What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when I say ‘travel’ – Vacation? Meeting new people? Or maybe, Instagrammable sunsets? While traveling can be exciting and exhilarating, it’s so much more than sipping margaritas on a sun-soaked beach.
It’s no news that travel is good for your physical wellbeing, but a significant amount of scientific research suggests that exploring a new place can do wonders for your mental and emotional health as well.
Here are five evidence-backed ways traveling makes your mind happy and healthy:
1. It’s a great stress buster. “The stress of work and daily demands can distract us from what we find to be actually meaningful and interesting,” says Dr. Tamara McClintock Greenberg, a San Francisco-based clinical psychologist and author of Psychodynamic Perspectives on Aging and Illness. Thus, taking a break from the daily hustle and bustle is essential for your mind to relax, recharge and rejuvenate.
And what better way to do so than to pack your bags and cross wanderlust-worthy destinations off your bucket list? Traveling promotes happiness and helps you take your mind off stressful situations. This leads to lower cortisol levels, making you feel more calm and content. “It also helps us reflect on our personal goals and interests,” adds Greenberg. According to a 2013 study, more than 80% of Americans, who were surveyed, noticed significant drops in stress just after a day or two of traveling. “Even though I’m always busy when I travel, whether it’s sightseeing, taking photos or just exploring a destination on foot, I know I’m the calmest and most relaxed when I travel,” says Jacintha Verdegaal, an avid traveler and founder of travel and lifestyle blog,
Moreover, the valuable lessons that you learn along the way broaden your perspective, making you more aware and open to new things. “I love traveling to places with different cultures because it forces you to think about your own,” says Verdegaal. “Different is not better or worse, it’s just different. But being confronted with these differences helps me to re-evaluate my own principles and values and, sometimes, change them,” adds the professional globetrotter.
Exploring new places can also give you a fresh start if you’re recovering from a major transition in your life. “When I had Lyme disease, for several years, my world shrunk. I lost friends who didn’t know how to deal with a sick friend. I was quite alone and lost a lot of my self-confidence,” says Wilson, who began to travel “out of fear of relapsing.” “By traveling and interacting with the world around me, I found a new passion for life. I convinced myself to travel even when I wasn’t feeling well. It has brought me happiness, given me a purpose, and has made me a strong, independent woman,” she explains.
3. It boosts happiness and satisfaction. Apart from the obvious fact that you don’t have to go to work (and can legit eat pizza for breakfast), traveling gives you the opportunity to step away from the daily grind. The new events and experiences help rewire your brain, hence boosting your mood and self-confidence. “I think people, in general, are not meant to be tied down to just one place their entire lives. I especially feel “trapped” when I have to stay in the same place for too much time, without being able to really move about and explore,” says travel aficionado and co-founder of The Passport Memorandum, Marta Estevez. “My life feels most fulfilling when I’m outside, living through new experiences and learning,” adds the travel expert who has been to more than ten countries.
“Travel definitely makes me happy,” agrees Wilson. “Even the act of planning a trip gives me something to look forward to and brings me happiness,” says Wilson. Turns out, she’s not the only one who feels that way. According to a Cornell University study, the anticipation of a trip can increase your happiness substantially, even more than the anticipation of acquiring something tangible, like a new car.
4. It makes you mentally resilient. Going and living somewhere where you feel excited and intimidated at the same time can help you toughen up mentally and emotionally. “When I was younger, I couldn’t see myself traveling the world on my own. But now, I travel by myself most of the time. And I love it! It’s never as scary or dangerous as you make it in your head,” says Verdegaal of Urban Pixxels.
Also, facing difficulties in an unfamiliar environment, among new people, forces you to learn and adapt to a life that’s out of your comfort zone. This makes you more flexible, patient and emotionally strong. “Travel has taught me patience, to surrender control to the uncontrollable, and effectively problem solve,” says Wilson who describes herself as a “naturally anxious and impatient person.”
It can also help you deal with “larger issues in life with more grace and patience,” adds the travel expert. “One of the worst experiences I had, early on in my travel life, was being mugged of loads of cash and my passport just a day before I was due to fly home. It taught me to accept situations like this more calmly and to attach less emotion to belongings. Now, I can get over similar stressful situations very quickly, without having the issue get me down for long,” tells Allan Hinton, a London-based photographer who quit his job to become a full-time traveler.
Similarly, when travel blogger Marta Estevez injured her ankle during the famous Loi Krathong festival (Lantern festival) in Thailand, “the roads were partially closed off that night and the streets were filled with hundreds upon hundreds of people that made it incredibly difficult for us to move,” she explains. “I had to learn to accept the situation and adapt our travels accordingly, without breaking down. I’m not sure I would’ve had the same composure a few years ago in this situation.” Bottom line is, the more challenges you’re faced with, the better you’ll get at overcoming them, eventually becoming more resilient, mentally and emotionally.
5. It enhances creativity. According to Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, visiting a foreign place and immersing yourself in their local environment (for instance, attending a ‘snake boat’ race in southern India or feasting on crispy tarantulas in Cambodia), increases your cognitive flexibility. It also enhances “depth and integrativeness of thought,” consequently giving a boost to your creativity. Galinsky is the author of multiple studies that look into the connection between creativity and international travel. Although, it’s important to note that traveling stimulates creativity only when you engage with the local culture of that place. Merely visiting a new city or a country isn’t going to cut it.
Additionally, extended traveling also improves your productivity, problem-solving skills and can even increase your chances of getting promoted at work!
However, “it’s important to remember that vacation can be very stressful for some,” notes Greenberg. If that’s the case with you, try taking “short, structured vacations in order to get used to the experience of having time off,” she suggests. Also, plan your trip properly, in advance, to avoid last-minute panic and chaos.
Lastly, how can you reap the benefits after returning from the trip?
“As a clinician, I encourage people to hold on to aspects of a travel experience or vacation that was pleasurable,” says Greenberg. For example, “if you liked the food in Paris, learn how to cook French food in order to re-create some of the feelings you had while you were on vacation,” she explains. “Another behavioral intervention is to remember peaceful moments you had on vacation and try to remember what was different from your present life. Maybe you took the time to eat breakfast, maybe you exercised. Those things are crucial reminders of what we should do every day,” adds the clinical psychologist.
Now that you’ve finished reading about all the wonderful things travel does to your brain, it’s time to pack your bags and get going!
There are quite a few ways to book a cruise vacation. You can book directly through the cruise line, you can book through a third party website like Expedia, or you can book through a travel agent. A travel agent doesn’t charge for booking your cruise. They earn a commission by the cruise line.
Here are seven things you should know about your travel agent.
1. Respect his time
If you call a travel agent, be kind enough to give him your business. Most likely, your travel agent has sailed on the ship you are considering going on, and if not that specific ship, most likely the cruise line. A travel agent will spend a large amount of time trying to identify what cruise is best for you, so respect his time and knowledge.
2. Don’t expect miracles
Your travel agent can do lots of things to make your vacation great, but don’t expect miracles! If you choose to book at the last minute to save a few bucks, don’t expect your travel agent to get you the “perfect cabin”. You know the one, not too close to the elevator but not too far away from the main dining room! Trust me. The so called “perfect cabin” was sold a year ago! Your travel agent will do everything he can so he earns your repeat business (and word of mouth referrals), but he isn’t a superhero!
3) Share your expectations and needs
Tell your travel agent all the “variables” up front. Do you want early dining? Do you want to take shore excursions? Is the ship “family friendly?” Do you want a true double cabin, or are you okay with a pull down bed in your cabin? Your travel agent needs to know all the details upfront so that he can craft a great cruise vacation for you.
4) Need a room?
Ask for recommendations from your travel agent about pre- and post-cruise lodging and things to do in port before and after your cruise. If you are flying to your cruise, be sure to fly in the day before! If you fly in the day of, lots of things can go wrong. Your travel agent will let you know the best hotel for your pre-cruise stay and what attractions are in the area.
5) Travel insurance – don’t leave home without it
Unforeseen problems happen all the time! Someone in the family gets sick at the last minute. Your luggage is lost. You misplace your passport. Your plane arrives late and you miss the cruise. You name it, anything can and will happen.Travel insurancecosts pennies on the dollar and it gives you peace of mind. Ask your travel agent which travel insurance is best for your vacation.
6) Super Secret Tips
Your travel agent will have lots of tips that those online travel websites won’t tell you. When is the best time to board? Can I bring bottled water? What is the tipping policy? What special events are on the ship that I can’t miss? What are the best shore excursions? Those are just a few tips that your travel agent can share with you to put you heads and shoulders above your fellow cruisers!
7) Tell your friends about me
If your travel agent gave you a great vacation, tell your friends on Facebook, at church, and at work that they are awesome. Travel agents work hard everyday and they are able to continue serving cruisers by word of mouth referrals. Be a supporter of a small business by giving them his name, phone number and website. Be sure to let your travel agent know you are referring people to him. Chances are he will hook you up with something nice in your cabin on your next cruise for all the business you have given him.
Everyone keeps saying how important it is to travel. So what’s all this fuss about?
The benefits of traveling are not just a one-time thing: traveling changes you physically and psychologically. Having little time or money isn’t a valid excuse.You can fly for cheap . If you have a full-time job and a family, you can still travel on the weekends or holidays, even with a baby.
Here are some of the main benefits of traveling. And I’m sure that once you get started, you’ll find some more yourself!
1. Traveling Improves Your Health
From cutting down on stress, to lowering your chances of developing a heart disease, the health benefits of traveling are huge. You may stay sitting on a chair all day long at the workplace: including some walking to your trip is sure to make your body feel better. For some people, wandering abroad is even a cure for depression and anxiety. Of course, it’s not a foolproof cure, but it might help you feel better, both physically and psychologically.
Traveling more is likely to have a tremendous impact on your mental well-being, especially if you’re no used to going out of your comfort zone. Trust me: travel more and your doctor will be happy. Be sure to get in touch with your physician, they might recommend some medication to accompany you in your travels, especially if you’re heading to regions of the globe with potentially dangerous diseases.
2. Traveling Disconnects You From Your Daily Life
This is extremely related to my previous point. We tend to be so caught up in our daily lives that sometimes by simply sticking around we may cause more harm than good. Your boss is taking over your life? Kids are driving you mad? Your parents are trying to make you live the life they want? How long do you think you can handle this pressure before you burst and everything falls apart?
Sometimes it is best to take a step back, take a deep breath and take go that Tower Bridge selfie. In all seriousness, travel is not a bad option – it is the most natural way of inducing the feeling you miss someone or that you are missed. The trick is to leave with a bit of preparation to avoid making a mistake during your journey. Plus, if you’re flying, you better start thinking about booking your tickets sooner than later.
3. Traveling Makes You Smarter
Get used to picking up new words in a different language every time you travel and you will see improvements in your brain capacities, as Dan Roitman wrote in the Huffington Post. If only this, start getting familiar with travel jargon.
Even more than “just” languages, traveling helps you learn about yourself. You might run into challenging situations where you need to be resourceful and think differently. I’m sure that you will develop a new set of skills that you didn’t suspect you had within you.
4. Traveling Improves Your Understanding Of Other Cultures
Being more understanding and tolerant about a culture different than ours is part of being smarter, but I consider it as a benefits of traveling in itself. There is a quote by Saint Augustine, which goes “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page”. You could think of it this way: if you read what’s in the news or watch the news on TV and don’t question it, you’re missing on a ton of information. You might think that it makes you smarter and more aware of the world, but it’s the exact opposite: it narrows your mind to a unique and biased perspective.
Sure, you probably feel comfortable where you are, but that is just a fraction of the world! If you are a student, take advantage of programs such as Erasmus to get to know more people, experience and understand their culture. Dare traveling to regions you have a skeptical opinion about. I bet that you will change your mind and realize that everything is not so bad abroad.
5. Traveling Makes You More Interesting
I have no doubt that you’re quite the conversationalist. That being said, including a few stories from abroad is likely to grant you even more attention. Mentioning something that most people aren’t familiar with or bring a new perspective is always a good way to shine in a social situation.
Who do you think people want to listen to: the guy who spent his vacations at home doing some gardening and reading the newspaper, or the one who spent a week in Cuba, driving an old American car, swimming with dolphins and tasting deliciously spicy food? I know which story I want to hear about…
6. Traveling Allows You To Try Amazing Food
Speaking of food, I bet you’re one hell of a chef and your home meals are delicious. But there is no such thing as trying a typical local dish from another country. Don’t trick yourself into going to the Sushi shop next door: you don’t know what sushi tastes like until you’ve been to Japan.
Eating local food in a new country is an entirely new experience. All the flavors are different. Here me out: I’m French and I love our local recipes. You do to. But let’s not kid ourselves: some change would be more than welcome in our daily diet. If only because we’re naturally curious.Some food bloggers travel thousands of kilometers for a specific dish! The least you can do is travel to the next region and try something new.
7. Traveling Makes You Feel Like An Adventurer
Despite the fact that the world has never been as well connected as today, there are still places that are little known to the average tourist. Setting up a list of places you want to visit is extremely motivating. You have something tangible to go after.
The benefit of traveling to a new place is that it forces you to face the unknown and think differently. You don’t need to go spend a month in the jungle! If you live in a large city, just going on a hike over the weekend will make you feel different. Adventures require novelty, so get out of your comfort zone. It might be scary, but in retrospect, you’ll see it as the best decision you ever made!
8. Traveling Expands Your (Real) Social Network
Believe it or not, social networks was once like a real thing – in real life. Crazy, I know. Establishing connections and building a network abroad is one of the smartest things you can do in today’s world. It is sometimes hard to build long-lasting relationship with the people you meet abroad, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth meeting new people!
9. Traveling Creates Lifetime Memories
My grandfather was an amazing story-teller and he used to tell me stories of the trips he made when he was younger. One of my favorites is how he tried eating with chopsticks in China for the first time. He regretted not traveling more as a young man. Years later, he still remembered everything in details: because traveling made a real impression on him. And it probably will on you too.
No matter how insignificant it may seem, the fact that you’ve had an experience abroad, something that was out of the ordinary, creates a memory that you will remember for a long time.
10. Traveling Makes You Love Your Home Even More
“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back”. You will truly understand the meaning of those words by Wendy Wunder, only upon your return home. On the one hand, it would seem that you’re back where you started, same setting, same people, same problems. Yet you’re not the same – you’re new, full of new knowledge and ideas!
I know that I was getting bored after living my whole life in the same place. I needed to get out, I need a change of scene. I was focusing only the negative: how there isn’t much to do around, how you always meet the same people, how nothing changes. Now, when I come home, I’m glad about all of this and I see only the positive.
Final Words On the Benefits of Traveling
Traveling Doesn’t Make You Feel (As) Bad For Spending Money
There is (yet) another one by Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” Cliché as this may sound, the money you spend on travel, is an investment in yourself.
Everyone looks forward to a nice, relaxing vacation. It’s understandable to feel stressed out thinking about planning a trip. Travel agents help many people create the perfect vacation. In this post, you will learn five benefits of hiring a travel agent.
1. Not Having to Spend Time Planning a Vacation
The internet has helped to make certain aspects of planning a vacation easier. You will still find that there are many aspects that go into trip planning. You will need to find information about which locations are interesting. Booking a hotel online is enough to make any traveler want to stop the whole process. You’ll need to determine which method of travel works best for you. A travel agent takes care of all planning aspects of a vacation.
2. Professional Planning Around What you Want
Travel agents have immense knowledge of the most popular destinations in the world. You only need to provide details of what you look for in a vacation. For example, people interested in exploring the outdoors will have assistance finding outdoor destinations. Not everyone is sure of what they want from a vacation. A travel agent can meet with you to discuss what you want to experience during your vacation. Couples may have differing needs in what they want when vacationing. A travel agent works to find a vacation that provides everyone with a perfect trip.
3. Continued Help During Trip
Frequent travelers know that not all aspects of a trip will go as planned. Unfortunately, flights and bookings can end up needing to change. A travel agent will be aware of any weather hampering travel. Your agent will help to find alternate plans in case of an emergency. A travel agent is like having a safety net for the entire duration of your trip.
4. Insider Knowledge of Many Locations
It’s common for someone to visit a travel agent because they don’t know where to go. Travel agents can provide information about unknown locations that may be perfect for you to visit. These professionals will have experience in sending people to different locations. They will continue to get information about what their clients enjoyed. Your busy life likely doesn’t leave time for researching travel locations and attractions. Many people have agents help book their vacations for the immense time and cost savings.
5. Great for Cost Savings
A travel agent will have access to vacation deals that might not otherwise be available. You never want to take a vacation and later found out you could have gotten it much cheaper. A travel agent can help find vacation packages and deals to work with any budget. The only thing better than a vacation is saving money at the same time. A travel agent service can easily pay for itself when considering the deals they can find.
In closing, there are several benefits to working with travel agents. These agents will plan an entire trip around your preferences. Many people continue to work with agents for the massive cost and time savings they provide.
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