We’ve shared countless reasons why you should travel, why you should travel with your children, why you should still travel despite our crazy world, and so many other posts touting travel. But of course we did – we are a travel company after all.
But this post is different. It’s not about why we think you should travel.
It’s about why science proves you should travel.
Yes, you read that right. Many scientific studies show there are actual health benefits associated with traveling. So you don’t just have to take our word for it. Learn why science says travel is good for your health.
Stress is just a part of life. With our smart phones pinging with emails and our schedules jam-packed with meetings and appointments, it’s hard to unplug and recharge at home.
Enter a vacation.
When you travel, you get a break from your daily routine, have the opportunity to take time for yourself, and thus can relieve stress as you re-charge
Stress can have a harmful impact to your health, including your immune system, but when you travel you can relax (see above). This study looked at a group of 94 healthy women at a California resort and found that the experience had measurable health benefits:
“It’s intuitive that taking a vacation reduces biological processes related to stress, but it was still impressive to see the large changes in gene expression from being away from the busy pace of life, in a relaxing environment, in such a short period of time,” said Elissa S. Epel, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at University of California, San Francisco and first author of the study.
And if helping out your immune system isn’t enough, how about avoiding the dreaded signs of aging? Americans spend plenty of money on miracle serums and medical treatments to stay #foreveryoung – but travel can do the trick, too! Stress causes your body to release cortisol, which speeds up the aging process. Getting away from stress – ie a big ol vacation – allows you to relax. And when you relax, you don’t release as much cortisol. How about that!
At home we all have plans to exercise…and then life gets in the way. But when you travel, you have the time to get moving. Whether it’s a hike to see a beautiful view, paddleboarding in the Caribbean, or just wandering through the streets of Italy, you tend to move more than you do at home. And since physical activity is good for you and you exercise more when you travel, travel = good for you.
There’s a reason legendary writers and artists like Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald traveled the world: it made them more creative. Connecting with a different culture and experiencing a new destination “increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought”. All that scientific jargons means that it allows your mind to explore a variety of ideas, and with new ideas comes creativity. Now we’re not talking just lay on the beach and suddenly you can author an award-winning novel. Get out and immerse yourself in the destination.
Things that happen when you travel – both good and bad – create lasting memories. We don’t need science to tell us that (just think about the story you always hear of your mom losing her luggage for five days and exploring Paris with only 60 Euros and one change of clothes). However, those experiences build and strengthen relationships with your travel companions, and social relationships are important to your mental health. You may not remember the name of the gal you just met at a cocktail party, but you’ll always remember your study abroad roommate (and the trouble you got into!). And if you travel solo, you can strengthen the bond with yourself and grow your self-confidence.
So there you have it: travel IS good for you – science says so. Now our only question, where will you go next? Contact a Brownell Travel Advisor to start planning your trip.