It can be hard for some people to imagine a life without traveling. Upon returning home from a trip, travel enthusiasts might already be looking forward to their next excursion. Some might refer to this as “catching the travel bug,” but for others traveling is more than the often temporary fixation on seeing new places that can develop after an especially memorable trip.
According to the Transformational Travel Council, transformational travel is intentionally traveling to stretch, learn and grow into new ways of being and engaging in the world. Transformational travel can give people something to look forward to, which studies have shown is one of the hidden benefits of traveling. 
A 2014 study from researchers at Cornell University found that experiential purchases like travel tend to provide more enduring happiness than material purchases. In essence, people tend to get more lasting happiness from doing things than from owning things. That aligns with an earlier study on the potential benefits of travel from researchers at the University of Surrey in England, who found that people tend to be at their happiest when they have booked and are anticipating going on a vacation. Though researchers have yet to examine the correlation between transformational travel and overall happiness, it’s easy to see how transformational travelers may be especially likely to benefit from the anticipation of a planned trip, as such men and women are not only heading off on exciting trips, but doing so with the intent of having life-changing experiences.
So how can people become transformational travelers? The TTC promotes the notion of traveling with HEART, an acronym that encourages travelers to be humble, engaged, awake, resilient, and thankful during their trips.
• Humble: The TTC advises traveling with an empty cup mentality. Such a mentality involves approaching situations with an open mind and doing one’s best to avoid letting past experiences dictate how you respond to new ones. An open mind can help people experience something new and completely different than what they’re accustomed in a whole new way, which is something many people enjoy most about traveling.
• Engaged: Being a participator and not a spectator is another component to transformational traveling. A proactive approach to creating travel experiences can make those experiences more transformational than a passive approach.
• Awake: Paying attention while traveling may sound simple, but making an effort to being actively attuned to travel experiences can make trips that much more valuable for those hoping to grow and engage the world in new ways.
• Resilient: Accept that accessing better experiences and finding growth opportunities while traveling might pose certain challenges. Being resilient in the face of such challenges and taking them on willingly and actively can make for a transformational experience.
• Thankful: A mindset focused on being thankful and thoughtful while traveling can make travelers better stewards.
By embracing the principles of transformational travel, people may get more out of their trips than they ever anticipated. Learn more about transformational travel at