Academics at San Francisco State University have found that travel makes us happy. Sheesh. Tell us something we don’t know. Well, to be accurate, what the beardy ones found was that buying life experiences makes us happier than buying possessions.
That includes everything from concert tickets to weekends away and holidays in far-flung places.
Almost 10,000 people were surveyed for the study, which explored their shopping habits and their personality traits, values and life satisfaction in general.
The results found that being an “experience shopper” – as opposed to a “stuff shopper” – was linked to greater wellbeing. Habitu- al experiential shoppers were found to reap long-term benefits from their spending, reporting greater life satisfaction.
“We know that being an experience shopper is linked to greater wellbeing,” says the psychologist behind the study, Ryan Howell, “but we wanted to find out why some people gravitate towards buying experiences.”
Personality was measured using the Big Five personality traits model, a scale psy- chologists use to describe how extrovert, neurotic, open, conscientious or agreeable a person is. Those who spent most of their disposable income on experiences – as opposed to stuff – scored highly on the extrovert and openness-to-new-experience scales.
The authors suggest that it could be easier to change your spending habits than your personality traits.
“Even for people who naturally find themselves drawn to material purchases, our results suggest that getting more of a balance between traditional purcha-ses and those that provide you with an experience, could lead to greater life satisfaction and wellbeing.”
So, there you have it. Happy travels!