New Research Shows That Just the Act of Planning a Trip Can Boost Happiness


Feeling down? Maybe it’s time to use those miles! Or, at least, think about it.

A new poll conducted by the Institute for Applied Positive Research has found that simply planning a trip can help boost happiness and alleviate stress.

According to the study, 97 percent of respondents say having a trip planned makes them happier, while 82 percent reported that it makes them “moderately” or “significantly” happier. Additionally, 71 percent say they feel greater levels of energy when they have a trip planned in the next six months.

These findings come just a couple of months after a study revealed that Americans are experiencing the lowest levels of happiness in 50 years amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

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The survey, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, found that just 14 percent of American adults say they’re very happy this year. By contrast, that number is down from 31 percent in 2018. When asked if they sometimes or often feel isolated, 50 percent of responders agreed, which is up from 23 percent in 2018.


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“Booking a trip—even just getting it on the calendar—might be the very thing we need to restore our emotional immune system after months of mounting uncertainty and stress,” said Michelle Gielan, founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, in a press release.

Given Gielan’s recent findings, the travel industry has decided to launch an industry-wide initiative dubbed “Let’s Go There” — aimed to inspire Americans to begin planning future getaways.

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“The memories and experiences that travel enables cannot be replaced,” Jill Estorino, President and Managing Director at Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, and a co-chair of the Let’s Go There Coalition said in a statement.

“This campaign is a first step in inspiring Americans to think about planning a vacation, and encouraging them to look forward to experiencing the wonder and joy—and even magic—that only travel can offer.”


The Let’s Go There Coalition includes over 75 partnering businesses, from airlines to hotels and more.

“As millions of people have stayed close to home to contain the pandemic’s spread, we have all missed getting away to be with others and experience moments that clear your mind and refresh your soul,” Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said. “Those days will return, and we want travelers to know that we’ll be ready when they’re ready to make their next trip.”

Since March, the coronavirus has swept through the U.S., infecting over 6.3 million Americans and killing about 189,076, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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