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Dec 1, 2021

Make a New Year’s Resolution to Travel More

Libby Zay

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As we approach New Year’s resolution season, here’s an idea sure to keep you happier and healthier all year long: Resolve to use your vacation days in 2022.

It’s true: American workers regularly use only about half of their eligible vacation time. But a whole host of research shows how vacations are good for physical and mental health. In fact, even the act of planning a trip can boost your happiness.

Next year, challenge yourself to use your vacation time to the fullest. Here are a few reasons why taking advantage of your well-earned paid time off makes for a fulfilling—and achievable—New Year’s resolution.

Vacation makes you healthier.

Taking a vacation has scientifically documented health benefits for both your mind and body. Travel has been shown to decrease depression, and one study found that after returning home, travelers felt well-rested, less anxious, and happier—and that these benefits lasted for weeks after their trips ended.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that people who travel annually are less likely to develop heart disease than those who do not take breaks from work. When we travel, we tend to be more active, and if you’re trying to step up your fitness regime, booking a trip that involves a physical challenge like diving, biking, or kayaking is a great motivator to get or stay in shape.

Vacation helps you try new things.

When we travel, we experience new places and activities, and by extension, we introduce ourselves to new concepts and ideas. Research has shown that people who travel and study abroad tend to be more culturally aware, emotionally stable, and open to different viewpoints.

Travel is great for personal growth, but it also helps keep your mind sharp. As you adapt to new situations, you are increasing your cognitive flexibility, which promotes brain health and builds brain resilience. This increase in mental stimulation could help delay the onset of degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Proof that travel keeps us active and engaged in beneficial ways.

Vacation makes you more creative and productive.

Taking time off also helps you boost morale and productivity at work. A break from your job can help keep your stress levels in check, sharpening your thinking and increasing creativity. Recharging your batteries could be key to avoiding burnout.

Will you come home to a backlog of work after vacation? Maybe. But you’ll be able to tackle your inbox and projects with more gusto after being able to relax on your vacation. And the benefits outside of work are also clear: You may find yourself being more available in your relationships and more able to enjoy life after your return home.

Vacation makes you happier and more mindful.

The joy you experience from a vacation outlasts the trip itself. Multiple studies have found that vacations provide more enduring happiness than acquiring material possessions and that people feel like their money is better spent on experiences. Planning a trip also proves to be rewarding. In one study, 97% of Americans said that just having a trip to look forward to makes them happier.

Also contributing to our happiness is the fact that when we travel, we inherently practice mindfulness. We live in the present and devote our full attention to our experiences. We slow down and pay attention to the new sights, sounds, and smells around us, and we feel fully engaged and present. Another reason why travel should be at the top of your self-care list!

Vacation helps you create lasting memories.

Long after you return home, you’ll find yourself thinking back on the memories you created while on vacation. As you see new things and have new experiences outside of your day-to-day life, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime. If you’re traveling with family or friends, you’ll also be present with them and be able to bond in new ways. You’ll be able to share stories and photos from your trips for years to come. Travel truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Research shows that more than half of people who set New Year’s resolutions fail to commit to them past the six-month mark. Get a jump start on your travel resolution—and access to the same travel deals and support you’ve come to expect for business trips—when you book your personal travel using TripActions Lemonade.

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