Travel is good for lots of things, but it can also increase mental well-being – and not just in the short-term. Whether you’re traveling for business, on a one-week family holiday, or have sold everything to pursue a life on the road, traveling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, providing new experiences and memories, breaking routine and allowing you to meet people from all over the world.
A new study proves that we actually get more out of buying experiences in comparison to when we buy material things.
Here are 6 ways in which traveling can give you more happiness than money will.
1. Happiness is infectious
When locals are happy, smiling and friendly, it has an immediate knock-on effect.
2. The thought of traveling is exciting
It’s pretty simple, the idea of buying an experience makes us more excited than the idea of buying things. As the study puts it: to do or to have, that is the question. It would seem the answer for most of us is to do. In two surveys, respondents from various demographic groups indicated that experiential purchases, those made with a primary intention of acquiring a life experience, made them happier than material purchases.
For example, people felt better about a trip to France than the idea of purchasing a new television
3. Making new friends
It’s much easier to make new friends on the road than it is at home, where people are less inclined to chat to strangers on a bus or strike up conversation in a bar (at least, that’s true of London). When people are away from home, there seem to be less boundaries to cross and making friends becomes much easier, whether it’s a local curious to know where you’ve come from or a fellow travelers keen to have someone with whom to enjoy a beer or share a taxi.
Social interactions make us happier and increasing our social circle means that we’re talking more and meeting different, interesting people, which hopefully means we’re learning more, too.
4. Getting a ‘lone’ time
Traveling gives us breathing space that is often lost in our usual day-to-day existence. Having a moment to take advantage of peace and quiet and to simply ‘be’ allows us to let go of stress and tension and just enjoy being in the moment — a key focus of meditation and a practice you can take home with you. If you’re traveling with a partner, it’s a chance to spend time with only each other for company, which is a thought that probably shouldn’t fill you with dread.
5. You get to know and learn new things
Whether it’s learning a new skill such as cooking Thai food or learning a new language, travel presents ways in which we can further our knowledge and education. Learning makes our brains more active, which psychologists have found increases our level of happiness – particularly when learning something we find enjoyable.
6. Getting new experiences
For most people, traveling is about the new experiences, recalling memories of happiness can sustain a feeling of contentment long after the moment has passed, and new experiences are memories that can stick with you forever.
References: 1 & 2