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Travel experiences - perspective from a financial writer

We love to think that we sell travel experiences - not just trips.  For the most part we do - when we talk to our customers, it's the experience they are looking for.  But does buying "travel experiences" really make sense in the grand scheme of things?

Buy Travel Experiences from Go Astro Travel Travel Experiences make you happy


I was heartened to read the following quote about changes people have once they hit their 50's and 60's:

We’ve stopped buying possessions for their lasting value and started purchasing experiences for the happiness they can deliver.

I love this quote because it really captures what I think a lot of my clientele believes.

What's most interesting is that comes form the Humble Dollar blog, a financial blog written by Jonathan Clements.  We've read Mr. Clements for many years as he was a regular at the Wall Street Journal.  Every once in a while I'll check out his blog - he always has down to earth advice founded in financial expertise.  You can read his entire list at this "When I'm 64" post.


There's books and books written about what happiness is. But can experiences really make you happy?  Type that into a Google Search engine and you'll get millions of affirmative responses.  Much of it science based.  Here's one such article - which I particularly like because it invokes behavioral economics.

A couple of other points from the studies (one by Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert another by Thomas Gilovich):

  • When purchasing experiences, it's best to plan far in advance.  "Savoring future consumption for days, weeks, years only makes the experience more valuable."  This is certainly true for travel. We've found that the simple act of researching and investigating what you'll be doing ahead of time is half the fun.
  • People don't like hearing about other people's possessions but they do like hearing about your experiences.  So purchasing experiences actually helps your social interactions. And nothing drives  happiness as much as social interactions for most people.

Travel experiences

These Lemon Shark were large Lemon Shark with pilot fish

So what exactly is a Travel Experience?  It's a trip. But not just to get from point A to point B.  There's no great happiness in driving to New York City. But if once you get there you're oing to see a great Broadway play - well - that's the experience.  Here's some of the travel experiences our customers have had:

  • Tasting wine paired with made to order chocolate in France
  • Walking among seals and penguins in the Galapagos or Antartica
  • Swimming with sharks in Bora Bora
  • Touring a 12th century castle in Germany
  • Understanding Roman history and architecture while standing in the Coliseum in Rome
  • Meeting new people that become friends and travel partners for years to come.
  • Walking in Cambodia, listening to a Cambodian describe growing up under the Khmer Rouge rule


What do these travel experiences have in common?

What's common about all these experiences?  They are things we talk about years later. They are things we remember and savor.  When we remember any of these experiences, we don't remember the long flight back or the issues with the hotel getting our bags to the room on time.  Somehow we retain the positive memories.  It makes us happy to not only experience but to remember.  That's why people take so many pictures and videos. They want to remember these experiences.  You just don't see people taking too many pictures of the latest TV or refrigerator they purchased.

Think about other great travel experiences

  • Food:  eating out has become an experience.  Trying new things, prepared in new ways and typically shared with great people.  A true experience that comes with travel
  • Getting there:  Ever travel by Ox cart?  TGV train?  Zodiac Boat?  Each becomes an experience
  • The locals:  I bet you'll remember the conversation you struck up with the shop keeper in Drobvonik or the bottle shop owner at Passua or the tour guide at the Vatican?  Each has local stories that only come from being there.
  • Modes of touring:  remember the Segway tour of your favorite city or the bicycle tour along banks for the Main canal?  of course because they are different than the experiences you have at home.

Buy the right things

A typical scene during our bike ride

So stop buying possessions.  Buy experiences instead.  And one of the greatest experiences you can purchase is travel. What's great is that there's so many types of travel experiences:

  • Luxury travel: Get pampered and indulged
  • Expedition travel: Explore
  • Sit on the beach and do nothing travel: Regenerate
  • Historic travel: Learn
  • Gastro-centric travel: Eat and drink
  • Religious travel: Connect to your spirituality
  • Fitness travel: Energize  yourself

There's many more and many combinations.  But whatever you call it, they are all great travel experiences.

So listen to the financial writers. Listen to the social psychologists. Listen to the behavior economist.   And listen to your travel agent. Take the plunge. Start planning your next trip.  You'll be happier for it.

Read about some of our travel experiences:


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