Researchers at Washington State University have found scientific evidence that people who travel frequently are significantly happier than those who do not. The study also revealed that individuals who are constantly thinking about and discussing their travel plans are more likely to go on regular vacations.
“This research shows the more people talk about and plan vacations the more likely they are to take them,” said study lead author Chun-Chu Chen. “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.”
The researchers set out to examine whether frequent travelers have higher levels of life satisfaction, and why these individuals travel more frequently than others.
A survey of 500 respondents showed that individuals who personally value tourism are more likely to gather travel-relevant information, which leads to more frequent traveling.
The team also found that frequent travelers are, in fact, more satisfied with their life. The findings indicate that travel and tourism can be an important life domain affecting how people evaluate their overall quality of life.
Survey participants who reported regularly traveling at least 75 miles away from home also reported being substantially happier when asked about their overall well-being.
Previous studies that examined the health and wellness benefits of tourism experiences, including stress relief, were primarily focused on the effect of a single trip or vacation. The current investigation looked at the sustained benefits of travel over the course of a year.
“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 Chen. “It really illustrates the importance of being able to get out of your routine and experience new things.”
When travel restrictions due to COVID-19 begin to relax, the research could have important implications for both tourists and the tourism industry. Chen said that based on the results of the study, travel companies, resorts, and even airlines could launch social media campaigns to spark people’s interest in discussing their opinions about travel.
The study is published in the journal Tourism Analysis.