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According to studies conducted by some of the most prestigious universities, people don’t actually enjoy hearing each other’s travel stories. Yet, people love telling them.

This research, conducted between 2013 and 2017, was recently the crux of a Vox post and the response seemed to be unanimous: Keep your vacation tales to yourself. So, we decided to conduct our own research, asking TPG Lounge members about the topic. Turns out, those in the points & miles game have a different opinion.

One of the more detailed studies conducted by Harvard University in 2013 aimed to examine the brain when individuals talked about themselves and listened to other individuals do the same. The study used advanced fMRI technology to map the brains of participants. It found that when participants talked about themselves or about something they liked or an opinion they held, areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward were stimulated. At the same time, when other participants were asked to listen to participants talk about themselves, those areas of the brain did not receive stimulation. Ultimately, the study found that people love talking about themselves  — yet don’t necessarily like it so much when hearing about others.

Similarly, other studies found that people enjoy hearing about experiences to which they can relate, while accounts of extraordinary experiences do not bring as much pleasure or enjoyment.

Despite their smiles and intent focus, they might not actually care about your Lufthansa First Class mileage redemption.
Despite their smiles and intent focus, they might not actually care about your Lufthansa First Class mileage redemption.

When we apply these studies to travel, they show why people might not receive the desired reaction from those around them when discussing an exotic getaway or an exceptional first class flight. Similarly, these studies provide some explanation to why someone might react more positively to an anecdote about a miserable experience with airport security. People enjoy hearing about relatable experiences.

TPG surveyed our Lounge members to see if they felt the same way, asking the following question: “Do you find it annoying or helpful to hear about other people’s vacations?” Readers overwhelmingly stated that they found it helpful to hear about others’ vacations. Out of 334 readers who responded to our poll, 313 said they found hearing about other people’s vacations helpful, while just 21 said they found hearing about them to be annoying.

The poll directly contradicts the studies mentioned above, likely because TPGers are actively looking for travel ideas. They’re also well-traveled and enjoy hearing about how getting the most out of those points & miles.

Commenter Becky B. said, “I find it helpful when they give real information that actually helps. I want specifics, like tour and excursion companies that were used and the prices, transportation info, off the beaten path things to do, accommodations, food, etc.”

Another reader commented that, “If it’s annoying to you obviously you are envious.” This was a popular sentiment among responders.

TPG poll aside, the overwhelming evidence resulting from the studies shows that people just aren’t interested in hearing travel stories unless they can relate to them. Next time you’re about to tell a co-worker about your around-the-world first class mileage redemption, make sure you remember that you may very well be the only person who enjoys hearing about it.

(Featured image courtesy of Knape / Getty Images)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.