Survey: Spontaneous Travelers Are Happier

Tamara E. Holmes
Survey: Spontaneous Travelers Are Happier

If you’re looking for a way to chase away the blues, the answer may be as simple as adding a travel line item to your budget.

Nearly half (49%) of Americans surveyed by vacation deal website Travelzoo who described themselves as ‘spontaneous leisure travelers’ said they were happy about their lives compared to only one-third of non-spontaneous travelers.

Travelzoo surveyed 6,129 adults in the U.S., Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Spain and the U.K. The survey defined ‘spontaneous travel’ as either trips to an unexpected location or last-minute getaways, and ‘spontaneous leisure travelers’ as those who took a minimum of one spontaneous trip lasting two days or more in 2018.

The survey found that resilience is a quality shared by many spontaneous travelers. In fact, they were almost twice as likely to say they could handle unexpected life challenges than their non-spontaneous counterparts. On top of that, 40% more spontaneous travelers than non-spontaneous travelers said they were content with their lives and felt connected to family and friends and the world at large.

One reason spontaneous travelers could be happier is because the travel helps them to relieve stress. The No. 1 motivation for survey respondents to go on a spontaneous trip was the need to unwind and relax (46%). The second most common reason was the desire to get away and do something special, a motivation shared by 43% of respondents. Some travelers were motivated by the trip itself, with 32% saying they took a spontaneous trip because they wanted to visit a specific destination and 30% saying they took a trip to attend a specific event or activity.

Spontaneous travelers also were more likely than non-spontaneous travelers to look to travel as a source of inspiration. Less than 4% of spontaneous travelers said they would take a trip if they didn’t feel internally driven to do so -- a percentage much lower than the 17% of non-spontaneous travelers who would take a trip even if they weren’t inspired to do so. Non-spontaneous travelers were also more likely to put more effort in finding the perfect trip, with 26% saying they’d look to five or more sources of information for ideas compared to 13% of non-spontaneous travelers.

Regardless of whether survey respondents had taken a spontaneous trip in the past, most were open to the idea in the future as 83% said they would consider taking an impulsive trip this year.

A spontaneous trip can get you out of a rut and give you a chance to relax and refresh, all of which can be beneficial to your emotional health and well-being. However, if you go into debt or dip into emergency savings in order to take the trip, you could put yourself in a precarious financial situation. If spontaneous travel is something that’s important to you, put a little bit aside from each paycheck so you’ll have money to spend when a trip comes up. Also, consider getting a credit card that offers travel rewards, which can help offset some of the travel costs.