It's Official: Travel Trumps Material Things

Becca Tapert

Becca Tapert

This just in: recent studies out of Cornel University conclude that travel makes—and keeps—us way happier than material possessions. 

I get it, our generation is all about instant gratification. Saving up to splurge on that thing you’ve had your eye on is a thing of the past, thank you credit cards. We want the feels and we want them now. We want to be relevant and up to date, but while we may get those fuzzy feelings of enjoyment and fulfillment from bringing home that ‘I just have to have it’, research suggests you may want to consider reallocating those funds. 


Head nod to Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor over at Cornell University. This man has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades, and according to his findings one of the main impediments to happiness is adaptation. Meaning that just so soon as that thing ‘we just had to have’ becomes ordinary, the level of satisfaction we get from it fades. Which leads us to buying something else. And so on. It’s a nasty cycle. 

The good news is, research Dr. T has been conducting has a found an alternative to the nasty.

According to Professor T, we experience the same level of happiness when we buy something we want and when we travel. But, spoiler alert: travel trumps material things, and here is why. 

The amount of enjoyment we derive from the purchase of material possessions fades over time, whereas memories, experience and connection - all byproducts of travel - are a source of joy that stays with us for our entire lives. And if that wasn't enough, there's always all the other things you learn by heading out into the great unknown. 

So, do it. Get out there! Invest in your future. Build memories, find your moments. And do it knowing you'll have them for forever.