9 Healthy Benefits of Travel -003

Is travel worth it? Yes, there are many surprising benefits to travel, I bet more than even I realize.

A few of the benefits I’ll cover are:

  1. Travel is fun!
  2. Experiences are better than things.
  3. Travel makes you more patient.
  4. Travel makes you more Open-minded.
  5. Travel is educational.
  6. Travel helps you learn HOW to have fun.
  7. Travel is good practice for managing stress.
  8. Travel brings us closer together.
  9. Travel makes you happier.

Travel is Fun!

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This one is obvious, but that doesn’t make it any less true or any less valid a benefit. Whether you enjoy climbing a rock or sitting on a beach, travel is fun. Sure, I love sitting in my local bar and drinking with the locals. When having a great conversation, it doesn’t matter where we are.

The people-watching won’t be as interesting at my local bar. If I go to a bar in downtown Fort Worth or Dallas, especially if I go to the square in Denton, the people-watching gets more interesting. If I go to Austin or San Antonio, the people I’m likely to see day to day changes even more. The people-watching gets even more interesting.

If you live in north Texas with me, you don’t get to go snow skies or body surfing every day. What if you live in Denver and love the ocean? You can take yearly vacations to the coast and enjoy the beach. If you live in Pensacola, you can take ski vacations in Utah. If you live in Utah, you may enjoy skiing regularly throughout the year so you decide to try some different slopes and see some different scenery in the Banff or in the Alps.

By traveling, you can try completely new activities, you can periodically have fun doing activities you know you enjoy, and you can do the same activity but in a variety of different places.

Experiences are Better Than Things

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You can spend money on buying things, or you can spend money on experiences. Of course, I mean after you pay yourself first by putting some money away for savings and investments. I think that experience is sort of line an investment. You should still save money first, but spending money on the experience of travel will make you happier than spending money on buying things.

An inc.com article from a few years ago discussed why experiences make us happier than stuff.[1]

INSERT items from INc post about why experiences make you happier

1. Happiness over material items quickly fades.
2. Experiences define your purpose and passions.
3. Possessions don’t contribute to social relationships.
4. Moments are more memorable.
6. Stuffocation.
7. It’s no fun keeping up with Joneses.

Let’s talk about some of those.

The newness of things wears off.

It’s a phenomenon that psychologists call hedonic adaptation.  That’s a fancy word that means you get something you want. It’s really cool at first. Then you see it or use it every day. As it works its way into your day-to-day life it soon becomes just another thing you look at every day.

That new thing loses the luster it had and becomes just a part of everything else. After you show it off a few times, your friends get tired of hearing about it. They were never interested in the first place. They probably wondered why you spent money on it instead of going on a fun cruise! Not that we care what they think.

Yes, a travel memory becomes a memory and hopefully another of many travel memories, but as I’ll get into more in a couple of minutes, you’ll learn something from the travel and always have a story to tell without having to carry something with you.

Things will require upkeep.

You have to maintain and store them. You have to change the oil in your car. Big trucks need big, expensive tires and use more gasoline. You’ll have to dust trinkets. If you rearrange furniture or move, you have to pack and unpack those things. Material possessions will complicate your life.

What do you want more of? Expenses or Experiences.

Travel Makes You More Patient

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There is a downside to travel: You never know what’s going to happen, what’s going to go wrong. And things will go wrong. If there is one thing that’s great about travel, it’s that you never know what’s going to happen!

It’s part of the fun, part of the adventure. Travel teaches you to realize that things may not go as planned, that you’ll have challenges. Unexpected and sometimes unpleasant opportunities will pop up. You may not expect them or want them, but you realize that they’re going to happen and you learn to deal with them without getting upset.

Eventually, you learn to enjoy the unexpected challenges as part of the fun of travel

Travel Makes You More Open-minded

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You get to see how other people in other cultures live. Even if it’s another culture in your same state, you get exposed to new ideas, ideals, and experiences.

You learn to appreciate that people in other places are good people doing their best for their families and themselves.

A post from Worldpackers.com listed 8 ways that travel makes you more open-minded.[2]

  1. You recognize different priorities in other cultures.
  2. You become self-aware of your own impatience.
  3. Travel forces you to try new things you may not have tried at home.
  4. Staying in your established social circle isn’t an option.
  5. In noticing where you’re different, you learn something about your own culture.
  6. Traveling makes you better understand the plight of newcomers at home.
  7. Travel gives you perspective into what relationships look like in other countries.
  8. Your idea of personal space will probably be redefined forever.

Travel is Educational

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Even if you go sit on a beach, meet people and have conversations you’ll learn something about them. If you go to sit and read, you’ll learn something from the book. Even with fiction books, you’ll discover words you don’t generally see or use daily.

If you travel to a foreign country you get even more education. You’ll learn new cultures, experience new cuisine, and celebrations. You’ll learn cultural similarities, differences, and norms.

You can learn a new language. Even if you don’t visit another country, you’ll learn new slang and idioms.

no pasa nada.

You’ll learn history. One of my favorite parts of visiting Spain is all the history my brother-in-law tells us about the buildings, bridges fountains, statues and streets. He’s probably making most of it up as he goes along, but we don’t know that.

I spent two months in Spain during the Obama administration and two months in Spain during the Trump administration. All those insulting things hope other countries say about the leaders from the other party, it’s not true.

They’ve got their own corrupt, messed up, dysfunctional government to laugh at. I figured out that they’re not much more concerned about our government than we are theirs. At the same time, they make fun of us just as much as we make fun of them. Sure, I saw plenty of media there making fun of Obama and Trump, but I didn’t see any of the anger or fear that our media likes to invent to get us all riled up.

Perhaps most importantly, you learn more about what you’re capable of.

Travel Helps You Learn HOW to Have Fun

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It’s Fun to Have Fun, But You Have to Know How. -Dr. Suess, The Cat in the Hat

Maybe those who don’t travel don’t do so because they don’t know how to have fun. You have to learn how to have fun. One of the best ways to learn how to have fun is to travel.

We get into routines and get used to doing the same things every day. Travel helps you grow accustomed to not doing the same things that you do every day.

Travel helps you learn to see the fun and adventure in life when things don’t go as planned. When things go wrong on a trip, you hopefully either adapt or go with the flow and find the fun in what is happening instead of worrying about what should or shouldn’t be happening. The more experience and practice you get adapting to changes and going with the flow when things don’t go as planned and still having fun, not in spite of things going wrong, but because things went wrong, that will help you have a lot more fun in your day to day life.

In our day to day lives, things rarely go as planned. A lot of times, we want new plans. We’re tired of the day-to-day, but don’t do anything about. Travel makes you better at that. It helps you learn how to have fun.

Now, be a good Cat in the Hat and learn how to have fun.

Travel is Good Practice for Managing Stress

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Yes, getting away from the daily grind for a few days can help reduce stress. A few days at the beach will likely melt your stress away, but notice that I didn’t say that “travel will eliminate stress.” I said that travel is good practice for managing stress.

Stress has an evolutionary purpose. It keeps us safe, keeps us productive and hopefully prompts us to prepare for the future. Cortisol, the so-called stress hormone that Instagram mediation gurus love to hate, it’s part of our circadian rhythm. I’ll not bore you with all the human health things and just state that humans need stress.

Now, not only is a stress-free life unhealthy, it’s unrealistic. There’s no ending stress. Realistically, there is reducing excess stress and there is managing stress.

Reducing excess stress is the best, I confess, but I digress. Hold on, I’ll finish the rest.  Yeah, I might rap now and then.

Similar to how travel gives you opportunities to practice patience, it gives you opportunities to practice managing stress. When problems arise on a trip, you don’t let them wait until the weekend and take care of it if you don’t sleep too later. In travel, you take care of the problem so you can get on with your trip. You may make an adjustment. You may adjust to the situation. Either way, you lean to handle it. You learn to enjoy handling it. The unexpected is part of the fun of travel.

Except maybe at an all-inclusive resort. You always expect that all-inclusive includes a lack of surprise. Which is why you should book those through a travel agent instead of finding those cheap deals–Can you hear my air quotes?–instead of those cheap deals on the internet.

Want to learn to manage stress? Exercise and start traveling.

Travel Brings Us Closer Together

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This is especially true with Disney. This is one of the reasons I try to travel so much. It’s one of the reasons I love Disney so much.

My kid is a teen. You know how teens are with hugging their parents in public. Yeah. Just the other day, she asked if I wanted to go see a musical with her and her friend. It’s “Seussical” at a community theatre. We saw the opening night show. It was delightful, and I said I’d like to see it again. My kid has a friend in it, so she wanted to get other friends to see it and support their friend. So she asks me if I’d like to see it with them.

Then she shows me which seats she and her friend would like and told me I could sit anywhere I wanted. Yeah.

Tweens and teens don’t want to be seen with their parents.

But at Disney. We’re sitting at the hotel, waiting on the Magical Express, which was running late and helping learn more patience. My teen is looking through pictures on her phone from the last few days at the parks, and do you know what she does? She lays her head on my shoulder. My teen! In public.

All parents may not think about this as much as I do, but my kid is leaving for college in a few years. It won’t be long before they test their wings and leave the nest. Don’t wait for a vacation to spend time with them. Spend as much quality time with them as you can. It’s just a little bit easier to get them to hang out with you on vacation.

My mom was different. She tried everything she could think of to get me to stay. It’s not that we want them to leave, but we need to make them leave. I told my oldest, “you can stay home as long as you’re going to school. If you’re not going to school you need to work and pay rent.”

She like, “Dad, will you please unlock the door now? I want to unpack my stuff into my dorm.” We have to help them leave or they end up like Will Ferrel and John C. Riley in Step Brothers. But we need to make some memories with them and get closer to them before they leave.

When you and your family, or you and your friends, enjoy those experiences together, the adventures, the meals, the challenges and the even the things that go exactly the way you planned and hoped they would. Experiencing that together will bring you closer to one another.

As I said, this is especially true with Disney and Universal. Something about those parks really brings out the child in all of us. Which is why you can take adult trips to Disney after your kids leave for college.

Travel Makes you Happier

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What happens when you have more fun, curate a collection of memorable experiences, grow more patient, gain more intelligence, learn how to enjoy life more, improve your stress management skills, and grow closer to the ones you love?

You get happier.

What could be a better quality of life than amazing experiences, expanded literal and figurative horizons, more fun, less stress, and better relationships?

Travel helps you gain more of those things and those things make you happier.

Where Do You Want to Go?

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Next on The Travel Wizard: 10 Reasons Why Ocean Cruisers Will Love River Cruising.
Previously on The Travel Wizard: Important Takeaways from the Coronavirus Pandemic.

References

[1] 7 Reasons Why Spending Money on Experiences Makes Us Happier Than Buying Stuff

[2] How traveling makes you more open-minded