Or, Possibly the Most Uplifting Survey Results ever to Come from a Study on Holidays and their Relationship to Happiness: New global research commissioned by Booking.com has revealed that travel gives us such an emotional boost, we consider planning and going away on holiday more vital for our happiness than other big life occasions—such as our own wedding day (49 percent), going on a date with your partner (51 percent), landing a new job (50 percent), getting engaged (45 percent), and even having a baby (29 percent). Furthermore, 77 percent say they book a holiday just when they’re in need of a happiness boost.
The research, which questioned 17,000 people from 17 countries, produced revelations such as the following:
—For the majority (70 percent), travel experiences bring more lasting happiness than material things.
—This explains why most people (56 percent) prioritize holidays over possessions such as clothes, jewelry and gadgets.
—Almost half (48 percent) rank travel over home improvements.
The emotional lift that travel brings hits at each stage of the travel process from planning, through booking to actually going on holiday. And it’s the planning stages that give the most immediate boosts in happiness:
—Nearly three quarters of people (72 percent) saying they get a kick of excitement just from researching where to go on holiday.
—Over half (56 percent) agree they then feel happiest when booking their holiday, underlining the importance of instant booking when it comes to securing an ideal stay.
—Almost half (49 people) of people say a holiday brings them more happiness than their wedding day.
—Over half (51 percent) prefer travelling over going on a date with their partner
—More than three quarters of people (77 percent) book a holiday to cheer themselves up when they’re in need of a happiness boost.
—Seven out of ten (70 percent) then have the best time on holiday when they can make themselves at home in their accommodation.
—Over two thirds of us find happiness staying in a hotel, hostel or villa (67 percent).
—Another third feel happiest staying in an apartment or home with local residents (33 percent).
Planning and Booking = Happiness during the Holiday: Author Shawn Achor, BA, MA, Harvard, and a leading expert on happiness, said that the data from this new study highlight how “there is a very significant correlation between enjoying the booking experience, and happiness during the actual trip – meaning that one of the best predictors of a happy vacation is to have an enjoyable booking process. Travel planned well and instantly booked with ease can dramatically improve your happiness, no matter what type of stay and trip you seek. This links to my previous researched published in Harvard Business Review indicating that, unlike the average vacation, well-planned, low stress vacations have a 94 percent chance of returning you to work with greater levels of energy, engagement and happiness.”
Anchor added, “In fact, we are so addicted to planning and booking our trips, that over a third admit to researching holidays months in advance (35 percent)–with an eager 5 percent planning over a year in advance.”
This is then followed, he said, by the anticipation of what’s to come:
—Between booking and actually travelling, over a third admit to chasing a happiness boost by thinking about their holiday one or more times a day (39 percent).
—In preparation, eight out of ten (80 percent) find happiness in looking at a map and researching places to visit, and over half (52 percent) like planning and shopping for their holiday wardrobe.
—Almost eight out of 10 people (79 percent) say scrolling through pictures of destinations and beautiful accommodations help them to feel happy in the run up to their holiday
—Another six out of ten (61 percent) enjoy continuing to read reviews of the accommodation they’ve just booked.
Yet, all the anticipation in the world can’t replace the happiness of actually being on holiday:
—Six out of ten (62 percent) feel a surge of happiness when they set their out of office and leave work.
—Almost nine out of ten (87 percent) say it’s the first day of a holiday and seeing their accommodation for the first time (83 percent) that are the happiest holiday moments.
—From then on, 70 percent say they have the best time on holiday when they can make themselves at home wherever they stay.
—Over two thirds find happiness when staying in a hotel, hostel or villa (67 percent), and another third feel happiest staying in an apartment or home with local residents (33 percent).
Concluded Achor: “Study after study has indicated that there is a huge boost to happiness in the “anticipatory phase” which occurs while planning and visualizing a trip. This new research shows how significant this boost really is–on par or better than getting engaged … Based on a decade of research, the greatest competitive advantage in the modern world is a positive and engaged brain. In fact, I recently found that people who take all of their vacation days are not only happier, they are 34 percent more likely to receive a bonus over the next three years. Happy travel pays.”
A Note on Methodology: Research commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 people from each of the 17 markets who had taken at least 1 domestic or international holiday in the past year. In total, 17,157 respondents (18yrs +) were surveyed from the UK, Germany, France, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Russia, USA, Canada, Brazil, China, Japan, India, Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. Data was collected from 9 September to 4 October 2016.