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Proof that Travel Makes You Happier

When you think about travel, some of these benefits may come to mind:

  • You get to spend time with people you love
  • You get to see new things and try new things
  • You get to relax away from the pressures of work and everyday life
  • You get the thrill of realizing dreams you may have had for years and years

But did you know that it’s also a proven fact that travel makes you happier?

Of all the things you can buy, the experience of traveling gives you, by far, the most bang for your buck. 

And even more than that, every part of the travel experience — before, during, and after — is more satisfying, more enjoyable, and has longer-lasting positive effects than buying stuff.

In 2003, Thomas Gilovich published his landmark study called “To Do or To Have? That Is the Question” – a study that, almost two decades later, continues to influence social psychology and the study of what brings us true contentment. 

Gilovich looked at how economic choices affect well-being and analyzed the differences between experiential and material purchases on human happiness. His unexpected discovery has changed the way we look at our buying habits: Across the board, doing things makes people way happier than having things.

The reason for this is that we get to live and re-live the joy of experiences. Buying an expensive TV or even a new car gives a momentary spike in good feelings that lasts for a few days. But when you take an amazing trip, you get the memories and the good time together — and every time you think of that trip, or you see something that reminds you of it, or you look at the picture on your desktop, your brain registers those joyful times and releases mood-enhancing chemicals that make you feel like you’re re-living the happiness of the experience itself. 

It stays with you, and you get to access it whenever you want.

It’s not like we need another reason to start planning that dream trip — but another study that Gilovich co-authored has found that even the anticipation of experiences outdoes the lead-up to material purchases. 

While I don’t believe in spending precious vacation time standing in ticket-buying lines, it’s interesting to consider the fact that people waiting in line to enter, for example, the Roman Colosseum, are more excited than those who are waiting in line to buy something.

So, even something as boring as waiting in line is more fun when it’s connected to your travel experience. But it makes sense when you think of it, doesn’t it? 

During that time in line, you’re thinking about what you’re going to see and the adventure that awaits.

The same goes for the anticipation of travel during the trip planning process. Each step takes you closer to realizing your dream, and each step is actually part of the adventure itself.

As travelers, we know the many positive benefits of getting out and seeing the world. And now we can feel even better knowing that those benefits continue to improve our lives, long after the trip is over.

Are you convinced? Ready to start taking the steps towards your next travel adventure? Give me a call and let me bring a little more happiness to your life! 

SAVE TIME.   AVOID FRUSTRATIONS.   EXPERIENCE A BETTER VACATION.

Cassie Tetro
European Destination Specialist
& Itinerary Designer

Hi, I’m Cassie! Here at Montage Travel, I’m crafting custom itineraries for independent travelers who want to make the most out of their valuable vacation time in Europe (who wouldn’t?).

My mission is to ensure travelers like you save time on planning and experience frustration-free trips with a well-optimized itinerary. Each and every itinerary I create is made from scratch and tailored specifically to your interests, travel pace, and preferences. An optimized itinerary and practical travel advice go hand-in-hand and are essential factors that will determine how much you will enjoy your vacation. Equipped with your own itinerary, you’ll see more by visiting sites during less crowded times, you’ll know which museums are best explored independently and which are enriched by visiting with a guide, and you’ll avoid getting lured into a tourist trap restaurant that will cost you more and be less authentic than the restaurant I’ll point you towards just down the street that caters mostly to locals.

Travel with confidence. Itineraries include unlimited revisions and unlimited 1-on-1 travel advice.

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