Why Travelling Brings True Happiness Not Buying Things

What do you remember the most about your childhood? A game your parents bought you, a birthday present? Or was it the experience of your birthday party and of playing the game? The truth is, most of our favourite memories are built off of the experiences we’ve had, usually with other people

And, since science tells us that remembering good memories makes us happier, we’ve got to keep making good memories to look back on. Hence, we gotta travel more! 😜

Let’s go through all the other reasons why travelling is far better for our happiness than just accumulating material wealth! 

We need to share happiness with people to truly be happy 

Believe it or not, loneliness can be a real danger to our health! It’s not only bad for us to literally be alone, but it’s almost just as bad to feel lonely. Sometimes being in the same environment for too long can have us forgetting to appreciate the people around us, or not really experiencing true community. That’s when it’s time for an adventure abroad

When we travel, we’re stepping outside of our norm into the unknown. And because we need to feel secure when we’re in an unfamiliar place, we tend to be more open-minded and trusting when making friends abroad. That’s why a lot of meaningful and long lasting connections are often made on the road. You’ll also grow a lot closer to those you travel with.

Robert Waldinger’s Harvard study shares that loneliness can have the same damaging effect on us as smoking or alcoholism. Another member of the research team, George Valliant, also explains his book “Aging Well”,

“…the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships.”

Isn’t that so true? We tend to experience happiness when remembering the moments we’ve had with friends and family throughout our lives. Even just one good experience with people we meet at a faraway place can bring us joy for the rest of lives every time we recall those memories! 

Travelling improves our emotional and mental health 

Whether we’re travelling either just for a vacation or for an enriching cultural-exchange experience, it liberates us. Studies have shown that the exciting sensations of travelling expands our mind and transforms the way we think! So the more you travel, the better it is for your mental health, especially if you put down the phone for a bit to live in each moment

At home, very often we get tied to our phones and forget to actually live in the here and now. Travel takes us outside the box of what we’ve grown accustomed to and helps us break out of our routines, including bad habits of compulsively checking our phone and logging into social media every other minute. 

While we know it’s not always feasible to unplug completely, it’s worth trying to cut down your screen time as much as possible. Research shows that this can turn out to be mentally freeing


Science directly links experiences with happiness

Ever wondered why when you first see something new and shiny, it’s all you could’ve ever wanted…until it’s not? The more we buy, the more we want, whereas experiences become memories we’ll almost always get to keep. These memories that stay with us over the years, and age with us as we grow! What we experience also gives us a brighter outlook on life while becoming the stories we tell when we’re older. 

Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University recently explained to the world in his research how happiness is directly linked with experiences and not material possessions

“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

As we get used to the things we buy, the excitement and happiness fades and things become mundane. Until we find our next object of desire in order to temporarily fill our void, just to repeat the cycle all over again! And then we’re just left with this emptiness that often comes with just having a bunch of stuff we’d eventually throw away or leave behind. Why not go on a trip instead to immerse ourselves in the world around us, and to experience life more fully?! It’s been done before, with beautiful results! 


So, travelling’s not just better than material possessions but helps us improve our overall health, wellbeing and happiness. Happiness is not what we buy, but how we live. ❤️

Wondering where to start making new memories? Here are some amazing experiences you could give a go! Keep making happy travel memories, nomads!

travelling is good for youhave new experiencespositive experiencesexperience buildingexperiences are better than moneytravel happinesstravel is goodtravel makes me happytravelling is better than material thingstravelling benefitswellnesswellbeingwhy travelhealth

About Lois

Lois is a life-long learner and free spirit who loves to write and make stories come to life on a page. She dreams of adventure! Having grown up in an international community in Singapore and Chengdu,... show more...

View all posts by Lois

Share the Workaway idea


You might also like

Marine conservation, sea sculptures and coastal cleanup in Norway!
Travel photography - "Villa Shardana" (Pula, Italy)