5 Scientifically-Proven Health Benefits of Traveling Abroad

by Jeanne
Young woman on train in Osaka health benefits of traveling abroad

Growing up in Canada, most of my friends had passports and traveled regularly. When I moved to Virginia, only two of my closest 10 coworkers at a travel insurance company had a passport (Josh was among those who didn’t!). Many of them had never left the state. Apparently, Americans are among the least likely to venture overseas. Sadly, they are missing out on the emotional, physical, and mental health benefits of traveling abroad.

Of course, if you’re familiar with this site, you’ll know that we want to take this a step further. Not only do we plan to travel abroad once the pandemic is under control, but we want to relocate entirely. We’ve got our eyes set on Japan, and we know many people who are either looking or have already moved overseas. The Earth is a big place — and we hope to see as much of it as we can!

Travel Makes Us Happy 

A study from Cornell University showed that travelers felt more rested, less anxious, and happier three days after returning from vacation. Even planning for a trip boosted moods more than buying physical possessions.

Travel Improves Health

According to a joint study in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, women who vacation at least twice a year are significantly less likely to suffer a heart attack than those who only travel every six years. Meanwhile, men who don’t travel annually show a 30 percent greater risk of heart disease and a 20 percent higher risk of death. 

Travel Relieves Stress

As someone with anxiety and OCD, I can attest to the stress that can come from traveling. That being said, it’s usually related to specific things (missing a flight, exposure to illness). Overall, though, I love to get out and see the world and can attest to the health benefits of traveling abroad. Apparently, we’re not alone because this study showed that most travelers feel rejuvenated, and the benefits can linger for weeks!

Travel Helps Depression

Millions of people struggle with depression every single day. It’s not a topic we should avoid — we need to normalize the importance of mental health. While it may not be a “cure,” one study shows that women who traveled at least twice a year were less likely to suffer from depression. They also reported fewer periods of chronic stress when compared to women who vacationed less than every two years. 

Travel Boosts Creativity

When we do something new, it’s no surprise that it gets our creative juices flowing. According to Adam Galinsky, a professor at the Columbia Business School, “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms.” Galinsky has authored studies to explore how international travel boosts creativity. 

Traveling abroad can improve our mental, physical, and emotional well-being. We want to see how living abroad can change our lives as well.