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By Beth Johnston

It’s another new year — hello 2020! Many people make New Year’s resolutions, and that often involves resolving to improve their health. It could be losing weight, getting in shape, having less stress, or a combination of all of these.

We all know the drill: we are gung-ho for a few weeks, maybe if we are lucky it lasts a couple of months, and then life happens. We get stuck back in the same old rut we were in before. Now what?

Would it surprise you to learn that travel is good for your health? Research shows that a vacation is good for your body and mind. What exactly are the top health benefits of travel?

Travel Lowers Stress

Vacations give us a much-needed break from typical everyday stressors. We then return refreshed and ready to face our day-to-day grind again.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that being on vacation lowers stress levels, but did you know that a recent Austrian study* shows that even with a long weekend away, you will have fewer stressful days for up to five weeks after your return? So, even if you can’t take a week off, at least plan a weekend escape. Travel is the gift that keeps on giving!

Travel Improves Creativity

Many artists, authors, and other creatives use travel to inspire their work. When we are in unfamiliar environments, our brains can form new ideas. However, according to psychological and neuroscientific research**, it requires more than just being in a new destination; it involves immersing and engaging yourself with the local culture. Travel can force us to develop “cognitive flexibility,” which boosts creativity. 

Travel Can Boost Productivity

It is no secret that Americans, more often than in other countries, do not take their vacation time. In one study˚, 43% of Americans said that they’re afraid to take time off because they feel like they will fall behind, and in another study˚˚, 52% wasted unused vacation days. It turns out this can be detrimental to productivity in the workplace. Countries with high productivity have at least 20 paid vacation days per year. Two vacations a year can grant you certain health benefits. If you are less stressed, more relaxed, and more creative, your productivity at work is bound to increase.

Travel Can Help Improve Relationships/Personality

I am a firm believer that travel is a way to connect or reconnect to loved ones. When you share new experiences together, you create lasting memories and a special bond. You connect on a deeper level. 

Traveling allows and sometimes forces us to get outside our comfort zones. It helps us be more open-minded. When I was in college, I spent a summer abroad in Germany. It was definitely a life-changing experience. I am confident it made me a better person and a better global citizen. Studiesª back this up; people who travel tend to meet new people and have more diverse friendships. Our world needs more openness, agreeableness, and emotional stability, wouldn’t you agree?

Travel Boosts Happiness

Our happiness increases even when we’re just planning a trip. When you anticipate something fun, dopamine is released, which triggers the brain’s reward and pleasure center. A studyªª confirms that buying experiences (as opposed to objects) makes people happier, and part of that happiness comes from anticipating the experience. 

What a bonus! Not only will you glean pleasure from taking a trip, it will provide weeks or months of happiness as you look forward to it.

These are just a few of the benefits of travel. It turns out that better health is only a trip away. Start your new year with a nice boost by planning your next trip — it’s good for you!

*MDPI: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/1/130

**The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/03/for-a-more-creative-brain-travel/388135/

˚CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/25/vacation-can-make-you-more-productive–just-ask-the-europeans.html

˚˚USTA: https://www.ustravel.org/research/state-american-vacation-2018

ªAPA PsycNET: https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2013-20588-001

ªªCornell Chronicle: http://news.cornell.edu/stories/2010/03/study-shows-experiences-are-better-possessions

Beth Johnston

BIO:

Orenda Travel was founded by Beth Johnston, a luxury travel specialist who believes travel holds the unique ability to change lives. Our custom-crafted itineraries speak exclusively to families’ unique needs, passions and sense of adventure. 

Beth was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI and currently resides in Pinckney, MI. She is a retired elementary educator from Ann Arbor Public School (13 years) and Pinckney Community Schools 17 years). She is married to her husband, Dan and has three sons from her first marriage (ages 30, 28 & 25), a daughter-in-law, with a grandbaby on the way, and 3 step-children. 

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Beth Johnston | Luxury Transformational Travel Concierge

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