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3 Ways Travel Makes You Happy

Posted November 7, 2016

In 1970, the nation of Bhutan and His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth Dragon King, made world news and lasting effects on social understanding with the introduction of the concept of the Gross National Happiness (GNH). He made the famous declaration, "Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product." Essentially, the happiness of a nation reflects more success than the number of goods and services produced, and experiences mean more than materials.

Rejecting the commonly used standard of national success, Gross National Product, Bhutan committed to dedicating its efforts to increasing the level of happiness for its citizens. For the past 46 years, Bhutan has set the standard for the relevance of intangible happiness and the critical importance of its pursuit.

Along the same lines, personal happiness can be achieved through experiences like travel, rather than materials like cars and clothing. Though there is a wide spectrum of possible answers, recent science indicates that travel, an experiential purchase, could be the answer to long-lasting happiness. A research study conducted by Cornell Psychology Chair and professor Ted Gilovich found that money spent on "experiential purchases," rather than "material purchases," provide greater satisfaction and happiness because they:

  • Enhance social relations
  • Help form a person's identity
  • Are judged for themselves, not through social comparison

Gilovich's research clearly states that spending your money on an experience will provide increased self-awareness, a greater world-view, and extended happiness.

That leads to the important question: How can you find happiness through traveling? Below are 3 ways travel makes you happy.

Technology has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our day-to-day. From our work life, social life, and even down to our sleep trends… technology is an ever-present figure in our lives. Though technology offers many conveniences, our brains need a break!

Communication breakdown

Traveling can give you an excuse to turn off your phone, put an "Out of Office" message on your e-mail, log off Facebook, stop tweeting, and ignore Instagram. After those first withdrawal symptoms, you can then enjoy the freedom of your technology detox. You'll feel so much happier while reconnecting with the beauty of our world and yourself by unplugging from the stresses and commitments that come with being connected 24/7.


Incredible view high above Ha Long Bay in Vietnam

It is dangerously easy to become mired down by the stresses and challenges of life. We can lose our ability to see the bigger picture and find ourselves tied up in frustration and discontent while focusing on the little things. Traveling, nearly anywhere, is the perfect tool for recapturing the ability to step back and gain perspective. While gaining respect and understanding for the culture and living conditions of other people, we are able to more easily gain appreciation for our own situation. True happiness is found everywhere, even in the poorest of nations. Witnessing firsthand the dignity and joy of people throughout our world is the perfect catalyst for your own personal happiness renaissance.


Traveling makes you a more well-rounded, educated, and interesting human being. Enriched by your travels, you'll come home with experiences and memories that will continue to shape your daily life. Materials can bring you joy for a moment of time, but rarely last a lifetime. Travel can bring you happiness in the moment, but the lasting memories create a sense of joy and well-being that will be around for a lifetime. The world is vast, diverse, and full of adventure. Seize the moment, get out there, and find your happiness through travel!