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Traveling more often makes consumers happier, study finds

Experts say that experiencing new things and getting out of the usual routine can improve overall well-being

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While travel plans have looked a lot different recently because of COVID-19, a new study conducted by researchers from Washington State University could have many consumers getting their suitcases ready. 

According to the findings, consumers are likely to be happier the more often they travel. The researchers found that talking about and researching trips, and then ultimately going on those trips, contributed to better overall well-being. 

“While things like work, family life, and friends play a bigger role in overall reports of well-being, the accumulation of travel experiences does appear to have a small yet noticeable effect on self-reported life satisfaction,” said researcher Chun-Chu (Bamboo) Chen. “It really illustrates the importance of being able to get out of your routine and experience new things.”  

Several benefits to more travel

To better understand how travel can impact consumers’ happiness and well-being, the researchers surveyed 500 people on their typical travel habits, including how often they travel in a year, why they travel, and their overall life satisfaction. 

The researchers learned that more than 50 percent of the respondents traveled for leisure at least four times a year -- and the more trips they took, the happier they were. The study also revealed that rather than just daydreaming about a vacation, participants were most likely to follow through with travel plans when they discussed their intentions with other people or actively spent time researching their desired destination. These participants were also more likely to make travel a regular part of their yearly plans. 

Ultimately, participants who traveled the most often were nearly 10 percent happier than those who put traveling on the back burner. 

Getting ready for travel

As consumers anxiously anticipate travel restrictions to be loosened in the coming months, it could be a good idea to start doing the research for an upcoming trip as soon as possible. Even if the trip is months away, getting in the travel mindset could help boost consumers’ moods. 

“This research shows the more people talk about and plan vacations the more likely they are to take them,” Chen said. “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.” 

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