How to bring laughter back into your travels!


Wander around any caravan park or campground, and there’s one thing you’ll notice: people are generally happy. You’ll hear laughter ringing out of the camp kitchen as travellers share tales over the barbecue, and sounds of hilarity from Happy Hour groups.  Get any group of RVers together, and they’ll have a rollicking good time. And it’s infectious – if you have a group of people chuckling over a shared joke, someone just arriving can’t help but smile as they say: “What? What’s so funny?”

It’s not all about belly laughs, of course. A quiet chuckle is just as therapeutic as a great guffaw. Scientists and researchers have done studies focusing on the power of laughter to heal both body and mind, and the findings are surprising. Laughter, it appears, not only strengthens the immune system but is regarded as an antidote for conflict and stress.

How does this happen?

Laughter acts as a trigger for the release of endorphins – those same feel-good chemicals that are associated with the so-called ‘runner’s high’. It makes me feel all warm and cosy to know that I don’t have to go puffing around the caravan park for an hour to feel good; I can just sit down with a group of women and have a good laugh! (Yes, I know you can have a good laugh with the Other Half as well, but hey, this is our column.)

It might be interesting at this point to take a look at the things that make women laugh. Any paid-up member of the Other Half reading this can think of it as a kind of self-help guide. It’s a simple equation: laughter = feeling good = peaceful existence. Furthermore, any time that women are surveyed about what they want to see in a prospective partner, ‘a good sense of humour’ is near the top of the list.


What Makes Women Laugh?

Speaking for myself, I laugh about lots of things. I laugh when I watch a good sitcom on TV; I laugh at Kitty Flanagan on The Project. I laugh (empathetically) with other women when we talk about the foibles of men. I chuckle at the funny sayings of children and at all kinds of misunderstandings that have a comic outcome. And most of us laugh (after it’s all over!) at those caravan disasters that have you saying: “If I didn’t laugh I’d cry!”

Well, that’s just me – but in the interests of research, I thought I’d go online and see what the world thinks of this topic. What does make women laugh?

Then I started laughing all over again, because you know what I found? 84,600,000 pages on the topic – and the first page of Google results was full of advice for MEN. The page titles ranged from “Make Her Laugh – How Nice Guys can Impress Women” to “Top Ten Ways to Attract Her with Humour”.

I read on avidly… only to find that nobody appeared to be able to actually give practical advice on how to make a woman laugh. One memorable tip advised “avoid walking into a wall and giving yourself concussion”.  I presume that meant ‘don’t act the fool’. Another tip suggested taking advantage of a woman’s ‘natural caring instinct’ by sharing amusing family stories. Yet another suggested mimicking a woman’s own sense of humour to try to win her over – and one left me completely confused: “Say ‘yes’ more than you say ‘no’.” (???)

I think most of the Better Halves that I’ve met would agree that the best advice is simply: “be yourself – and be prepared to laugh at yourself.” You can’t force humour, and you’re headed for disaster if you try to be funny when it doesn’t come naturally.

Rather than passing on Dr. Google’s sometimes-bizarre prescription for making women laugh, I think I’ll just settle for the Better Half Caravanning Version.


Quick Guide for Men: How to Amuse the Better Half

  • Be ready to laugh at yourself. (This does not mean laugh at your own jokes. The best comedians keep a straight face. Just maintain a sense of humour about life.)
  • Be ready to see the funny side when things go wrong. (We love a man who can bounce back.)
  • Enjoy the funny ways of others instead of being irritated. (You’ll encounter lots of people who seem a bit bizarre. Just smile, and add to your store of ‘what a character’ stories.)
  • Appreciate the unique ‘in jokes’ that you have just between yourselves. There’s nothing like that quick sidelong glance and grin when something reminds you of a humorous incident that you both shared.

Remember that we’re all different, and that means that we find different things funny. The best shared humour comes from each of us being relaxed and natural with a partner. You shouldn’t have to work at it!