Lonely Planet Writer

More than half of Americans say travel is a top mood booster

If you’re looking for something to lift your spirits this summer, it may be time to start planning your next trip. More than half of Americans say travel improves their mood more than exercise or shopping, according to a survey.

Monument Valley at sunset, Navajo Nation Reservation, Utah, USA.
Monument Valley at sunset, Navajo Nation Reservation, Utah, USA. Image by 500px

But the ‘Traveler’s Sweet Spot’ report from booking site Priceline.com found that not all travel is created equally when it comes to brightening people’s moods. The survey found that 38% of men and 34% of women thought that romantic vacations were the best for a pick-me-up, while 33% of all respondents ranked family visits at the top, and 23% said nothing beats a trip with friends.

Diamond Head lighthouse, Waikiki.
Diamond Head lighthouse, Waikiki. Image by

The company also notes that vacations don’t have to be long to be satisfying. An earlier Priceline.com report found that 80% of Americans would rather take multiple short trips than one long vacation. The consequences of not taking a trip can also be dire, as 44% of Americans say they frequently regret not be able to travel more.

Monument Valley at sunset, Navajo Nation Reservation, Utah, USA.
Monument Valley at sunset, Navajo Nation Reservation, Utah, USA. Image by 500px

But despite knowing that travel will make many people feel better – and they may regret not going – a recent report from Project: Time Off found that more than half of workers in the US left some of their vacation time unused in 2015. That amounts to 658 million unused days, 222 million of which cannot be rolled over, banked or paid out. If you want to make some mood-boosting travel a priority, that survey also found that people who planned ahead were more likely to actually use that vacation time – noting that 51% of people who planned used all their vacation time, while only 39% of non-planners did.