Americans are known for their work ethic, working on average more than most other western countries and taking fewer vacations. In fact, Americans are half as likely as Europeans to travel to more than one country, and 29% have never been abroad. The problem? Travel is good for you. Don't believe us? Here are six studies that prove it.
Travel Helps Fight Depression
Traveling is essential to our physical and mental health, says The Wisconsin Rural Women’s Health Study. We all know work is stressful at times, but we may not always be as aware of how it’s taking over our lives until it’s too late. At that point, we're finding no free time, eating while we’re working and getting less sleep.
A change of scenery is the perfect remedy, no matter the length or distance of your trip. This study concludes that traveling will increase your overall satisfaction with life and relationships and decrease depression, fatigue and tension. Travelers develop new perspectives, viewpoints and coping strategies in addition to relief from the stress of everyday life, and their work performance is likely to improve.
Discovering Different Cultures Increases Creativity
In the aftermath of a devastating series of events in my life, I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and deep in a creative funk. Creativity is my outlet for all emotional experiences, so it was, to say the least, rather inconvenient. I decided to treat myself to a trip to New York City and the energy flowing between the skyscrapers electrified me.
According to the American Psychological Association, there’s a reason for this — encounters with other cultures increase creativity and New York is one of the most diverse cities in the world. “[E]xtensiveness of multicultural experiences was positively related to both creative performance (insight learning, remote association, and idea generation) and creativity-supporting cognitive processes (retrieval of unconventional knowledge, recruitment of ideas from unfamiliar cultures for creative idea expansion)."
Travel Is Good for Your Relationships
This Texas A&M study claims that traveling can be good for your relationships and can bring you closer to loved ones. The authors of this study claim that traveling together can strengthen your bond with your partner or family by giving you opportunities to reconnect with one another and discuss things from a relaxed state of mind. Couples and families are less likely to argue and are more likely to appreciate each other.
Experiences Lead to Greater Happiness
Researchers at Cornell University found that people are more inclined to spend money on experiences rather than things because it gives them a more enduring sense of happiness. Participants experienced a greater sense of happiness anticipating an upcoming trip than a big purchase. Participants awaiting a journey experienced greater levels of pleasure and excitement than those with planned purchases.
Just Looking Forward to a Trip Makes us More Pleasant
A University of Surrey study found that anticipating a trip can temporarily improve other areas of your life. Using two control groups — one with subjects preparing for an upcoming trip and the other with participants not planning to go anywhere — researchers found that the group with people getting ready to travel experienced more pleasant feelings about their family, economic situation and health, and a greater overall sense of happiness.
Baby Boomers Report an Array of Benefits
The AARP recently released the results of an online study it conducted in late 2018 about how travel benefits seniors. Of the 1,500 participants, 81 percent said they noticed an improvement in their health or well-being while traveling, that they returned in a better mood and that the impact lasted beyond their return. Of the benefits listed in this survey, 72 percent said they were more relaxed, 51 percent reported better sleep, 46 percent claimed better overall health and 45 percent had better mental clarity.