to be panic booking last-minute holidays in an attempt to cheer themselves up.

The Guardian reported that UK travel companies prepared for an uptick in bookings on Thursday. The potential surge comes after a worryingly slow start to the summer travel season thanks to UK’s unusually warm weather—featuring the longest heat wave since 1976—and lively at-home festivities including the World Cup. Brits will stick around if it’s sunny and they’re doing unexpectedly well in the football—otherwise they want to go overseas.

Rather surprisingly, some Britons appear keen to head to the nation responsible for their beloved team’s loss. The Guardian quoted one head of a travel company as saying that half of their enquiries on Thursday, the day after the game, were for trips to Croatia.

Meanwhile, the Croatia Tourism Board is reporting that visits to their website after their victory on Wednesday were up 250% compared to the same day last year (of course, not all these visits were from would-be British holiday-makers). A promotional video featuring the World Cup players touting the nation’s food, parks, and vistas was viewed 250,000 times on social media after their Wednesday night victory. Getting into the World Cup finals, it turns out, is not just good for national mood—but for the tourism business too.

As a cure for post-World Cup depression, booking spontaneous travel is not a bad choice. Research has shown that the greatest happiness comes from the anticipation of an upcoming vacation, rather than returning home from it. A Dutch study found that booking travel can result in a happiness boost that lasts up to 8 weeks. Meanwhile a survey of more than 6,000 travelers from found that three quarters of of respondents felt spontaneous travel reduces stress and four out of five reported that it boosts happiness—both of which England fans could use right now.

So if you haven’t booked your summer vacation yet, no fear. There are roughly ten weeks left of summer, so it’s not too late to wring some happiness out of booking a last minute trip.