Tourism offers opportunities to explore new environments and to participate in new situations, which may originate several effects on tourists. The purpose of this paper is to review the empirical literature that analyses the effects of holidays for tourists, with the objective of identifying the key elements and dimensions to consider in this field. To accomplish this objective, electronic searches were conducted using a specialist research database, SCOPUS, resulting in eighteen scientific articles considered as directly relevant to the subject matter of the paper. From this review it can be concluded (i) a significant evolution of research on this topic since the 90’s; (ii) the predominance of quantitative methodologies for analysing the effects of vacation travel on tourists, particularly some effects that already have some scales developed for its measure; (iii) the existence of a gap in the study of the effects of tourism in families; and (iv) that the most frequently included dimensions of vacation travel effects on tourists are those associated with wellbeing, behaviour and emotional dimensions. The review of literature undertaken provides an analysis of the evolution of published research and also helps to set up research pathways for the future.