According to research conducted by faculty members at the University of Alabama’s College of Communication and Information Sciences, simply planning travel improves people’s overall happiness.
The research was conducted by Dr. Jameson Hayes, associate professor and director of the Public Opinion Lab at the University of Alabama, along with Jay Waters, instructor in advertising and public relations. The data collected by Hayes and Waters suggest that the expectation of future vacations alone makes people happier. This planning and programming were identified as essential for the mental well-being of respondents.
“Traveling makes us better and happier people. And it’s an easy thing to do,” said Waters. “I hope people have access to this information and decide to make travel a priority, looking at travel not as an expense, but as an investment in their quality of life.”
The study surveyed 1,040 US travelers aged between 25 and 55. In addition to finding that people who plan their next vacation are happier, the study also found that people who travel 15 to 21 days a year are the happiest of the group of respondents.
34.2% of respondents said their favorite vacation destination was the beach, but Waters points out that it doesn’t matter where you go. “Scheduling your next vacation seems to significantly increase happiness, whether it’s on the beach, in the mountains, or in a big city,” Waters said.
The study also found that people who preserve memories or memories of past vacations are happier than those who don’t. “Surrounding yourself with souvenirs from past vacations, like clothes, photos, art, bumper stickers … can increase happiness levels,” Hayes said.
“The results have a clear and refreshing message. Looking forward to your next trip, to your happy place, really makes everyone happier,” Hayes said. “So, always have a trip in view; you will be happier for it.”
According to Ricardo Mendonça, general director of Next Seguro Viagem, a São Paulo company exclusively dedicated to the commercialization of travel insurance plans, “this research reinforces the common perception that good planning, as well as involvement in topics related to travel, are always pleasurable”. Mendonça also reinforces that “the expressive majority of people prefer to travel after long research and preparation. This sometimes includes selecting a destination, studying a good itinerary, choosing places that can be visited during your stay, hiring a good travel insurance plan in case of medical emergencies, in addition to choosing good accommodation and the necessary auxiliary services. Good planning combined with high expectations certainly brings satisfaction and motivation.”