Often we seek happiness in the material things we buy – from newly released phone models, clothes or make-up products. We purchase things to make us happy. However, according to an Intelligence Squared Asia debate on the topic “Money Can’t Buy Happiness,” most people have two differing opinions on this matter. The debate results show that 49% agrees money is not the key to happiness, and 49% were against it.

Indeed, happiness can be subjective. It depends on how you view things in life. For the 49% who think money isn’t the most important aspect, happiness for them can be found in experiences, rather than material objects.

Winnie So, a journalist and founder of the luxury travel planning company WANLILU Play Ltd, believes that you need money to travel. Memorable experiences might not be bought by money, but reality tells us that you must spend money to enjoy a truly worthwhile traveling experience. Therefore, spending money on traveling is an investment.

However, it doesn’t have to be extravagant and costly. Plan your trip based on your budget and your travel preferences. Also, it doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, married or single to start your journey of happiness. Don’t be afraid to try new challenges. You’ll be surprised at how traveling will open your eyes to a new perspective.

Travel as a Form of Escapism

Are you traveling to get some fresh air from a bad break up? A fight with your loved ones? Are you taking a break to escape from your routine?

One of the good things about traveling is the idea of escapism. When someone says the word “travel,” we immediately fantasize about magical tour destinations. Yes, travel makes us happy, because it offers a getaway to escapism – an opportunity to break free and step outside from the daily hustle of our busy lives.

Through traveling, we are given a chance to explore and discover our ideal vision of ourselves. It’s like a magic mirror that shows us how things could have been when we’re not tied to responsibilities and commitments. However, the break free experience might be short-lived because the stream of daily routines will pick us up again after a week or months of freedom. But still, it’s a good experience to give ourselves a break once in a while. The feeling of letting ourselves unwind is rewarding and therapeutic.

Philosopher and author Alain de Botton wrote that it would be wise if travel agents would ask their clients what they want to change in their lives instead of asking them about their travel destinations. Traveling is a perfect opportunity to reinvent ourselves. We get to conquer our fears and accomplish something for the first time – whether it’s navigating our way to a foreign country or learning new phrases in a foreign language.

Moreover, we also discover more about ourselves, we find out our purpose and passions in life. The more we see the world in traveling, the more we appreciate the beauty of life. Travelers tend to live their lives to the fullest every single day, and that perspective is one of the key tenants to achieve happiness.

Travel as an Opportunity to Spread Love

Through traveling, we appreciate life and be grateful for it, and thus we become satisfied and happy. We also realize that we derive more happiness by sharing the goodness of life with others. Nothing is more fulfilling than sharing your blessings to those who really need it the most.

Spreading love through giving makes us feel good about ourselves. We are reminded that as social beings, we have an unwritten responsibility to give back. Traveling can be an excellent opportunity to fulfill one’s philanthropic goals in life. Winne So describes it as something wondrous. Her exciting trip to Kenya was memorable. Witnessing first-hand the joys and smiles of the Masai schoolchildren when they received their books and stationaries was enough to make her happy and her trip worth it.

Professor and author, A.C. Grayling, describes traveling as a way to expand the mind and spirit. It makes him happy every time he learns new ideas and gets in touch with new people.

Visiting a new place lets you connect to people from a different culture or race. You’ll meet various people from different walks of life, and each of them has a different story to share. Each person that you meet has an interesting story, and you find yourself learning from them.

Despite our differences, we discover that we are more alike than different. It makes us appreciate more and be grateful for our existence. We are all individuals who love, hope and fear. If we only take a moment to understand life, we will discover that there’s so much love and kindness everywhere and it’s hard to ignore them once you engage yourself in the travel adventures that you are in. Traveling can be your savior and most importantly, a way to be happy.


All of us are in our individual pursuit for happiness. We know money can make us happy, but it’s a limited resource. So the most significant questions are, where and how do you invest your money to achieve happiness?

Winnie So suggests traveling to be an excellent way to enjoy our lives. The food, culture, beautiful sceneries and historical sites open our eyes to new learnings and experiences. We learn more about ourselves, and we conquer something new every time we travel. It gives us a sense of accomplishment.

The world has thousands of beautiful places, and everyone who has the opportunity should take time to explore some of it, at least once in their lives. Many different opportunities and experiences are waiting to be discovered for all of us. See the beauty of life and go on a journey of new learnings. Live your life to the fullest. Every single day is a journey towards your pursuit of happiness.