Traveling, and we mean really traveling, outside of your state and your country and not a trip to the local mall—can have profound effects on a person. While not everyone has the means to travel, if you have the opportunity for an adventure—you should go for it.
Not only will you come back with potentially some of the best photographic memories of your life, you will also reap the benefits of being exposed to new places and cultures. Let’s take a closer look at six reasons you should start planning a trip now if you can…
According to MatadorNetwork.com, traveling to new places exposes you to environments your body isn’t accustomed to, which can boost the strength of your antibodies that help fight off disease.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore basic hygiene like washing your hands and even using sanitizer, “but having some new bacteria in your life isn’t a bad thing,” notes the source. Your body learns new bacterium and in turn can build up resistance to them (be sure to check with your doctor for relevant vaccines needed for your destination).
The same article from MatadorNetwork.com says travel can lower your stress in a big way. “It’s been scientifically proven that travel will increase your happiness, decrease your depression, and chill you the F out,” boldly states the source.
The source points to a study that shows that 3-days following the vacation, travelers felt better-rested, less anxious and in an overall better mood. These benefits actually last for weeks after the vacation ends, it adds.
VeryWell.com explains that spending quality time with loved ones can help reinforce bonds, “helping you enjoy the good times more and helping you through the stress of the hard times.”
The source also points to a study by the Arizona Department of Health that found women who travel more were happier with their marriages. It doesn’t say whether the women brought their husband or kids on the trip, though.
If you’re looking for some creative inspiration, perhaps you should look for it outside the borders of your own city. An article in The Atlantic says artists “have long felt the creative benefits of international travel,” and that the experiences they have abroad also become source material for their creative endeavors.
More scientifically speaking, the article points out that creativity is tied to neuroplasticity, or the ability to re-wire your brain. Being exposed to new environments and cultures “spark different synapses in the brain and may have the potential to revitalize the mind,” explains the source.
EliteDaily.com says traveling (for longer periods of time) can change your personality for the better, and outlines a study to prove it. The study by Dr. Julia Zimmermann and Researcher Franz Neyer follows two groups of German college students—one traveling for two semesters and the other staying home.
Comparing to baseline tests to determine personality traits like extraversion, emotional stability and agreeableness, the study found the group that had left their country for an extended period scored higher in extraversion as well as emotional stability. The source says traveling can lower your stress response to being spontaneous, and as a result “unanticipated changes don’t derail you quite like they used to.”
MatadorNetwork also explains that people who travel often tend to live longer, and this is true for short-distance and long-distance wanderers. This is a combined result of some of the aforementioned benefits to travel, from increased brain health to reduced stress.
Not only that, but your longer life will be of higher quality, because you’ll be seeing and doing new things and your overall happiness will be higher. This doesn’t guarantee a longer life, or take into account some of the dangers you should consider when visiting other countries, but it seems like a good enough reason on its own to get out there.