Are there health benefits to traveling? If so, what are they?
Studies show that travel – especially overseas travel – has many benefits to one’s physical and mental health, including:
- Lowering stress and boosting happiness.
- Keeping you fit.
- Increasing brain activity and creativity.
- Lowering risk of heart disease and increasing life expectancy.
- Catching up on sleep and time for you.
Lowering stress and boosting happiness.
According to NBC News (and other sources) travel has been scientifically proven to reduce stress. Does that surprise you? While there can be stressful elements to taking a trip, ultimately travelers report feeling happier after a trip abroad!
Keeping you fit.
Did you think a culinary vacation means only eating? While food and wine are a big part of our vacation packages, you will most likely walk more and move more than you would during your day-to-day life at home. How many of us sit in front a computer all day? On a culinary tour you’ll find yourself exploring on foot and walking off the delicious meals you’ve eaten.
Increasing brain activity and creativity.
Many sources site travel as a way to increase brain activity and creativity. How? When you visit new places, there is a sense of excitement and even fear, which encourages you to practice the mental exercises of patience and problem solving, and can actually increase your cognitive flexibility (at least according to this article in Forbes.)
Lowering risk of heart disease and increasing life expectancy.
Huh? No joke! Several sources we read cite studies that indicate people who travel annually or more decrease their risk of heart disease! In addition, the lower stress, increased activity, and general happiness provoked during vacations can actually make you live a longer life.
Catching up on sleep and time for you.
We all know the benefits of being properly rested, and catching up on your sleep is a great way during vacation to improve your overall health. But the time that you are granted to take care of YOU on a trip can lead to resiliency, self-awareness, and a better overall state of mind even once you return home.
At The International Kitchen, we’d argue that there is an additional benefit to travel: learning about other people and other cultures. We’re not going to pretend that travel can create world peace or solve the problems of war, prejudice, and fear of the other. But it seems to us it’s a lot harder to mistrust or fear someone you don’t understand, and it’s a lot easier to understand someone when you’ve been in their home, share a meal, or walked even a few days in their culture. Quite simply, travel can increase your empathy for others.
So whether you take a trip with The International Kitchen (which of course we think is the best way to do it!), with another tour operator, or even by planning it yourself, we hope you’ll take the time this year to travel, to explore, and to relax!
By Peg Kern
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