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3 Reasons Why Planning a Trip Can Boost Our Mental Health

“Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life’’ — Michael Palin.

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Looking forward to a holiday has a positive affect on an individual’s mental health, researchers at the University of Surrey found. Findings indicated positive changes on family, economic situation and health – the three main areas of people’s mental well-being. Therefore, even if we can’t travel now, it does not necessarily mean we cannot plan the next trip and level up our sense of well-being now, during the world pandemic. 

1. Extended Pleasure 

Scientists argue that experiential purchases tend to bring more happiness than material ones. Studies exploring the topic of anticipatory consumption show that waiting for an actual experience to happen tend to be more exciting and pleasurable. It means that the whole process that takes place before the actual trip like searching for flights, hotels, local restaurants and other attractions can be as enjoyable as the trip itself. 

2. Shopping (for) Experience

Think of yourself – how many times have you been telling your friends about a material purchase rather than that unforgettable experience you had during your last holidays? Adventures, unexpected situations often put people out of their comforts zone but at the same time brings  a lot of joy. Also, experiences connect people on an emotional level, facilitate to the enhancement of our social relationships and enrich our daily lives. 

3. Defined Start and End Date

When we know that our upcoming trip is temporary, our minds tend to enjoy that fact even before the actual trip starts, according to the Assistant Professor Amit Kumar at the University of Texas. Most of people do not have an endless limit of days for annual leave, therefore we should start enjoying the forthcoming trip during the planning and execution stage. The conclusion? More frequent but shorter trips have more chances to boost our mental health. 

We Will Travel Again

It is not a secret that before the global pandemic we have travelled extensively. It is hard to change human habits and the pandemic is likely to only temporarily alter how often we travel. In the past 10 years tourism saw a tremendous growth therefore it is likely that 1 or 2 years will not change our craving for experiences abroad. 

While staying emotionally steady during these challenging times can sometimes be hard, planning a trip can be both a calming experience and something to look forward to. When we start planning and visualising ourselves travelling, we are already there. It is in our nature — as human beings psychologically we tend to spend a considerable amount of time thinking about the/our future. We can make ourselves happy even during a global pandemic. So let’s plan the next trip now and hit the road once it is safe to do so! 

Sources: 

Gilbert, D. and Abdullah, J. (2002). A study of the impact of the expectation of a holiday on an individual’s sense of well-being. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 8(4), p.352-361.

Kumar, A., Killingsworth, M. A., and Gilovich, T. (2014). Waiting for Merlot: Anticipatory Consumption of Experiential and Material Purchases. Psychological Science, 25(10), p.1924-1931.

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