While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused all kinds of stress to people around the world, the eventual opening up of the world’s borders should serve as a boon to people’s happiness and wellbeing. That’s according to a new study published this week.
According to the study published in the journal of Tourism Analysis, frequent travelers are happier with their lives than people who don’t travel at all. The study, published Monday and conducted by Chun-Chu (Bamboo) Chen, an assistant professor at Washington State University’s School of Hospitality Business Management, found that people who regularly travel at least 75 miles away from home were 7% happier than those who said they travel very rarely or not at all.
The study queried 500 participants about their travel habits and their overall wellbeing and found a direct link between people who travel and an increase in happiness.
“While things like work, family life and friends play a bigger role in overall reports of well-being, the accumulation of travel experiences does appear to have a small yet noticeable effect on self-reported life satisfaction,” Chen said in the study’s release. “It really illustrates the importance of being able to get out of your routine and experience new things.”
The study also found that just talking about traveling can boost people’s happiness and mirrors a lot of other, prior studies that showed the same thing, including a Cornell study from 2014 that found money spent on doing rather than money spent on having tend to provide more happiness.
“This research shows that the more people talk about and plan vacations the more likely they are to take them,” Chen said. “If you are like me and chomping at the bit to get out of doge and see someplace new, this research will hopefully be some additional good motivation to start planning your next vacation.”
While COVID-19 has locked people out of traveling, and delayed satisfaction for the millions of people who typically rely on vacations and other new experiences to contribute to their wellbeing, many expect that the pandemic’s slow end to mark a boon for travel, not only because of a pent-up demand for travel, but also because COVID-19 has actually contributed positively to Americans savings.
According to MagnifyMoney, the parent company of Lending Tree, the U.S. personal savings rate through the pandemic has gone from 12.9% in March to 33.6% in April. In fact, the personal savings rate soared for both the U.S. and Canada through Q3 of 2020, according to Reuters, which found that the rates for both Q2 and Q3 were almost double any quarter in 2019.
That data generally means people were putting away more money than pre-pandemic, and could serve as a boon for the travel industry, along with the hospitality and experience sectors, once COVID-19 numbers start to draw down lower as vaccines continue to roll out around the world.