The research, which questioned 17,000 people from 17 countries, revealed that for the majority, travel experiences, anything from backpacking, to boutique B&B breaks, family villa holidays, or even exotic and remote retreats, brings more lasting happiness than material things (70%). Which explains why most people (56%) prioritize holidays over possessions such as clothes, jewelry and gadgets while almost half (48%) rank travel over home improvements. The emotional lift that travel brings hits at each stage of the travel process from planning, through booking to actually going on holiday. And it’s the planning stages that give the most immediate boosts in happiness, with nearly three-quarters of people (72%) saying they get a kick of excitement just from researching where to go on holiday. Over half (56%) agree they then feel happiest when booking their holiday, underlining the importance of instant booking when it comes to securing an ideal stay. Shawn Achor, BA, MA, Harvard, one of the world’s leading experts on happiness, NY Times bestselling author and speaker known for his advocacy of positive psychology explains: "In a world where every dollar and hour count, travelers are looking for a higher return than ever on their investment of time and money. Why take time off and pay money to be more stressed and less happy? Get the full story at