Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spend money on travel--buy happiness

Spend money on experiences, and you’ll be happier than if you buy “stuff.”

Get more satisfaction from experiences than things.
Photo by Beverly Burmeier
 That’s the message from a recent study by Cornell University psychology professor Thomas Gilovich and 2010 Ph.D. graduate Travis J. Carter. The researchers found that shoppers often second-guess their decisions when buying material things like shoes or electronic gadgets, and whatever pleasure they felt at first eventually diminishes.

But buying experiences not only provides greater satisfaction initially but builds over time. Good memories get better. So indulging in “experiential purchases” such as massages or vacations has greater long-term emotional benefits. What’s more, consumers also find it easier to decide on experiences, spending money on the first option that meets a set of expectations rather than painstakingly comparing all options as they might do when buying a car or flat-screen television.

For those of you who enjoy travel as I do, this study validates our choices. In most cases I’d rather take another trip than buy new furniture (unless it’s too scuffed to invite friends over to see our latest travel video).

Another point from the study is that there’s no correlation between the price of purchases and the happiness they produced. A lovely week-end getaway can bring as much pleasure as an extended trip to an exotic Pacific island. So pack your bag, and buy yourself some happiness!

Read more travel articles at Striped Pot and Austin Adventure Travel

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