Proving or disproving the veracity of the old adage, "money can't buy happiness," has fascinated economists, psychologists, and other scientists for years—seemingly even more so recently. There have been studies that show more money will make you happier, but only up to a certain amount; studies that show the mood-boosting power of money is limitless; and studies that show money can't make you happier, but it can make you less unhappy.
But across the board, research has found that buying experiences, not material things, has the greatest positive impact on a person's well-being—and survey results released earlier this week highlight just how much a certain kind of experience will boost a person's happiness. The study, commissioned by Booking.com, polled 6620 people (18+) across the U.S., Canada, UK, Germany, France, and Australia about their opinions on spontaneous travel, and found that most people are big fans.
Americans were the mostly likely to report that spontaneous travel is a key to happiness: 79 percent agree that taking a spontaneous trip "boosts their happiness"; 65 percent stated that it makes them "more productive at work"; and 74 percent of respondents feel it "reduces stress."
What you do once you arrive spontaneously at your destination almost doesn't matter. Respondents were excited about a wide range of possible trips: 69 percent said they were interested in city trips, 67 percent in foodie trips, 67 percent in seeing family, 65 percent in country breaks, 64 percent in beach trips, and 64 percent in road trips.
The study also revealed that the best way to impress the lady in your life is with a trip. Over half of all female respondents (53 percent) said the gift that would be most meaningful to them from a significant other would be a surprise trip, compared to only 8 percent who chose jewelry. But don't wait for a birthday or anniversary: 44 percent of American women surveyed said they wish their significant other would book a last minute trip for no reason at all. Get packing!