As strange as it might sound, it turns out that having more stuff piled up in your closets at home actually doesn’t mean you have a great life. In fact, if the goal of life is to cultivate as much happiness as possible, science suggests that it’s the people with the most experiences that are the winners – not the people with the largest collection of designer clothes. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that savvy Millennials are spending about $26,000 a year on experience and travel.
This new information comes as something as a shock to some of us, who have grown up with the ideal that we’re supposed to save all of our money from those monthly paychecks towards buying the latest phone, television, or car. However, if you’ve been looking for ways to travel without spending any money, then you may be missing the point of what life’s all about. While it’s important to find vacation opportunities that are within your budget, the truth is that travel should be what you’re spending your hard-earned dollars on instead of material possessions.
According to science, travel and experience will bring you the best value for money in the form of happiness, and memories you can share with your loved ones.
Our Experiences Define Us
When you spend your money on travel, you’re making an investment in your long-term happiness that bypasses the disappointments and concerns of material possessions. This doesn’t mean that you should simply throw your money around aimlessly, or fail to keep your valuables safe on vacation with an RFID-protected money belt, but it does mean that you can make more informed decisions about where you spend your spare cash next year.
According to the study conducted by Cornell University, which took place over a period of two decades, the key underlying difference between the value of experience, and the value of objects, is adaption. In other words, new items will make you happy for a while, until you get used to them, and grow bored, whereas travel experiences continue to make you happy forever. Think about it this way: those insanely expensive new shoes you bought last year might be collecting dust in your closet, but the trip you took to Europe ten years ago still fills you with happiness and fond memories whenever you take the time to reminisce.
The reason that travel makes you happier, is that your experiences are more capable of defining you, and your life, than the goods and products you buy. Though you can love your material possessions, and even define yourself with a pair of incredible earrings or a brand new car, the truth is that items always remain separate from you. Alternatively, when you spend your money on travel, those experience become a part of you.
Travel Lets Us Connect with the World
While your RFID-protected money belt might help to ensure that you don’t make unwanted connections with malicious people on holiday, the rest of your travel experience is designed to help you create social relationships and manage connected experiences on a higher level. For example, when you go on vacation, you connect with the people that you meet in your chosen destination, explore their culture and heritage, and even contribute to deeper bonds with the friends and family members that you take with you.
During the experiences of everyday life, the consistency and security provided by the community circles that you’ve grown up in can make it difficult to find the motivation to meet new people and explore yourself. When you travel, on the other hand, it suddenly becomes easier to open up your perspectives and meet new, interesting characters from around the world. Expanding that connection with the human race in general is an important part of living a fulfilling life – and let’s face it, you’re not going to make any deep relationships just because you bought a new phone.
Spend Your Money on Travel and Open Your Mind
Although the way that you spend your money abroad will depend on your unique personality and desires for certain experiences, one thing remains the same for all jet-setters across the world, regardless of where they go – travel opens your mind. No book in the entire library of volumes available on Amazon would able to teach you everything you can learn about the world, and yourself, from travelling. When you spend your money on travel, you interact with people from different walks of life, explore new cultures, and open your eyes to a wider world.
Travel also gives you more incredible stories to tell to your grandchildren than you’ll be able to achieve with a new iPhone. The products you buy now aren’t going to be the things that create incredible memories for the future, but seeing the pyramids in Egypt or skiing in the Swiss alps is an entirely different matter. Just make sure that you’re wearing your RFID-protected money belt wherever you go if you want to avoid telling too many stories about identity theft and pickpocketing.
Possessions Let You Down – But Travel Doesn’t
Even the most impressive material objects are prone to getting lost, breaking, or even becoming obsolete as new trends in technology appear. There are a million different ways that the items you fell in love with can quickly become a source of frustration, and while travelling may not always go to plan, you can rest assured that you’ll always come away with an experience to share later. What’s more, you can take steps to prevent some of the more worrying parts of travel, with accessories like the RFID-protected money wallet and TSA-approved padlocks.
At the same time, while just about anyone can buy an iPhone or a new gadget, your travel experiences will always be personal and unique to you. With travel, you get something special that is impossible to value.
What’s Stopping You?
Stop paying out for things that don’t matter, and start to spend your money on travel. You’ll be much happier for it, and you’ll find yourself building a valuable collection of memories that you can carry with you throughout your entire life.