Does Travel Really Make You Happier?

Post in brief: Does travel make you happier? Are you looking for travel to make you happier or are you traveling to expand the happiness within.

Have you ever had this experience? The suitcases are sitting by the door, and you’re uber-excited about your vacation. The anticipation is high. And then a wave of stress, uncertainty and questioning sets in. Is this the perfect place, hotel, experience? Did I make (80% of women make the travel decisions) the right choices to make everyone happier? Did you consider yourself in the happiness equation?

Studying Happiness Experts

For the past ten years, I’ve been studying what the experts have to say on what constitutes a perfect trip. What I discovered was a gaping hole in the personalization of travel and people’s actual truths about it all. The fact is, you can’t physically change a place to personalize it to your individual needs. Certain experiences, activities, and aspects of a destination may attract you. Honestly, if you’ve not spent time understanding your authentic self, your inner travel guide, you probably won’t enjoy yourself.

Why Happiness is an Inside Job – not the Physical Perks of Travel

My goal is to introduce you to travel personality typing. It’s a personalized approach to travel. It can help YOU plan vacations that connect YOU emotionally. I’m not a happiness psychologist. But I do understand if you are seeking happiness from a vacation and you’re not happy, your vacation will vibe with your energy. You have to decide consciously that you want to FEEL happy. Once you map that direction happiness shows up. And, dare I say, more expanded, and peaceful. Upon returning home, do you relish the tchotchke or feelings of contentment?

Does Travel Really Make You Happier?

There are many schools of thought on the travel happier effect. One study entitled the Quality of Life Research study, released in 2010 from the Netherlands, states, “anticipating and planning a vacation generate more happiness than the vacation itself.”

Shawn Achor, a Happiness Guru, offers Another Opinion

"Does travel make you happier if you visit a far-flung destination; say Istanbul's spice markets?
“Does travel make you happier if you visit a far-flung destination; say Istanbul’s spice market.

Shawn Achor, CEO of GoodThink, a happiness consultancy firm, an Oprah alum, and New York Times bestselling author added a few ideas to ponder for travel happier trips. He found three specific factors. If all three are handled well, 94% of travelers will return with higher levels of happiness and energy. Achor’s three thoughts reported from a 2014 Travel Weekly article.

  • Advanced planning,
  • Traveling far from home, international travel,
  • And creating or cultivating social connections on the road.

Let’s see how unpacking our personalities align with what this expert had to say regarding advance planning, international trips and cultivating social connections while on the road.

Are you Happier if You Advance Plan?

Here’s my 2¢. I don’t agree with the advanced planning point. Here’s why. For the past ten years I’ve been studying Myers-Briggs®, hell, I even got certified. Myers-Briggs® personas who have SP (sensing and perceiving) functions will probably disagree, too.  

Unpacking Personalities with SP Traits: A Closer Look

Unpacking the Myer-Briggs® SP personality types. They make up a reported 33% of US the population. Females make up 34% and males; 32%. Regardless of “gender labels” SP functions identify differences.

I’ve identified the four SP types with names, I feel, best reflect their authentic travel souls. Extroverted SP types unpacked: the Spirited Traveler and the Playful Traveler. Unpacked Introverted SP types the Abstract Traveler and the Active Traveler. Do they sound like planners to you? They’re not. 😉

Here’s Why

Travelers with SP characteristics will typically be a spur of the moment traveler. They love, love, love the freedom to be spontaneous. They’ll study their immediate surroundings and lool for desirable outcomes. If the situation is pleasurable, exciting, and practical; they’re up for the adventure.

A few adjectives to describe SP types

  • Always on the lookout,
  • Artistic,
  • Athletic,
  • Aware of reality,
  • Enjoying life,
  • Never fighting it,
  • Open-minded,
  • Wanting first-hand experiences…

All SP’s are different.

Some SP’s have introverted or extroverted traits, coupled with a feeling or thinking functions. Believe me, unpacking these preferences alone can change personality dynamics. Add in, social conditioning, life experiences, family dynamics, and you have a recipe for one complex individual.

Achor was probably speaking to Travel Personalities with SJ’s Traits

Myer-Briggs® SJ (sensing – judging) personality types have a reported US population of 40.5 percent. SJ’s represent 43.5 percent females and 37.5 percent males. Again, regardless of “gender labels” SJ, it’s their dominance trait that identifies differences.

Here are the names that I feel reflect these authentic travel personality souls, the two extroverted SJ types are the Organized Traveler and the Harmonious  Traveler, while introverted SJ types are the Reliable Traveler and the Practical Traveler. Do they sound like planners to you – they are. 😏

Here’s Why

Travelers with SJ characteristics are easy to spot. They’ll be the ones keeping everybody on schedule to make sure everyone is on time for the tour. They are fanatical about making sure everything is in its place. This traveler will be the first to unpack their bags. Everything will be neatly folded and put away before they leave their hotel room. They’ll expect the train to arrive on time. They believe housekeeping to be punctual. And if you travel with this type everyone in their travel party is doing what they’ve scheduled. Expect an SJ, type to oversee everything. For example, they’ll inspect the hotel’s invoice for errors, which is awesome. They’re the suitcases packers. They’ll compulsively review the travel itinerary to ensure checklists are being monitored. Checklists are their BFF’s. 😏

A few Adjectives to Describe SJ types

  • Conscientiousness
  • Consistent,
  • Dependable, aka reliable, 😇
  • Detailed
  • Factual
  • Patient,
  • Routinized, + not impulsive
  • Sensible,
  • Thorough…

Some SJ’s have are introverts while others are extroverts, coupled with feeling or thinking functions. Opposite traits have a huge impact on how a person travels. Their innate desires can be inherently diverse. And let’s not forget how our childhood, social conditioning, peers, and how the collective consciousness influences who we are. Geez, we are so vulnerable. Thank you, Brené Brown, for your wisdom. Can you tell I’m a fan?

Is Your Travel Personality Happier Overseas?

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Gorgeous Mobile Bay – My idea of a staycation!

Some types are more inclined to travel overseas; others are just as happy with a stay at home vacation; a staycation. There are reasons for these choices. Unpack Your Personality and you’ll find it’s easier to understand the WHYs. For a quick review of preferences click here. NOTE: All travel types can travel overseas. I’m answering the question, which of the 16 travel personality types are more LIKELY to do so.

Achor may be Speaking to Types with NF Preferences

The NF (intuitive – feeling) Myer-Briggs® type has a US population of 14 percent. Females outnumber males; 17.5 percent vs. 10.5 percent. This is due to the ‘feeling’ trait which is typically more common in women. Yes, of course, EVERYONE has feelings. But we are speaking to the science of typology, so it’s weighted by preference specificities.

I’ve ve identified the four NF types with names I think best reflect these travelers, authenticity. Extroverted NF types: the Enthusiastic Traveler and the Magnetic Traveler. Introverted NF types have names like the Authentic Traveler and the Purposeful Traveler.

Here’s Why

Unpack the NF personality, and you’ll discover characteristics that allow them to see possibilities everywhere. In their own unique way, they magically transform these possibilities into feelings. They are the romantics, optimists, and dreamers of the world. People intrigue this traveler type no matter where they travel. They’re on a quest to answer the question, who am I. For an NF personality, there is no better way to answer this question than by exploring, and connecting with others in the world.

A few adjectives to Describe NF Types

  • Attention to people’s potential,
  • Creative,
  • Encouraging,
  • Enthusiastic,
  • Imaginative,
  • Insightful,
  • Intuitive,
  • Harmonious,
  • Value orientation in relation to people…

NF Types at 14.5% of the Population

United States population estimates NF types to be around 14.5 percent. Note NF types tend to favor international travel. Where does that leave the rest of the population? My 2¢ these types of “studies” confuse travelers. I’ve witnessed this confusion speaking with hundreds of travelers during my twenty-year career as a travel professional.

They’ll book a trip and expect an amazing vacation. This is sometimes based on studies or third party reviews. What if your personality prefers a stay at home vacation? Do you feel the “collective influence” to travel to a far-flung destination because an expert said it would make them happier? Just the opposite may occur. Booking a trip overseas may cause anxiety and there’s no happiness in that! If a place doesn’t vibe with your personality, do you ever truly relax. This is probably where the saying; “I need a vacation from my vacation” comes from. This makes me sad. I believe there’s a better way to plan a vacation. It begins with self-awareness; and by tapping into your inner travel guide.

Listen, I’m not saying that everything you read online is a big fat, ball of fluffery! When you unpack your personality you’ll be on the road to eliminating crappy vacation choices. Make sense?

Speaking to Achor’s idea of Creating and Cultivating Social Connections while on Vacation

If you’re a feeling type, I have to agree 1000%. You’ll be much happier on vacation when cultivating social connections. It’s how you connect and reason in the world. You’re more personal and base decisions on what’s best for another. You prioritize decisions using feelings first. Remember typology is about functions and the predominance of each one. This is one of the reasons everyone is so vastly different.

There are eight travel personality types with a feeling trait. Unpacking these personalities you’ll see some use the feeling as their dominate decision choice. Other feeling types use feeling as auxiliary preferences. I ‘ve identified these preferences in terms related to travel; a pilot and a co-pilot.

A few adjectives to describe Feeling Types

  • Appreciative,
  • Harmony,
  • Humane,
  • Involved,
  • Personal,
  • Tender-hearted,
  • Social Values,
  • Subjective,
  • Warm…

Unpack Your Personality for Self-Growth

I hope that taking apart the Achor happiness study brings about an awareness you didn’t have before. I’m not saying Achor is wrong. What I’m saying is we need to be aware of our own unique travel traits. It makes it easier to search, and plan. Wouldn’t it be fun to unpack your personalities for self-growth? It allows you to say YES or hell NO to what you read online. If it’s a NO you’ll have the freedom to map your own distinct travel adventure!

Does travel really make you happier? Have you made a travel decision based on someone else’s opinion of where you should travel? Is that in your best interest? I say no, and more often than not it leads to unhappy getaways.

IMPORTANT: Beyond on the labels thrown about above, My truth of the matter is what’s most important to finding happiness is based on your inner desire for it.

When you decide to first be happy ⏤ then you’ll get there.

Money and the Law of Attraction, Ester and Jerry Hicks
On the Teachings of Abraham

Stay tuned

I am now developing a free quiz and 16 guidebooks that act as tools, helping you to unpack your personality using travel vs. a classroom or a masterclass. These e-guidebooks will take a deep dive into your exclusive travel personality aka your genuine self. Do you desire a new vacation paradigm to gently transform, awaken, and inspire something new in you? If you said YES then you are in the right place.

If you want to learn more check out my interview on Speaking of Travel part of the iHeart radio network with Marilyn Ball. Give it a listen here. 

Do you want to be one of the first travelers to find out more about your unique inner travel guide? Then click here to sign up for new blog posts, a free quiz, and travel tips specific to your travel personality.

If you’re inclined, follow along on: InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest

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Photo Credit: Zapala – Oh How I miss Rum Point!



Nina's Blog A learning library for spiritual personality typing

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I’m on a mission to help you think differently. Introducing Spiritual Personality Typing™️.

It’s for those who seek meaning and purpose in life realizing soul-led wisdom peppered with logical intelligence is the enlightened way to manifest your life. It’s a roadmap to you inner guide the place where life’s possibilities, potential, and purpose are found.

This new theory is deeply embedded with spiritual understandings supported by Myers-Briggs® to help you reinvent your life, and discovery your true self!

Entrepreneurs guided by spirit will be empowered to embrace the tools, tips, and creative resources designed to explore their true calling. 

Travelers who want to travel for self-discovery will enjoy exploring their travel personality types from a sprititual POV.  Plus, you’ll discover the the best places to stay, visit, and play – tailored to your personality type

-Together, we discover what it means to live a true self lifestyle. Exploring the profound aspects of life through real-world situations, journaling, and learning to ensure you remain focused on your purpose.  

– Travel stories from boutique hotel or Mom & Pop shops from my  book signing events. 

Begin A New Journey Today.

Enjoy weekly happy mails to inspire your true self, with insights on entrepreneurship, travel, and finding your mid-life magic.

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Be Unmistakable 16 Personality Types. Eight Million People. What's Your Story?

Spiritual Personality Typing is a calling to find a path that is exquisitely yours. It’s for those that desire to be their “truest” selves in work, on the road and in life. It’s inspired living. Full of purpose, meaning and the freedom to be unapologetically you!

Begin the journey of discovering this transformative spirit-fed paradigm. Typing that inspires conscious living based on awareness and self-discovery.  Unconventional, and life-changing.🕊

Enjoy a life well lived. Rich with spirit, soul, and story.  I welcome you. 

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Interested in travel for self-discovery? 

Grab my free e-book Travel Happier. An intro to my debut book.