Do you deserve a vacation? People often think of traveling as an indulgence, like a piece of candy or a new handbag. Taking the time off, however, may not be as indulgent as you think.
Science tells us that traveling is actually a huge benefit to our health and wellbeing. The benefits of traveling range from physical to mental health, and it can even change the way we think!
Don’t put it off any longer. Tell your boss it’s time for an appointment with your soothing, holistic doctor: travel. If they put up a fight, arm yourself with these 9 health benefits of traveling.
- Reduce Stress
It might seem obvious that travel can relieve stress, but it goes deeper than you think.
Traveling allows you to disconnect from your busy, overwhelming life and recharge with a nourishing and relaxing new routine. The destressing doesn’t stop, however, after you return to normal life.
One study showed that even just a long weekend vacation reduced stress for days after returning. Many people who returned to their normal routines reported feeling better for as long as 45 days after their vacation.
Knowing that you have a vacation coming up can also reduce stress. Many people who are looking forward to a trip report feeling less anxious and overwhelmed from work for weeks before their vacation.
- Improve Heart Health
Science has shown that travel reduces the risk of heart conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. Even if you have a pre-existing condition, studies show that taking an annual vacation can lower your risks as you age.
The U.S. Travel Association and the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies released a joint study with incredible findings. Men who didn’t take a vacation at least once a year increased their chance of developing heart disease by 30%. Women that vacationed twice a year also significantly lowered their risk of having a heart attack.
- Stimulate Your Brain and Boost Creativity
Take a pointer from generations of artists: traveling expands your mind.
Famous authors were known for retreating to nature or living in new cities while they worked on their next project.
Meeting new people and navigating an unknown area can stimulate your brain tremendously. If you’ve had a creative block or a sticky problem at work for a few weeks, taking a trip somewhere new can help spur a revelation.
Out-of-the-box thinking often happens more when you’re removed from your normal environment. Keeping your brain in top shape is also a great way to stave off brain fog and the onset of dementia as you age.
- Get Active
Travel might be relaxing and relieve stress, but that doesn’t mean your body gets a break.
Catching transportation like planes, trains, and busses can be a serious workout. Depending on your trip, you also can get great exercise from city tours, hikes, and walks on the beach.
Even just taking yoga or pilates classes in your resort’s fitness center can be a great way to unwind while improving your physical health. Regardless of your trip, it’s very likely you’ll get your body moving in ways it never moves during your normal office routine.
- Build a Stronger Immune System
Until the pandemic, most people didn’t regularly think of all the germs and bacteria they encountered in everyday environments.
Our homes and offices have a more stable bacterial environment that our bodies are used to experiencing. When we venture outside of our normal environments, our bodies are exposed to new pathogens and germs.
You might be thinking, “Isn’t that a reason to never travel?” It might seem counterintuitive, but being regularly exposed to new bacterial environments can actually help our immune systems grow stronger.
Of course, you should continue to practice good hygiene. You should also check with your doctor to see if you need vaccines before you travel to a new country.
- Maturity and Personal Growth
Many parents cling to their teenagers, worried about them going off to college. Letting your children go out into their world on their own can be scary, but it’s necessary for their growth into an adult.
This need doesn’t go away when you’re an adult. Often, we get stuck in our daily routines and comfortable with our life situation, never thinking outside of our bubble. Traveling regularly can help us see outside of ourselves, experience new cultures, and be more in tune with the rest of the globe.
Traveling can also help us to mature, develop our personal values and attitudes, and see things in a new light.
- Travel to New Health Experiences
During your vacation planning, you might consider places known for their holistic healing properties and activities.
There are resorts known for spa and fitness offerings or you can travel to a place that centers its mission on spiritual healing. Places with mineral-rich waters like Costa Rica and Turkey have hot springs you can soak in.
Here are some travel tips: If you’re looking for a vacation that mixes relaxation with the excitement of new activities, you can stay in wellness resorts that are close to entertainment spots. In Arizona, you can stay at famous 5-star spa resorts while being only a few miles away from city centers like Phoenix.
If you love long Disney vacations, you can look into boulder ridge resale. These properties allow you to live tucked away in the mountains to recharge with nature while still being close to all the attractions, dining, and amenities of Disney World.
- Improve Mental Health
Burnout is real, and the rates of burnout have been going up tremendously each year.
People are working harder for longer hours, seriously impacting their mental health. You need to take a vacation, even if it’s just a weekend getaway in a local spot.
Removing yourself from the hustle once in a while can greatly improve your mental health. You can reduce the risk of burnout, lighten anxiety, and lower your risk of depression. With higher rates of suicide annually, it’s important to prioritize our wellbeing over work.
- Get Your Sleep Cycle on Track
Many people do not get enough sleep or have irregular sleeping patterns. Not getting the recommended amount of sleep regularly can seriously impact your mental and physical health.
Your brain and body recharge and repair while you sleep, so it’s important to get your sleep cycle back on track. Make it a priority during your vacation to go to bed at a decent hour and only wake up when you’ve gotten enough sleep. You can even try naps in the afternoons!
Once you’re used to your new sleep routine, try implementing it in your normal life.
Repair Yourself With the Benefits of Traveling
Don’t hesitate any longer to start planning your next vacation. Normal life slowly chips away at your physical and mental health. The mental benefits of traveling are enough proof, but the physical improvements you’ll experience are just as important.
Schedule a meeting with your boss about the travel benefits you’ve learned. Maybe they’ll schedule a vacation for themselves!
If you’re looking for more ways to improve your health, check out more of our health articles.