There are few things in life more fulfilling than travel. It broadens our perspective by exposing us to new cultures, customs, and ways of thinking and, in the end, leads us to self-actualization. As author David Mitchell so eloquently put it, “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”
But the benefits to traveling don’t end with spiritual enlightenment. A recent study in the UK suggests that traveling could actually improve your health.
Expedia surveyed a total of 31 million travelers who had taken a vacation in the last year. Of those surveyed, 81 percent said they felt better as a direct result of their vacation. That fact shouldn’t surprise anyone, of course taking a vacation will make you feel better, but the study also suggests that taking a vacation can help you lose weight, gain confidence, feel younger, and yes, even have more sex.
“You’re free to do as much or as little as you like, which in turn makes you feel more relaxed,” said Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, who worked with Expedia on the study. “This can help reduce the levels of the stress hormone cortisol…As stress and anxiety decreases, mood increases – bringing many, often unexpected, positive benefits in how we perceive ourselves, motivation and productivity, and our general outlook on life.”
According to the study, more than one million respondents said that traveling increased their sex drive. This is likely due in part to an increase in body confidence and improved mood, which makes us more predisposed for closeness. And, of course, more free time means more opportunity.
“One of the best things about [travel] is that by coming out of your routine, you don’t have to worry about ‘must dos,’” continues Papadopoulos. “You can have new experiences on your terms.”
More than one million respondents said that they lost weight because of traveling. For many of us, traveling leads to a short burst of generally healthy behavior. Traveling puts us into a new routine which gives us the chance to break unhealthy habits. Additionally, being more aware of our bodies while being more active helps motivate us to get in shape.
“Exposure to a healthy amount of sunshine is also believed to increase the brain’s release of the hormone serotonin,” said Papadopoulos. “Which is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.”