13 Reasons Why Travel Is Good for Your Mental Health

Most people don’t immediately associate travel with greater mental health. They’re too busy dreaming of sandy beaches and blue waters or snow-covered slopes and winter lodges to give it much thought. But that doesn’t detract from all the good travel does for your mental health. In truth, it means you can enjoy those gem-colored waters and snowy slopes even more.

If you’ve been struggling to put in your time off request, here are thirteen science-backed reasons you should be planning your next guilt-free getaway for some mental rest and relaxation. 

Table of Contents

1. It Helps You Connect with Your People

Vacations are a literal escape from your binding schedule and the perfect excuse for spending time with your loved ones. You can reconnect in more meaningful ways than sharing posts or the same space by instead sharing experiences and memories. And those interactions play a significant role in your mental health. For example, research proves that face-to-face interactions help reduce the risk of depression.

Traveling also offers a unique opportunity to expand your circle of friends and loved ones beyond the tight, close-knit group you encounter every day. With a new place comes new people and friends, which can profoundly impact your quality of life. One study found that larger social networks and stronger community ties can help you live longer

The physical and mental health benefits of traveling to new places are clear and just one of the many reasons you should plan a trip for your mental health. 

2. It’s a Chance to Express Your Creativity

How creativity affects the brain is impressive in and of itself. Still, many of us may not fully understand its importance in mental health. Studies have found that creativity can reduce depression and feelings of isolation. In addition, creative thinking can boost brain function and increase feelings of happiness. 

So, what does travel have to do with creativity, you may ask? Researchers found that travel—and international travel, specifically—inspires creativity by introducing new stimuli, ideas, and experiences. In addition, they’ve found that people who go on vacation experience a creative boost several weeks after returning home. 

So, if you’re looking for ways to boost your creativity, happiness, and cognitive flexibility, travel might be the answer. It’s good for your creativity, making travel good for your mental health.

3. It Encourages You to Try New Things 

The science shows it. New things are good for you. But it can be hard to try out something new when you’re attached to your current routine. Let’s face it, how often do you make plans to do something novel and exciting? Once a week? A month? A year? Your daily to-do lists likely don’t include a lot of time for trying out new things. 

Meanwhile, travel is all about new things: people, places, and cultures. Stepping outside of your daily routine and doing something new becomes easier than ever when you travel because everything you’re doing is fresh and something you’ve never experienced.

Once you escape the monotony of your daily routine, you’re hit with the urgency to make the most out of every minute. If that means defying gravity while parasailing the skies or camping underneath a sky full of stars, bring it on! 

And those new exploits aren’t for nothing. Studies prove new and diverse activities and experiences can boost your memory and make you happier

4. It Gets Your Body Moving

One of the best ways travel can positively affect your mental health is by getting you moving. Time and again, studies show physical activity has a marked effect on mental health, reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. So, there’s no argument here; moving your body moves you toward greater well-being.

For its part, traveling encourages more movement in your daily life. Exploring new destinations and learning new physical skills requires you to be up and about, whether walking from one destination to the next or learning a new dance move. Everything you do on vacation—swimming, kayaking, and snowboarding down slopes—helps get you moving. And that’s a win for your body and your brain.

5. It’s Fun

Fun is always good for your mental health, and it’s hard to argue that travel isn’t fun. Snorkeling in the Bahamas, going to Carnival in Rio, and visiting temples in Thailand are all things that get people feeling excited about their trip. But even the simple things like ordering food from a street vendor, sitting in at a cute cafe, and listening to drunk revelers sing in an Irish pub help enmesh you in positive feelings. 

The new and positive experiences created by traveling help boost serotonin, reduce stress levels, and encourage a more positive outlook. Those mental health benefits also give rise to physical benefits, including more energy and better sleep. 

As if you needed more reasons to book that horseback ride along the beach.

6. It Helps Fight Burnout 

A vacation is a great stress buster. However, when you get caught up in the daily grind of work, family, and other responsibilities, it can be hard to unplug from everything affecting your stress levels. 

Nevertheless, removing yourself from those stressful situations reduces your stress levels and counteracts the effects of mental burnout and job burnout. In fact, studies show that vacations can drastically reduce job stress, burnout, and feelings of absenteeism. 

Even those people addicted to the hustle aren’t protected from burnout. But, funnily enough, research supports that people who take vacations are more productive and more likely to be promoted over those who don’t take vacations.

So, married to work or not, it’s time to start your travel planning and take a break.

7. It Boosts Your Confidence & Self-Esteem 

Planning your travel, navigating a new city, and experiencing different cultures takes guts. It’s not easy to leave behind what you know for unique experiences. And if you’re doing it all alone, that’s even more impressive. There’s no one to confer with, bounce ideas off, or offer a second opinion; the reins are entirely in your hands. 

Having that much responsibility can be scary; it may even induce some anxiety at first. However, once you start your travels and accomplish the things you set out to do, you’ll see your self-confidence skyrocket. And if you don’t think confidence and self-esteem are important, think again. Higher self-esteem can reduce depression and feelings of anxiety.

By encouraging you to trust yourself, hone your decision-making abilities, and flex your problem-solving skills, travel improves your mental health in significant ways.

8. It Pushes You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Daily life lulls people into a sense of routine. No matter how much some of us may fight the monotony of a conventional schedule, chances are you’ve settled into a pattern. Travel snatches that regimen from underfoot and leaves you reeling outside your comfort zone in a new place, sometimes a different culture. It’s precisely the exhilarating break you need to leave the monotony behind and get back to living life in the moment. 

Nothing changes when everything stays the same. Remaining inside your comfort zone means missing out on incredible experiences, the opportunity to make friends, and a chance to expand your worldview outside of the limited experiences you get by staying in one place. 

So, rather than standing still, get out and travel. It won’t let you play it safe. And when it comes to your mental health, that’s a good thing.

9. It Gives You a Change of Scenery

A change of scenery has been said to work wonders for your physical health and emotional well-being. While it’s not a magical cure-all for life’s problems, we can’t deny that changing your surroundings by traveling also benefits your mental health. Studies have found that changing your physical location has a marked effect on your mood. Researchers noted that traveling and exploring new places made people happy, and they were even more content on the days they traveled more. 

That’s not just people talking either; brain activity scanned by MRIs backed the self-reported positive effects. So, the more you travel, the happier you are. 

And when it comes to your scenery, some scenes are better for your mental health than others. Green spaces can significantly improve mental health, making it all the more important to schedule your next vacation somewhere you can soak up nature and lots of greenery.

10. It Helps You Relax

It can be hard to practice self-care in your daily life. So many responsibilities and to-dos constantly clamoring for your attention can make taking care of yourself feel like an indulgence you don’t have the time for. On vacation, you don’t have to worry about any of that.

With all of your everyday responsibilities out of the way, you can say goodbye to all the stress that accompanies them. And a decrease in stress carries more weight than you might think, from improving your mood to reducing your anxiety.

Your time off is time you’ve earned to relax, treat yourself, and take pleasure in some pampering. So, sleep in, visit the spa, take in the gorgeous scenery, and feel your stress melt away. 

11. It Helps You Discover Yourself

Whether traveling to a nearby town or exploring the world over, new places and new adventures can help you reevaluate your current perspectives. Studying history and learning how other cultures live and what they value can significantly impact your own behaviors and ways of thinking.

This compounds when you solo travel. 

With time to yourself in unfamiliar settings, you meet yourself as a stranger. The longer you spend with yourself, the more you learn about your wants and needs and how you wish to engage with the world around you. 

Travel forces you to learn and experience new things that confront your existing ideas and ways of thinking, reshaping you into a new version of yourself. 

12. It Helps You See the Bigger Picture

Traveling unveils valuable life lessons. You get to experience the differences between other cultures and your own while also realizing that people at their core—wherever you go—are more alike than they are different. And no matter the culture, nationality, or faith, individual and communal well-being is essential to living a long and satisfying life. 

Faced with that knowledge and other cultural insights about how people worldwide seek and achieve well-being, it can also help put your own problems into perspective. By looking at them through fresh eyes and new experiences, you can find ways to grow, overcome, and achieve your own happiness.

13. It Gives You Great Memories

After you hit twenty-one, the one good thing about getting older is having more memories to reminisce about. Who doesn’t want to be forty-five, sixty, or ninety years old and have fond memories to look back on and crazy stories to tell your friends, family, and really, anyone who will listen?

Travel is where all of the best memories live. Whether it’s a trip you took for spring break, a destination wedding, or a birthday celebration in a foreign place, travel often marks big milestones in our lives. So, it’s only fitting you’ll have the memories to match. And studies show that having these positive memories in our past to look back on can help make us happier in our present

Don’t Let Airfare Stress, Mess with Your Mental Health: Fly with Next Vacay

Travel is so good for your mental health that we wouldn’t blame you if you’ve already started planning your next trip. But the planning process can be stressful, and finding a flight for your perfect vacation can be one of the worst parts. Don’t let the stress of finding your airfare take you out of the travel game before even setting foot on the plane.

Next Vacay can help you find the best deals with no stress. Our team of deal hunters finds and verifies every deal before it’s sent to your inbox. All you have to do is check out the price and destination and book what catches your eye. Whether you want your travels to take you on a Caribbean getaway or a woodsy retreat, whatever is best for your mental health, Next Vacay can bring you the destinations you’re searching for.

Say goodbye to stress and hello to friendlier skies with Next Vacay!

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