When you return from a vacation feeling relaxed and refreshed, that’s not just an emotional response to time away from work and daily worries: you’re experiencing some of the nourishing effects of traveling. It turns out that jetting off to relax on the beach in Turks and Caicos or to explore ruins in Tulum isn’t an indulgence — research says that vacationing is actually good for your health.
Forbes Travel Guide consulted Dr. Mehmet Oz, who elaborated on how traveling for pleasure affects your well-being. He says that:
- Taking vacations can lower men’s risk of death by 21 percent and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent
- Among women, a lack of vacation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease
- Women who go on trips more frequently are less likely to become tense, depressed or tired and are happier with their marriages
- Vacationing improves your mood and reduces stress. It also can temporarily help boost productivity
- People who travel more frequently are more satisfied with their physical health and well-being
- Vacationing can increase creativity
Yet, despite all of these benefits, Americans are not taking full advantage. According to the 2018 State of American Vacation survey from the U.S. Travel Association’s Project Time Off, 52 percent of Americans had unused vacation days at the end of 2017. The average worker uses only eight of his or her 17.2 vacation days for travel, the study says.