As I write this, the world is in the midst of the second wave of the coronavirus crisis. Travel is far below the level it was at back in 2019, and it’ll be some time before it picks back up to pre-pandemic levels.
So, it feels a bit weird to write an article on the benefits of traveling and why travel is important.
But, travel will make a comeback. When it does, health and safety risks will remain. Many fair-weather travelers may be hesitant to return to the skies, roads, rails, and seas.
However, traveling is important and its benefits far outweigh the risks involved.
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Here are some of the most important benefits of traveling:
1. Travel Makes You Happier
Sure, a travel experience easily makes you happier by getting you away from your daily grind. And, if you can get away from your parents, kids, freelance work, pets, homework, piano lessons, part-time job, studying for exams or any other things possibly weighing you down, that will definitely put a smile on your face, to say the least.
However, travel makes you happier in another way, as well. According to a study by Amit Kumar, Matthew A. Killingsworth, and Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University, that money spent on doing something (called “experiential purchases”) will leave you with a longer-lasting sense of happiness than money spent on having something (called “material purchases”).
The study says that “waiting for experiences tends to be more positive than waiting for possessions.” And, it goes on to say that “people derive more happiness from the anticipation of experiential purchases and that waiting for an experience tends to be more pleasurable and exciting than waiting to receive a material good.”
Related Read: The Best Work-Life Balance Quotes to Know
2. Travel Lets You Disconnect & Recharge
One of the best things you can do for your mental health every now and again, especially as a busy college student with an evening job or a young professional working 12-hour shifts, is to disconnect in order to recharge.
Working or studying for days, weeks, and months on end may help get you where you’re looking to go. However, you deserve a break every once in a while from the chronic stress. If not, you may suffer from burnout, depression, anxiety, and a whole host of other problems and ailments.
If traveling to a foreign country or experiencing a different culture doesn’t sound like a true break from everyday life and its stressful situations, stay local or do a solo trip to someplace remote and serene. The important thing for your is to unwind. That’s a health benefit and travel tip all rolled into one!
3. Traveling Relieves Stress and Anxiety
In a randomized controlled trial conducted by Austrian researchers and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, one of the many great travel benefits is that it can reduce stress levels and anxiety.
The researchers found that even just one short-term vacation (~3 days in length) “independent of the mode, has large, positive and immediate effects on perceived stress, recovery, strain, and well-being.” Furthermore, the beneficial effects last quite a while after you return home. “The effects can still be detected at 30 days (recovery) and 45 days (well-being and strain) post-vacation.”
Just make sure the way you travel doesn’t cause you stress, either! If you have a fear of air travel or a disdain for family travel, go by rail or take a solo travel experience. The important thing is to break away from the chronic stress of everyday life in order to calm down and reset your mind.
Related Read: How to Set Goals You Will Actually Achieve
4. Travel Exposes You to New Things
When you travel, you are stepping outside your comfort zone, for one thing. Even if your destination is relatively nearby (across the country rather than internationally), you are still experiencing new things.
Mark Twain said it best in one of my favorite travel quotes:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
5. Travel Exposes Others to New Things
When you meet someone new, whether it’s in another town nearby or in a city halfway around the world, they also are meeting you. And, just as you’re being exposed to new foods, culture, languages, traditions, and so forth, they’re also getting a taste of yours. Just remember to be a good ambassador for your hometown, values, and beliefs!
When you visit a new place, meet new people, and learn about a new culture, whether through group travel or when traveling solo, the benefit to your life is immense, but it also benefits your friends, family, and other loved ones. Not only will you get to experience new things, but you’ll also bring what you learn back to your school, workplace, and hometown.
6. Travel Makes You Physically Healthier
If you’re an active individual and asking why is travel important, there are some great benefits of traveling in store for you! From running through airports and train stations to make that tight connection to hiking through uneven terrain on your mountain climbing adventures to getting some vitamin D as you catch some rays on the beach, there are many reasons why travel is beneficial to your health.
According to a study by the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, travel decreases the risks of heart attacks and makes your brain healthier. The study determined that men who take an annual vacation are 30% less likely to die from heart disease, among other findings.
7. Traveling Can Boost Your Creativity
Are you a student, artist, writer, photographer, chef, advertising manager, or video game designer struggling with coming up with your next great idea? Traveling can help! If you’re looking to reignite your creativity, head on to Kayak and start booking some international flight tickets.
“Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, tells The Atlantic. Cognitive flexibility plays a major role in overall creativity, defined as the ability for a person to be able to entertain various ideas and viewpoints one after the other.
So, when it’s safe to do so, get back out there and travel.
You’ll improve your happiness and mood, get exposed to new things, strengthen your mind and body, remove stress and anxiety, and so much more!
Got any questions, feedback, or other great reasons why travel is important? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!