The Data Is In: To Achieve Lasting Well-Being, Travel Is the Best Way to Spend Your Money
We know that travel comes with a host of unparalleled benefits:
You get to spend time with people you love, seeing new things and trying new things; you get to relax away from the pressures of work and everyday life, realizing dreams you may have had for years.
As it turns out, studies show that travel is the best way to spend your money. Of all the things you can buy, the experience of traveling gives you, by far, the most bang for your buck. All these great elements of travel have been proven to make people happier.
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 material things.
In 2003, Thomas Gilovich published his landmark study called, “To Do or to Have? That Is the Question” – a study that, more than a decade on, continues to influence social psychology and the debate about 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 substantially happier than having things.
The reason for this is that we get to live and then re-live the joys of our experiences. Buying the newest high-tech television or even a beautiful new luxury car provides a spike in our sense of contentment that lasts for a few days, a bit longer if we’re lucky. When you take an incredible trip, however, you make vivid, deep-seated memories with the people who are closest to you – and the glow of these experiences will last you a lifetime. You will always have those shared adventures binding you together with those you love.
It’s not like we need another reason to start planning that dream trip — but another study out that Gilovich co-authored has found that even the anticipation of experiences outdoes the lead-up to material purchases:
People waiting in line to get tickets to an event are happier and more excited than those who are waiting in line to buy something.
Even something as boring as waiting in line is more pleasant when it’s somehow connected to your vacation. Say you’re waiting to get your passport photo taken, and associated with that time are thoughts of where you’re going to go, what you’re going to see, and all the adventure that awaits you.
This applies well to the actual planning of your vacation, too. When my clients and I start to dive into the discussions about all the places they can go, which specific landmarks they’ll finally be seeing in person, and more, I can see and hear their excited expectation. When you’re planning your next trip with me, your Luxury Travel Advisor, each step in the process gets you and your travel partners closer to realizing your dream, and each step is actually a 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.