Travel and happiness: It’s a match! Isn’t it great when science backs our beliefs?
Research at Cornell University shows that experiences produce more happiness than objects. Why? Because each experience is unique and can’t be replicated. “One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation,” claims Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a Cornell University professor whose focus is the relationship between money and happiness. “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”
How are travel and happiness connected?
When money is spent on travel, a few amazing things happen:
- Unlike possessions, experiences truly become part of who we are.
- Our perspectives on life expand, making us more tolerant and compassionate.
- Even if the experience is disappointing or negative, we like to talk about it.
- We don’t tend to compare our experiences to those of others. Thus, no envy.
- Travelers bond over experiences: “You went to Turkey, too? Let’s talk.”
Just HOW happy does travel make us?
Booking.com commissioned a study involving 17,000 people from 17 countries to ask about travel and happiness. Here are some of the results:
- 49% said that a holiday/vacation brings them more happiness than their wedding day
- 77% booked a trip just to give themselves an emotional boost
- 56% prioritize travel over things like cars, clothes, or devices
- 48% put trips before home improvements
- The type of vacation, from backpacking to luxury cruise, doesn’t matter–at all
When does the happiness start?
You may be surprised to learn that happiness kicks in as soon as you start to plan your trip. Just thinking about where to travel makes 72% of people feel excited. So much so, that 35% of travelers begin planning months in advance.
Hitting the “Purchase” button for a flight, hotel, or vacation package makes 56% of future travelers happiest. And those good feelings continue:
- 40% enjoy thinking about their upcoming trip at least once a day
- 80% love to look at maps and potential activities at their destination
- 52% find pleasure in buying or organizing their travel wardrobe
- 60% like to read reviews about their hotel choice
But wait! There’s more!
Anticipation is an important part of travel. It provides enormous happiness. But, naturally, the actual trip is the highlight:
- Over 60% experience a burst of happiness when they set out on their trip
- Interestingly, almost 90% say the first day of their trip is the happiest moment
- 83% feel happy when they arrive at and see their accommodation
- Almost 70% find pleasure in staying in a new place, as well as making themselves “at home”
I was delighted to learn that others share my same happiness. Perhaps it’s why we immediately begin to plan our next trip…perhaps on the flight home. I know I have. Now we have scientific proof that we are better off driving an older car and skipping the latest fashion trend, in favor of a jaunt to __________. (Fill in the blank)
“Travel is the only thing you spend money on that makes you richer.”
Need more to inspire you?
For the practical-minded: