We can all use an opportunity to disconnect from our daily routine sometimes, whether it’s in the form of a weekend city break, a prolonged mountainous holiday or a luxurious stay at the seaside, sunbathing on one of the most iconic beaches in the world. No matter if you’re an occasional traveler or if the whole wide world sees more of you more than your regular home, the benefits of traveling are undeniable, both for mental and physical health.
These positive effects are not just acknowledged by passionate travelers who experienced them firsthand, but have also been proven by various scientific studies. So, here’s some amazing reasons to travel today. Just pack your bag, fill it with vivid dreams and good fortune and get to exploring:
Benefits of traveling to keep in mind just in time for your next trip
1. It's one of the best ways to relax
It’s no wonder most companies offer paid vacation leave or even attractive pre-paid travel packages. You might argue – why traveling and not something else? Surely there must be other ways to relax, too. And with that, we agree, there are, but traveling is certainly one of the most effective, long-lasting and powerful ways to relax and disconnect from daily stress, obligations or deadlines.
As opposed to regular weekend outdoor activities or going out for a drink with your friends, the benefits of traveling are so persistent that it’s no wonder most people find it hard to go back to their pre-holiday state for weeks after returning.
2. It helps you shed some pounds...the easy way
Most of us think of the holidays as a chance to bum out, pig out or both at once. And while some people can gain weight during the holidays, some can also lose it. How does that happen? Well, the truth is that most of us don’t realize how much we move during our travels – whether it’s hiking, sight-seeing, exploring monuments and museums on foot, going off the beaten track, even carrying big luggage across town, our activity levels increase quite a lot, as opposed to the routine of a static office job.
The calories can quickly add up and even stay off, if we manage to burn more than we consume throughout the day. So, throw that gym membership away over the holidays and get yourself in shape the fun way!
3. You'll get out of your narrow "me" world
There are a lot of people who are too wrapped up in their own way of thinking or their own view of the world. As such, one of the best reasons to travel is to broaden your mind. Traveling helps us realize how little we actually know about the world and can even help us correct damaging views or stereotypes we hold in regards to certain people or even places.
This increases the ability to be empathetic and understanding and these qualities will stay with you long after you’ve returned, helping you be more grateful for what you have, become a better friend or partner or even a more open-minded person all around.
4. You'll understand that different is not inferior
Exploring contrasting cultures can help some people with ethnocentric views change how they perceive social differences. For example, for a Westerner, visiting an Eastern European country can bring a bit of a cultural shock and vice-versa, but that initial impression will wear off and you might find yourself more accepting of cultural differences upon returning, or even more appreciative of traditions and ways of thinking that challenge your own. Diversity helps us grow and that is one of the best benefits of traveling – encountering diversity and learning to embrace it.
5. Increased immunity
This one might seem surprising to you but this effect of traveling has been proven through various scientific studies. The explanation is quite simple – when traveling, you are exposed to a different environment than your own which might contain different microorganisms and pathogens. In turn, your immune system will gather a bigger resistance and become stronger. This adaptation to different environmental conditions will prove to be a useful asset for you upon returning as well, making you less prone to contracting different diseases or even more resilient against common ones, such as the flu.
6. You'll make new friends
Traveling is a wonderful opportunity to make friends, whether you choose to fly solo (no pun intended) or travel with a group. You get to meet various types of people along the way with similar interests or views or even completely different ones that fascinate or even challenge you to midnight debates. A travel companion can even become a lifelong friend, you never know!
7. Lowered stress levels
Stress is the biggest enemy of the modern world and it can wreak havoc on our health. Perhaps one of the most amazing benefits of traveling is its effect on our stress levels. Even just a few days of traveling can make an impact, though I would recommend at least two weeks for more visible results.
The best news? The euphoric post-travel state can affect us for weeks upon returning to work, leading to increased productivity, concentration and an all around state of happiness you’ll surely pass onto your co-workers.
8. Gives you a happy heart and a happy body!
Many scientific studies have proven that regular traveling keeps your heart and body young and happy, lowers blood pressure and boosts cardiovascular health. This will make you feel renewed and rejuvenated upon returning and your friends will surely take notice of your brand new travelers’ afterglow!
9. You find yourself
Last but not least, one of the best reasons to travel is that you can go on a soul-searching journey, find purpose and meaning in your life, detach yourself from toxic people or wrong thinking patterns, escape pain and suffering, even heal a broken heart. Discovering yourself whilst discovering the world is perhaps the essence of traveling.
These are just some of the greatest benefits of traveling that make me, for one, want to start packing right now.
What other positive effects have you noticed? Let me know in the comment section below, if you're not too busy with your suitcase.
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