Can Travel Really Make You Happier?

by  Anne Roderique-Jones | Jul 9, 2021
Traveler in hotel room
Traveler in hotel room / iStock / Boyloso

A New Study About Happiness and Travel

A 2021 study in the journal of Tourism Analysis shows that frequent travelers are happier with their lives than people who don't travel at all. The study results indicate that respondents attaching personal importance to tourism are more likely to gather travel-relevant information, therefore are more likely to go on vacations than those who are not often thinking about their next trip. It is also found that frequent travelers are more satisfied with their life.

So...Does Travel Make You Happier? 

Art Markman, Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas, explains that there is a growing body of evidence that shows purchases of experiences (like vacations) have a more lasting impact on people's happiness than purchases of material goods. "The travel experience itself is often enjoyable. In addition, it increases the bonds among the people who go on the trip. Finally, vacations create happy memories that can also boost well-being in the future." 

How Can Travel Make You Happier?

Markman notes that a few examples of how travel can make one happier are the following: 

  • Couples raising children often are able to reconnect and rediscover their shared common interests when they are able to go away without their children for a while.
  • People often travel to cities or beautiful areas of the planet that allow them to see wonderful sights firsthand. The pictures and memories of those experiences can create lasting happiness.
  • Travel can bring family members together as well, which can create additional memories that are shared at later gatherings.

Additionally, Post-Pandemic Travel Planning Sparks Joy

We know that planning a vacation can spark joy. Research shows that the anticipation of future travel can increase happiness--and this looks to have increased during a global pandemic. In a nutshell: There's a newfound appreciation for travel. A new study from the Institute for Applied Positive Research found that booking travel generates happiness and can alleviate stress and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here, 97% of survey respondents reported that having a trip planned makes them happier and that 74% of respondents reported that planning something would make them feel more in control amidst so much uncertainty. 

Want to feel happier? Pack that suitcase and start planning--and then begin traveling. 

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