Not just fun: Psychology suggests spontaneous trips boost happiness

Doctor's orders: Book that trip now.

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It’s officially safe to tell your family that your spontaneous trips across the world aren’t distracting you from real-world problems, but rather providing you with increased happiness and well-being (that may turn into post-trip depression on the plane back). 

After 2.5 years of pandemic travel restrictions and idle time scrolling rewatching old Parts Unknown episodes, Americans have adopted an impromptu approach to travel, often making plans on a whim. So what’s the psychology behind the growing shift from meticulously planned trips to spur-of-the-moment travel?

Travel company Skyscanner’s recent study examined current travel trends and found that more than half of US participants had booked trips to destinations they didn’t know much about. Even more shocking, over half (56%) of those individuals arrived at the airport without a destination in mind. A bold move, but a respectful one at that.

But it’s not just more exciting to eschew the tedious planning process that comes with most trips. As it turns out, it might enhance your enjoyment of the trip that much more.

Emma Kenny, a psychologist who studied the psychology behind this trend, explained, “Whilst it may seem scary to just pack a bag and hop on a plane to take a chance on an unknown destination, you will psychologically benefit, as this creates a ‘can do’ attitude and will remind you of the limitless possibilities that are out there. And because you have no clear set agenda or plans, every step you take will involve a sense of adventure, which is truly freeing.”

What I’ve gathered from this study is: How dare I call myself spontaneous all these years when I have yet to show up to LAX with just a dream and my cardigan? **Double checks company remote work policy and calls an Uber**

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