Health and Wellness Benefits of Travel

Taking vacations, defined as taking a pleasurable trip outside an individual’s usual environment, is seen as an integral feature of human life for many people. As a result, vacation offers a chance to rest and recover from everyday life demands and stress, increasing life satisfaction. The relationship between travel and healthy aging is well documented. Spending time exploring the world may positively affect cognitive change through neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to change responses to experiences.

Random findings from studies:

·       Affordability is a significant factor when considering international travel.

·       Approximately 71% of Americans say it’s too expensive to leave the country.

·       Only about 46% of US citizens have a valid passport.

Below are some ways traveling can boost your health.

Increase personal relationships

Sharing travel experiences with significant others, friends, and family also strengthen personal relationships, according to a 2015 survey by the US Travel Association. Multigenerational travel (traveling with families) enhances family bonds and benefits children, grandchildren, parents, and grandparents. Grandparents state that “traveling with their grandchildren makes them feel youthful.” Traveling with or visiting friends and family can promote emotional health, and it has been noted that some of the most memorable trips are those spent with family and friends.

Increase physical health

Travelers are significantly more satisfied with their physical health and well-being than non-travelers. Physical benefits of traveling maintain and enhances physical fitness and require older adults to keep moving and active. Excursions require lots of walking and moving about. Visiting the ocean and beaches promotes walking, swimming, and snorkeling and can be incredibly restorative and helpful for muscles and joints. Sea salt helps relieve sore and aching muscles and reduces inflammation in the joints. Swimming in seawater or eating marine plant and animal dishes can boost iodine, influencing the thyroid glands’ function, directly regulating hormones and metabolism.

Increased social benefits

Meeting other travelers and locals offers a unique platform for engagement and creates new relationships that deepen others’ understanding and experiences. Social interaction is one of the most fundamental and innate motivations driving human needs.

Decreasing work stress

Full-time workers must understand the benefits of vacations and know how to plan their vacations (e.g., vacation duration, type of activities) to maximize the vacation benefits. A stressful working environment can bring adverse effects to workers, such as negative emotions, fatigue, or energy loss. While these effects can be reversed, it is up to the workers to do activities that will no longer expose them to a stressful environment. Therefore, if workers can feel relaxed or stay detached from work demands, they are more likely to recover from work stress.

Work stress is a growing concern for employers because high work stress can lower job performance and satisfaction, higher turnover rates, and absenteeism. Since people usually suffer a loss of autonomy in the workplace, they will choose leisure activities to regain their autonomy.

Sources:

  • Chen, C.-C., Zou, S. (Sharon), & Gao, J. (2020). Towards the recovery mechanisms of leisure travel experiences: does the length of vacation matter? Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing37(5), 636–648. https://doi-org.lopes.idm.oclc.org/10.1080/10548408.2018.1525469
  • Hyatt, G. (2019). The benefits of traveling later in life. Journal on Active Aging18(1), 60–64.

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