Recent research has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that one road to happiness is travelling. The Happiness 360 Conference in partnership with the UN’s World Tourism Organization established that the happiest people on earth travel more. Happiness, defined as subjective well-being, is a really big deal in most circles.

But why so? The happier you are, the healthier you are.

And the healthier you are, the more creative and productive you can become.

So why is travelling so important for happiness? Experts agree it boils down to these factors:

1. Travelling Is a Great Way To Rewire Your Brain

According to neuroscientists, when we travel, we rewire our brains. This is because new experiences are the key to building new neural pathways in the brain. By rewiring your brain, you become more creative and accepting of new ideas.

2. It Improves Relationships

The happiest people are the ones with the strongest connections to others, be it family, friends or the general community. One of the best ways to improve these relationships is by travelling together and experiencing new things together. You will find that it creates an opportunity to have some of the most important memories of your life, and this level of connection does wonders for relationships.

3. It Builds Connections

Through travel, you get to meet new people, people that you otherwise would never have met. You get to establish new relationships and start forming connections with new people, which contributes to your overall happiness in life.

4. Experiences Are More Valuable Than Things

Studies have shown that we value our experiences more than any material possessions we may own. Spending money on a new experience is more important than buying something new because the experience stays with you forever and you can always take it with you wherever you go. when people are reminded of the good experience they had before, they instantly become much happier. As we age, this phenomenon only increases. Our overall satisfaction with experiences increases while the joy and satisfaction we get from buying new things reduces.

5. Memories Play Tricks On Us

It is not uncommon to hear travel stories of people and imagine they had an amazing experience, with no downsides, even if it is logically impossible to have only highs and no lows in any experience. This is because when we share stories, we minimize the bad parts and make the good parts seem even better. The same happens when we remember something we experienced before. You might have fallen sick on your trip, but you will hardly remember that part in a few years. Instead, those memories will be replaced by the best parts of the trip.

6. All Experiences Make Good Stories

The irony is that this is especially true for really bad experiences. If you got stuck in an elevator with an old man with short-term memory loss and you had to go to the bathroom and a racoon dropped in from the ceiling and attacked you and the old man and the old man knocked out the racoon by punching it, while that would make for a horrifying thing to experience, it would definitely score some laughs if you told the story later on.

Or take another example such as going on a camping trip. Just take your camping gear and hit the road. Having to spend some days with friends or close family and enjoy the long nights of talks and laughter by the fire or even having a picnic at a public park, will definitely remain in your memories for a long time. All travelling stories are great opportunities to share our experiences with others, which only builds even stronger connections.

7. It’s Hard To Compare Vacations

Comparing yourself to others is a major cause of dissatisfaction and unhappiness in this day and age. However, when it comes to travel, it is hard to compare experiences, say a trip to the Caribbean and a trip to Asia. It is your experience that matters, and whether you were satisfied with it is all that matters. Comparing material things like the size of your TV is much more straightforward and breeds more unhappiness.

Opinions of Key Scientists, Researchers, and Philosophers On Whether Travel Makes Us Happy

1. Dr Stefan Klein is the author of “The Science of Happiness“. He believes that the pleasures of discovering new things and the joy that comes with meeting new people or the thrill of eating new foods all come together to create a feeling of happiness in any traveller.

2. Professor A.C. Grayling, a philosopher believes that travelling is the key to expanding the mind and spirit. He believes we educate ourselves by travelling and exposing ourselves to new ideas and people.

3. Lu Ping, a diplomat, says travelling refreshes his eyes and renews his spirit. He, however, admits that places where one encounters human misery, especially if it is pointless, end up making him unhappy.

If you are thinking about going on vacation, consider travelling to the city of Santiago. It is an amazing opportunity to enrich your life with some new experiences. Plus, many locals offer free walking tours in Santiago who are available to help you get the most out of this city. See more great travel destinations that will make you happy here!