Travel is one of the most popular recreational activities in the world. From classic beach holidays to adventurous backpacking experiences, jetting around the globe rarely loses its appeal.
Two in five UK employees are failing to use their full holiday entitlement, suggesting we’re all refraining from jetting off as often as we might like. But, did you know there are hidden psychological benefits to taking a holiday?
Here are the research-backed ways travel can improve your mental and physical health:
- Planning a trip boots happiness
The psychological benefits of planning a trip away start long before you board the flight.
A study found that most of the mood-boosting effects come in the holiday planning stage. While very relaxing holidays can have a mood-boosting effect after the holiday has ended, most of the mood-boosting effects come from having an exciting trip on the horizon.
From searching for travel inspiration to booking a hotel and crafting an itinerary – the buzz before a great getaway can equip you with a positive outlook.
- Holidays help you to escape stress
Travel helps to reduce stress in two ways: by allowing us to pursue activities we actually enjoy, and offering an escape from the causes of our everyday stresses.
According to Dr. Tamara McClintock Greenberg, “the stress of work and daily demands can distract us from what we find to be actually meaningful and interesting.”
What’s more, holidays could be beneficial for your physical health, too. Multiple studies have shown regular holidaymakers are less likely to suffer a heart attack – and this may be due to the stress-busting effects of taking some ‘me time’ out.
Even if your busy schedule prevents long, relaxing vacations, it’s always important to take some time out for yourself. It’s possible to unwind even in a free afternoon – providers like DayBreak Hotels allow you to book the full five-star-and-spa hotel experience for a few hours during the day, often at affordable rates.
- Water boosts empathy and compassion
From beaches to cruises and even swimming pools, people have a mysterious attraction to water. Even during inland city breaks, travellers will often seek out the local river for peaceful and scenic views.
There could be some science behind this tendency. Research shows that crashing waves and ocean views boost our ability to empathise with others, making us more connected and emotionally healthy.
- New experiences enhance creativity
The link between creativity and travel has been well-documented, and it’s thought to be because of how our minds adapt to new cultures, sights and experiences. Regular travel can alter your personality, making you a more ‘open’ person, too.
Not only this, but regular holidaymakers are more capable of matching their wants and needs, and they’re more productive in the office. So, if you want to become a better version of yourself – travel.
- Travel can strengthen relationships
Sharing travel experiences can strengthen relationships – and this can have a lasting impact on your emotional health. This is just as true for family get-togethers as it is romantic retreats, because spending quality time together can make us feel more satisfied with all kinds of relationships. Taking some time out helps us to disconnect from daily grievances and focus on what really matters.
There is less distinction between travel and everyday life than there once was, with younger generations taking shorter, more frequent trips. Still, the mental health benefits of logging out and jetting off are undeniable – so maybe we should all invest more time in experiencing what the world has to offer.