For some people, traveling is already an important part of their life — once you’ve experienced travel, leaving the comfort of your environment becomes a necessity, at least once a year. The truth is, all of us should make travel a part of our lives — which doesn’t mean you have to save up and spend a fortune in order to go to Paris. You can travel to closer destinations that are more affordable; as long as you’re not staying in your own city, it counts. ;)
Why should you consider traveling as something you need in life, rather than just something you wish for?
The simple answer is: because it’s good for your health!
That’s right — an investment into travel is also an investment into your health! It might sound more like a dream come true than reality, but it's true, you can now tell people you're traveling abroad because you're looking to boost your health. Is there a better excuse to take that much-deserved trip to Cuba? We don't think so.
Keep reading for our breakdown of all the ways traveling can make you healthier.
- Improves your immune system
This is a very obvious one -- exposure to different environments encourages your body to adapt to the new microorganisms by boosting different and new antibodies.
The common belief is that you should use food supplements to boost your immunity before traveling to an exotic place, but we beg to differ -- avid travelers say they eat local street food wherever they go. Even if they do get a stomach bug for a short while, as soon as it passes, they are accustomed to the local food, can fully enjoy it, and are usually even more immune and resistant than to begin with for the rest of their trip. This goes to prove the theory of travels boosting your immunity; adapting to new bacteria by creating new antibodies. The long-term benefit is that your body can now produce these new antibodies whenever necessary, so you’re better protected from future illness.
- Lowers stress levels, boosts mental health and decreases depression
We all need a break sometimes, in order to take time to recharge and stop thinking out our daily problems. Naturally, the best way to do that is to take a vacation and travel to a new place. It can be hard to let go of your problems when you’re still in the same city — everything will remind you of your worries and you won’t be able to stop stressing out. If you take a vacation to a different city or country you’ll find that letting go of stressors won’t be much of an issue. You’ll be able to give your mind a rest and enjoy your time spent away from home — almost as if you stepped into another universe. The mind is a remarkable thing, so get ready to see the world and lower your stress level while you’re at it. With lower stress also comes an increase in happiness — that goes beyond just not having to work or not having to complete your usual responsibilities.
- Expands your social network and introduces you to new people.
During your travels, you might just meet some amazing new friends, some of which you might even keep for a lifetime. People that tend to travel a lot, don’t have the same expectations as the friends you make in your city. They don’t have to see you every day, nor hear from you every week — but if you tell them you’re visiting their city they will jump at the opportunity to be your local guide, and if they have space in their living quarters they might even offer you a place to stay. You could even make business connections and build your circle around the entire world instead of just within your city.
- Promotes brain & heart health
Traveling puts you in different situations that require you to constantly use your brain. There is no routine when you’re in a new place, which means that you can’t just put your brain on autopilot and go through your day. When in a new place, you’re faced with new situations and take on challenges that you didn’t anticipate, which forces you to be creative and come up with new solutions.
The heart health part is closely connected to the magical effect traveling has on your stress levels and overall mental health. Specifically, in women, lack of vacation was found to be connected to a higher risk of heart disease later in life — so invest in your health and book that vacay!
Pro tip: Try to pick up some of the words and phrases in the local language! According to research, this can have a long-term effect on improving the capacities of your brain or developing new skills you never thought you had in you.
- It can help you reinvent yourself or make a change
It’s well known that travel opens the mind and expands your knowledge of the world and the people in it — if you allow it to, of course. Along with that, when you travel usually it’s to a place where you don’t really know people, and people don’t really know you. That’s why sometimes when we’re traveling it feels like you’re living as your truest self — sometimes crossing the border is exactly what you need to tear down those borders within you. It’s this mindset that can help you get to know another version of yourself, and perhaps even help you make a change you might have been craving.
- Keeps you fit
It turns out that no matter the type of vacation you choose for your holiday, there’s a way to stay fit! If you opt for taking a city break for your holiday, all the steps you take while sightseeing is bound to make you knock off those few extra calories. If you prefer a beach getaway, make sure to include some beach activities into your itinerary -- swimming, hiking, or just taking a long sunset walk along the beach will do wonders for your activity levels. The only important thing is that activities you choose while on vacation are different from what you practice back home -- new types of activities will activate different muscles and help you stay fit and healthy.
When it comes to nutrition -- something we all love about travel is the new food we get to experience while abroad. If you thought that this only equals to more calories, meaning you’ll gain weight -- stop right there! Trying different foods actually means introducing new nutrients to your body, often different from those that you’re body is used to, which ultimately adds to an aspect of your health and fitness.
P.S. A third of leisure travelers say they have significantly more sex while on vacation -- which equals burning calories! Don’t forget that sex, too, is part of a healthy body & mind! ;)
- It increases creativity and general satisfaction
The best thing to boost your creativity and get you thinking out of the box is gaining new experiences — and when it comes to new experiences, nothing is quite as impactful as travel. Often travel can take you outside of your comfort zone, especially if you’re traveling to a new location, and are ready to immerse yourself into a whole new culture. You’ll definitely be inspired by the new experiences, and it might just shift your outlook on some situations. Travel always stimulates general satisfaction in life which can sometimes even continue after returning back to reality (home). It gives you a chance to have a much-needed breather from things plaguing your mind, making it easier to take care of everything once you are back — sometimes even giving you a unique point of view.
- Increases connection to your community, society & our planet
To end the list on a sentimental note; traveling indeed helps you understand and connect to other cultures better, but -- what’s more -- it teaches you that we’re all same-same, but different. No matter where you are in the world and which culture you grew up in or associate yourself with, the magnificent thing about us humans is that we can create connections that surpass our language, accent, color, and culture. And when we do -- mostly magical things happen.
That’s why taking a trip to somewhere you’ve never been to can teach you about the different ways of life that may be new to you but are completely natural to the people who are natives in the place you travel to. It’s not rare for avid travelers to be the ones who start the positive changes in their communities, only to end up greatly improving those communities by introducing something they’ve learned abroad. You’re likely to appreciate your home and community more once you step out of it, but you’re bound to learn to care for our planet and environment more once you see it in all its glorious and diverse beauty.
When you see how people of different cultures think, act, and interact, you’re likely to become more understanding, empathetic, compassionate, and sensible towards others and yourself -- and we could all use some of that, right? ;)
If you (for some reason) weren’t a huge fan of traveling before, hopefully, we managed to convince you to take a trip somewhere this summer -- now that you know that it’s good for your health and well-being, there’s no reason to hold back or delay your trip any longer!
In case you’re not one of the passionate solo-travelers and prefer traveling with a significant other or in a group, feel free to use this list and convince someone to take a trip with you! They just can’t say no to a foolproof recipe for good health and happiness… ;)