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6 Reasons Travel Makes You Happy

Everyone loves to go on a vacation. Who doesn’t want time away from work and responsibilities, just relaxing and soaking in the sun. But does traveling go a step further and make us truly more content with our life? I certainly believe so, and have experienced this effect first hand. Here are my 6 reasons travel makes you happy.

1. Challenges us to get out of our comfort zone.

Nothing boosts self confidence and fosters inner strength like travel. Regardless of where you go, challenges will be encountered in all forms. Whether you are trying to communicate in a different language or simply find your missing bags, those moments are pushing you out of your comfort zone and into the unfamiliar. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.

Those are the moments we grow, and from that growth we gain a sense of incredible self-worth which in turn makes us happy. Joyful even. Happiness might not be immediate, especially if you are still wearing the same underwear as the day you arrive, but it will come. Feeling will be sustained, not fleeting.

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2. Experiences bring more happiness than possessions.

This could not be more true. As Americans, we are a very consumer focused people but the secret to being happy isn’t within our stuff. Happiness comes from our experiences that we create, connections that we make and memories that we keep. As a parent, I find it hard not to give in to requests for cute toys and pretty dresses. I constantly have to remind myself that toys break and clothes wear out, but a day together exploring gets filed away forever.

When I look at an expense, I equate that to how many plane tickets to Italy could a buy. I drive a 13 year old Toyota (lovingly called the shit mobile) because I would rather DO a million other things than DRIVE a nice new car.

Studies show that people who spend their money on travel and experiences really are more happy, even though travel is a brief moment in time and tangible material objects can last for an extended amount of time.

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3. Detox from social media.

My 14 year old daughter thinks I am the worst mom on the planet because she has to wait until she is 16 to get a smart phone. When her friends come over for the night, everyone checks their phones upstairs with me. I do this because social media is addictive and it detracts from moments of connection with other people. I’m no saint, I’m guilty too.

Traveling forces you off your screens and makes you interact with the world around you. Aside from photos and quick updates in the evening when I have WiFi, I’m fully engaged with the world and I love it. Travel detox makes you aware of how much we are missing back home; conversations, sunsets and simple downtime to daydream. Less screen time also means less exposure to media that brings us down, makes us feel insufficient and lacking. No more comparing to others on social media and feeling like we are falling short. You don’t have time for jealously or a pity party on the road.

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4. Learning makes our brains more active.

Travel stimulates us on several levels, but one of the most exciting ways is what it does to our brains. When we are challenged, are brains kick into overtime and that activity increases our level of happiness.

There is a science behind the happiness. As humans, we have a natural desire to learn. Our brains like to solve puzzles and to work things out, whether that is a new language or a cooking class. When our brains are focused and highly engaged cognitively on a task, and we figure things out a chemical called dopamine is released. Boom. Happy.

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5. Breaking away from your routine.

I love change, but I realize not everyone does. Change can be a hard thing to do and can cause anxiety. My manta is if it scares you, you’re doing it right and that is what I tell everyone. While your routine is safe and reliable, it could be the source of the slow death of your personal happiness.

Traveling is the easiest way to turn routines on their head, and you don’t need to go book a trip deep into the Amazon to shake things up. Simple steps work as well. Start exploring the area around your home town on the weekends, leave early before you are tempted by the usual weekend routine. Even easy moments, like taking your breakfast and coffee outside while the sun rises, will give you bursts of happiness.

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6. Appreciate who and what you have in your life.

Nothing makes you more cognizant of what matters in life like traveling. Being gone, exploring the world is amazing but it also helps to bring perspective back into your life. Suddenly, your parents aren’t so dull and that coffee shop really is comforting. The reality of good health, a safe home and loving people in your life starts to sink in as you encounter situations that are often the opposite.

Until I traveled and saw poverty first in front of my eyes, I didn’t truly understand what a great life I had. Not until I held children starving for love did I realize my parents weren’t half bad after all. Travel changed me, made me see the big picture and appreciate what I had. That appreciation made me joyful, pushing out resentment towards or longing for what I didn’t have.

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Happiness can be gained in so many ways, but the happiness you take in with travel is a deeper and truer feeling; a contentment. The memories, feelings and experiences are stored away forever in our memories; we can tap into them at any time and any moment. That kind of happy is priceless and worth the ticket.

Who we are:

Once in a Lifetime Travel is a passionately run company focused on mindful and fearless travel through authentic experiences and connections. We feature small, fully

guided group tours to Italy for women

. Our

Italian travel consultant

services feature focused itinerary reviews and detailed

Italy travel planning.

Go Travel, and Travel Fearless.

Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel

©copyright 2017

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About the author: Andi Brown

I am passionate about helping people create vacations that are perfect for them through personalized travel planning, itinerary review and small experience focused tours. My services put an emphasis on the experience of Italy, getting my clients away from the tourist crowds and into the heart and soul of the people. I believe in working with family run businesses at great locations with attention to the details. If you can dream it I can make it happen.

6 comments to “6 Reasons Travel Makes You Happy”

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  1. Karen Schindel - 2017-04-13 at 5:42 pm Reply

    You had me chuckling…and identifying with “Happiness might not be immediate, especially if you are still wearing the same underwear as the day you arrive”.

    As an introvert I find many of these points difficult aspects of travel…but it still draws me. We do it slow, long term so the kids and I can get a little settled feeling and get into a new routine, knowing our surroundings better and feeling more grounded. But then we’re off again….because travel makes us happy.

  2. Kayla Floyd - 2017-04-14 at 3:40 pm Reply

    The underwear thing had me laughing too! I loved all your points, and #6 resonated for me, but in terms of perspective in general. It wasn’t until our family spent a year slow-traveling that we realized how much we actually wanted a home base. We still travel a month at a time here and there, but now we have a home to come back to that is all ours. We wouldn’t have known that about our preferences if we hadn’t taken the leap, sold everything we owned and tried something new!

  3. Kelly Pulse - 2017-04-18 at 7:19 pm Reply

    It is absolutely true that you remember experiences over possessions. Some of my fondest memories are those of traveling with my loved ones…and also traveling alone. Sometimes you need to regroup and recharge. It’s also very accurate to say that it helps you to appreciate the life you are living and your family. Well said.

  4. Hilary - 2017-04-19 at 12:12 pm Reply

    All of these things are so true! I was shown how travel can make such a difference in your life and bring you out of your shell by Andi and Once in a Lifetime Travel. I have enjoyed learning new things, meeting amazing people and having wonderful adventures. I experienced getting out of my comfort zone and exploring on my own which I never would have done without Andi’s encouragement. I am already saving for my next trip whenever I can make it happen! My children have watched me travel and now have the “travel bug” which makes me excited for them. I am still smiling from my trip last year with all the great memories, pictures and new people that I met. These things are so much better for my mind and my heath to recharge!

  5. Patti Piper - 2017-04-19 at 12:56 pm Reply

    All points are integral to my love of travel. Point #6 happens over and over in freshness and gratitude for all that my life is about. We are all unique beings on this planet Earth; travel both emphasizes our differences and the fact that each of us has more common ground with others than can be imagined.
    Great, great article!

  6. Jo - 2017-04-19 at 8:31 pm Reply

    Argh these things are all so true and it makes me crave being on the road again soooo badly! I really need to pay attention to them and figure out how to implement them in my day to day life until I can get there so that being stationary doesn’t have to feel like standing still.

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