Are travel experiences the ticket to your happiness?
It’s an age-old debate – which makes you happier, travel experiences or physical objects? After years of research, the experts think they’ve found a definitive answer.
Travel experiences and physical objects are things we prize above all else, so it’s natural to question which we should pursue more to ensure we feel content. After seeing a surge in holiday bookings since the start of January, Jet2holidays has delved into this hot topic.
They discovered that research suggests travel experiences offer a heightened sense of happiness, excitement and pleasantness compared to physical objects. This is backed up by the findings of Cornell University psychology professor, Dr Thomas Gilovich, who has spent 20 years researching the subject.
Specifically, he states that buying new possessions offer only momentary happiness. Products are also far easier to compare, which increases feelings of dissatisfaction. Additionally, product lines are often revised and upgraded, which can make an older possession seem particularly outdated.
If you’re trying to weigh up the advantages of a travel experience versus a new product, you could try thinking about what you value most. For instance, when it comes to self development, there’s no contest. It’s likely you’d be less willing to trade an experience you enjoyed over a product you own. After all, even negative experiences can be valued if you think of them as character building! It’s also likely you’ll look back on a holiday with a rose-tinted perspective – you’ll remember the gorgeous view rather than the day it rained.
One of the great things about booking a holiday is looking forward to it! This is backed up by what researchers define as ‘anticipatory pleasure’. Waiting to go on holiday can sustain your happiness for a longer period of time compared to the instant gratification of buying a product immediately.
Furthermore, experiences help to create ‘flow’ as a mental state. Simply put, enjoying a holiday or trying new food makes you feel a sense of engagement and progression with your life. It’s far easier to focus on an experience than a material possession.
Finally, one of the best things about travel is that you can share your experiences with others! And it’s a much more rewarding process than merely demonstrating your latest purchase. If you’d like to tell us about your best memories of travel, please share them with us below! We’d also love to know what side of the debate you’re on – do you agree that travel experiences make us happier than physical objects? Simply leave a reply…
by Elle Draper
Elle, along with Alan, is the owner of Spain Buddy and the busy web design business – Gandy-Draper. Born a “Norverner”, she then spent most of her life “Dann Saff” before moving to Spain in 2006. Elle’s loves are Alan, the internet, their three bouncing dogs, good food, and dry white wine – although not necessarily in that order.