Four trips that will make you happier this year.

By Cailey Rizzo
January 05, 2018
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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens may not be as effective as planning a trip or spending time with friends when it comes to establishing long-lasting happiness.

It’s commonly known that possessions are not as effective as experiences when attempting to create a well-rounded sense of satisfaction and happiness. Those who aim to make 2018 a year filled with happiness would be well-advised to plan travel with deeper intentions this year.

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Behavioral scientists have consistently proven that individual happiness is linked to the happiness of those around us. Embarking on vacation with friends and family (when everybody is in a good mood) can do wonders for deepening connections. Book a family vacation or a getaway with friends to feel the happiness grow.

Although, sometimes the opposite may hold true and meeting strangers could increase life satisfaction. Travelers who want to meet new people can book a group trip by themselves for an easy way to make new friends while traveling. Some people even report meeting a romantic interest on these trips.

Mastering a new skill is also an effective way to increase long-term happiness (although it may be frustrating during the process). Consider booking an immersion trip to learn a new language, an adventure trip to finally master skiing or scuba, or a science-based excursion to help out with field research.

Psychologists believe that volunteering can help a person feel more satisfaction in their lives. Even Aristotle famously said that the essence of life is “to serve others and to do good.” Travelers who want to explore a new part of the world while giving back can sign up for a “voluntourism” trip, building homes with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering at a school, or spending time at a senior center in rural America.

This story originally appeared on Travel + Leisure.

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