Neuropsychologist explains why travel creates long-lasting memories

No matter how big or small a trip, travel can create long-lasting memories. All of those experiences – and they memories they create – also help shape your personality, according to new research.

Why travellers remember their holidays well. Image by ©Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

A survey, commissioned by Swiss International Air Lines with consultation from neuropsychologist professor Lutz Jäncke from the University of Zurich’s department of psychology, looked at how travel memories differ from others, and how they influence people.

“Travel and our travel memories have the power to shape our personality,” said Professor Jäncke in a statement. “We are what we remember, or, more precisely – we are what we remember about ourselves… Holiday and travel memories take a prioritised position within this realm of experiences, which is why they are major pillars of our personality”.

Happy young woman with flying pidgeons at Arc de Triomphe. Image by ©Westend61/Getty Images

More than 40% of British people said they have already taken a trip that has changed them as a person, while 20% say they picked up a new hobby after travelling. When it comes to how we try to create such memories, nearly 70% of Brits say they take photographs to remember their travel – and nearly 50% said they wouldn’t delete those photos for all the money in the world.

But, as more people use phones with constant internet access, they are losing trust in their memories, according to Professor Jäncke. But it’s an unwarranted fear, as he says we often retain travel memories all our lives, since they are often associated with very positive emotions. Because we have good travel experiences – away from the stress of daily life – people are able to absorb lots of the details that help to create strong memories.

Travel shapes personalities. Image by ©anekoho/Shutterstock

When it comes to what we remember from our travels, 55.9% remember time spent with family and friends, followed by how the food tasted at 53.21% and the people they met at 47.7%.

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