Lonely Planet Writer

Book that trip you’re dreaming of! Experiences make most people happier than owning things

If you dream of travelling, it’s time to start planning, as new research has found that more than 80% of people say experiences make them happier than owning possessions.

A couple travels through Istanbul.
A couple travels through Istanbul. Image by piskunov/Getty Images

A survey of more than 2,000 people from around the UK found that the experiences that bring people the most happiness are spending time with family and friends and going on holidays. The research was commissioned by the insurance company LV=.

Only 8% of respondents said that purchases make them happiest, though 16% of those aged 18 to 24 said the same. About 41% of those over 50 years old said they wish they spent more money on experiences. Roughly 17% of those aged 25 to 34 said they wish they’d spent more money on physical items, while only 9% of people older than 50 said the same.

A young couple jumping into a lake in the summer.
A young couple jumping into a lake in the summer. Image by Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Nearly all (96%) of people surveyed said travelling to a new country for a holiday brought them a lot of happiness, and the same number said returning to a destination they had already visited brought them a lot of happiness. Sixty-five percent of people older than 50 said travelling to a new country brings them a great deal of happiness, and 59% of people aged 25 to 34 say the same.

In the last 12 months, a quarter of respondents have travelled to a new country for a holiday and 49% have returned to a destination they’ve visited in the past. Nearly half (47%) said they wished they’d spent more money on experiences over their lifetime, and 46% want to spend more money on experiences in 2017 than they did this year.

If you’re wondering where you would fit in compared to others, the company also created a quiz to find out how respondents compare to the rest of the UK.