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Travel can make you 7% happier

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People who enjoy travel, travel regularly and frequently talk about new travel plans between trips also report being happier overall than those who stay close to home, according to a new study from Washington State University. 

Researchers in the university’s School of Hospitality Business Management surveyed 500 adults, asking them about the importance of travel in their lives, how many trips they went on during a typical year, and how much time they spent researching and planning future vacations. They were also asked about their happiness and life satisfaction.

About half the survey participants reported going on more than four pleasure trips in an average year. Less than 10% said they rarely or never take vacations more than 75 miles from home. 

The survey found that those who pay more attention to tourism-related information and frequently discuss making travel plans with friends are more likely to go on regular vacations than those who aren’t constantly thinking about their next trip.

Additionally, participants in the survey who reported regularly traveling at least 75 miles away from home also reported being about 7% happier having a greater overall sense of well-being than those who reported traveling very rarely or not at all.

“This research shows the more people talk about and plan vacations the more likely they are to take them … the accumulation of travel experiences does appear to have a small yet noticeable effect on self-reported life satisfaction,” said Chun-Chu Chen, an assistant professor at WSU. “If you are like me and chomping at the bit to get out of dodge and see someplace new, this research will hopefully be some additional good motivation to start planning your next vacation.”

As travel restrictions due to COVID-19 begin to relax, the research could also have implications for both tourists and the tourism industry, Chen said, adding that travel companies, resorts and even airlines could launch social media campaigns to spark travelers’ interest in sharing their opinions about travel.

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