Traveling is Good For Your Health. Period.
Time away is good for you.
Getting away from the routines of life can have positive effects on your mind, body, and soul. Better yet, going somewhere with limited cell and web access can be a huge mood booster with a lasting impact. A study posted in early 2017 tracked Facebook usage and well-being over a period of time and found that the use of social media is negatively associated with factors such as physical health, life satisfaction and mental health. However, offline interactions showed positive effects.1 In a study that appeared in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, it concluded that those who check social media the most frequently, 58 visits or more per week, had “three times the odds of perceived social isolation than those who visited fewer than nine times per week.”2 So yes, getting away on a vacation that decreases, or removes, social media is an excellent idea.
Learning about new cultures transforms the way we see and interact with the world around us.
Traveling is a learning experience. We experience new cultures, meet people who are different than us, and learn history in different regions. These experiences enrich our view of humanity as a whole and boost our cultural competency. Science even suggests that experiencing different cultures boosts personal creativity.3 Travelling allows us to broaden our horizons and be more well-rounded people.
Your immune system can benefit.
Travel exposes your body to new environments and can create stronger antibodies, which are the proteins that fight pathogens in your body, which would significantly improve your immune system. Research shows that exposure to some dirt and minor illnesses can actually make your body stronger.4Traveling, again, is good for your physical health.
The hustle & bustle of life ain’t always good.
Every now and then, it is crucial for us to slow down and breathe. As humans, intertwined with complex passions, emotions, and desires, taking a break from routine can be truly beneficial. Aside from the physical and mental health benefits, slowing down and taking a break from routine can be the very thing that re-roots us at our base and refreshes our inspiration and motivation.
Travel makes us kinder people.
We can find emotional and empathetic growth through travel. Particularly travel near bodies of water, Wallace J. Nichols makes the connection between being in water and improving our emotional health. In his book, “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do” says, “Often associated with feelings of awe and wonder, water can boost our empathy and compassion, our connection to ourselves and those we are with, and for many – from musicians like Pharrell Williams to neurologists like Oliver Sacks – it’s a steady source of creativity and insight,” Nichols states.
Travel experiences improve brain health.
Becoming more globally and culturally aware has benefits for your brain, too. New experiences increase cognitive flexibility, which helps keep your mind sharp. There is a connection between travel and creativity, as mentioned above, as well as a deeper sense of cultural awareness and personal growth. There is also a connection between those who travel and study abroad and the tendency to be emotionally stable and open minded, according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology5.
Travel decreases stress levels.
It has been scientifically proven that traveling reduces stress levels, a lot. It increases happiness, provides a means for relaxation and it can decrease feelings of depression. Even better, a recent study concluded that even three days after vacation, people felt well-rested, less anxious, and in a better mood. It also suggests that these positive impacts can last for weeks after returning home. Win!
Travel forces you to get to know yourself.
We typically like to think that we know who we are, but travel forces us into a space that reinforces our confrontation with our true selves. It often has the potential to put us in uncomfortable positions, which can test our ability to react in certain situations. Extroverts have a new opportunity to explore and meet new people, while introverts have a unique opportunity to observe new places and cultures. No matter what the make-up of your personality, traveling provides opportunities to express yourself in new ways.
Travel can help you live longer.
The benefits of travel, added up, can be linked to a longer life expectancy. It is a way to keep your body healthy inside and out, reduces stress, and improve mental health. With these benefits, travel leads to an increased chance of living a longer, happier, fuller life.
Get out there and plan a vacation. Go somewhere new and take care of your body, mind, and soul.
4. Good Germs, Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World, by Jessica Snyder Sachs (Hill and Wang, 2008)