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airplane seat The United Nations General Assembly may have had something a little bit more noble than hawking tours in mind when it declared March 20, 2013, the first ever International Day of Happiness. But that didn’t stop adventure tour operator G Adventures from sponsoring an International Day of Happiness “Happiness & Wanderlust” survey.

Perhaps the U.N. should take note, because it sure looks like the ability to travel has a real impact on people’s happiness. According to the survey, 83 percent of global respondents said travel is a very important component of what makes them happy.

For many respondents (a whopping 71 percent), traveling is more vital to their happiness than getting married, having a baby or even retiring. Travel even dominates many people’s daydreams, with exactly half of respondents admitting to dreaming about travel at work for at least one hour every day. Nineteen percent even said they daydream about travel for “a few hours” a day.

As an avid traveler myself, I can’t really say I’m surprised by the results. Survey respondents were members of G Adventures’ social media network (as well as actual friends and family), who, of course, are going to be more passionate about travel than the general population.

The Six Qualities of Highly Effective Travelers

As it does for these respondents, travel fulfills me in a way that few things do, whether I’m flying halfway around the world or driving out of state. Like 68 percent of respondents, having new experiences is the one aspect of travel that brings me the most happiness — though I must admit walking into a really nice hotel or cozy B&B for the first time also fills me with a childlike glee I find hard to contain.

Like 32 percent of survey takers, I am happiest when I am traveling with my partner. But others are happiest when traveling with friends (35 percent) or solo (25 percent). Traveling with family ranks at the bottom, with only 11 percent saying they find happiness in traveling with their family.

What do you think of the results? How important is travel to your happiness? And what about traveling excites you the most?

Poll: How Do You Feel After a Trip?

— written by Dori Saltzman

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