7 Physical and Mental Health Benefits of Travel

health benefits of travel_man climbing mountain wearing beanieIf you’ve been putting off a vacation because you can’t make the time or you’re not sure if it’s worth the money and effort, it might be time to reconsider. It turns out, travel is good for more than just Instagram likes. In fact, scientists agree that the physical and mental health benefits of travel are substantial.

Though Americans seem to be culturally skeptical about the benefits of rest (with over 50% of us not using all of our vacation days), it’s proven to be worth it. A good vacation will leave you relaxed and replenished, and can boost your productivity and increase your well-being. Here are seven mental and physical health benefits of travel. Keep these in mind next time your boss frowns at your PTO request.

1. Travel Can Decrease Your Stress Levels

While the idea of traveling might seem like a source of stress itself—booking hotels and flights, sitting in the airport, and figuring out plans once you’re there—travel is actually proven to decrease stress. It pulls you out of your day to day routines, getting you away from sources of stress and anxiety. Whether your main stressors are work, keeping up with a home, or something else entirely, a break in your routine will help you recover and gain perspective.

It’s common knowledge that stress isn’t healthy, but you might not know its full ramifications. While our culture often glorifies busyness and stress, they can lead to devastating health effects. Stress has a proven connection to physical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes and mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. It’s important to find a way to proactively manage stress in your daily life, but traveling at least once a year can help by giving you something to plan for and look forward to while giving you a break to relax and replenish.

2. Travel Can Change Your Perspective

If you’re feeling dull and uninspired (or even just cranky), travel could be the perspective shift you need. Exploring a new place and culture not only helps you go back to your daily life with less stress and more energy, it can also make you a more compassionate and empathetic person. Exposure to situations and perspectives you’ve only heard or read about can make you rethink your own life and gain clarity. It’s no coincidence that the cliché of taking a year to “find yourself” normally involves backpacking across a continent.

Travel can also put things that are weighing on you (anxieties or fears), into perspective and can even help you become more creative. This increased empathy and point of view will follow you back to your everyday life, leaving you reaping the health benefits of travel for weeks to come.

3. Travel Can Increase Your Confidence

People who travel frequently tend to have more confidence in themselves and satisfaction with their lives than those who don’t. By its very nature, travel takes you outside your normal realm and often outside your comfort zone. Being forced to solve different problems than you’re used to and face different situations increases your confidence in your problem-solving abilities, and helps you to fold less to stress and pressures.

After navigating flight delays, having your password stolen, or getting lost in a foreign country, your everyday concerns will probably seem like a breeze. Having to think on your feet and make decisions in a place that might seem confusing will make you better equipped to think quickly and make decisions when you’re back at home.

4. Travel Can Make You More Creative

By pulling you out of your normal life and experiences, travel can give you an infusion of creativity. New sights, colors, food, and cultures, as well as free time to think and dream, could be exactly what you need to put together new ideas. Travel has been proven to increase cognitive flexibility and improve depth of thought. Of course, some of this is dependent on your mindset. The level to which you intentionally engage with a new culture and immerse yourself in new experiences will have an effect on your results.

5. Travel Can Make You Happier

This might seem like a no-brainer after all that stress-busting, creativity-inducing, and perspective-shifting, but travel can lead to a happier and more satisfying life. This benefits your relationships, your mental and physical well-being, and reduces your chance of fatigue and depression. It can boost your productivity and lift your mood, helping you go back to normal life refreshed and invigorated.

6. Travel Can Get You Moving

Many Americans spend their days in a sedentary office job. Even if you take time to exercise and prioritize your physical well-being, you’re still stuck in a chair behind your computer for hours on end. Travel will get you up on your feet whether you’re out exploring a new city, walking around museums, taking hikes, or swimming laps in the pool. This moderate exercise has nothing but physical and mental benefits, improving your heart health and reducing stress. It’s also likely that while traveling, you’ll be spending more time outside than usual, soaking up some vitamin D (which is essential for bone health) and increasing the mood-boosting effects of travel.

7. Travel Can Reduce Health Risks

In addition to decreasing stress and helping you lose weight by getting you moving, travel has been proven to decrease major health risks. According to Dr. Oz, travel lowers men’s risk of death by 21% and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 32%. Those numbers make travel seem less like a luxury and more like a health necessity. Travel is also proven to benefit your immune system by exposing you to a higher variety of germs and pathogens, making you more resistant to viruses and infections.

Roomkey Makes Booking Hotels Stress-Free

Now that you’re thoroughly convinced that stress is detrimental and travel is the solution, we’re here to help take the stress of out of vacation planning. If trying to find a good deal on a hotel for your next trip has ever made you want to pull your hair out, you’ll probably be happy to know that it doesn’t have to be that way.

When you visit roomkey.com, you’ll find information straight from our hotel partners that’s easy to navigate and presented in a way that makes sense. Simply select the hotel that best meets your needs, and then we’ll take you to book directly with the hotel. It’s hotel search made easy and stress-free.

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