The link between travel and happiness

April 8, 2021

Many of us love to travel whether it is to have an adventure, get in touch with yourself, learn something new, relax and rejuvenate or visit family and friends. In fact, one of Monterey County’s most famous residents, John Steinbeck, took a road trip around the U.S. in the 1960s and documented it in his book Travels with Charley. There is a link between travelling and happiness. A study from Washington State University found that frequent travelers reported being 7 percent happier when asked about their overall well-being than those who reported not travelling at all.

Right now, travel is not something that is easy (or safe) to do. It has been a little over a year since COVID-19 spread throughout the world, forcing a number of travel restrictions designed to curtail the spread of the virus and keep us safe. As we work tirelessly to make sure that everyone receives the COVID-19 vaccine, what can we do as we wait for the new normal?

1. Look in your own backyard

See Monterey says it best, “There’s no shortage of amazing photo ops in Monterey County ranging from epic rocky coastal vistas to vineyard laden valley views.” Monterey County is a tourism destination, including plenty of outdoor locations, making it safer and easier to practice social distancing. Explore locally and visit a new place!

2. Plan your next adventure

“Planning and anticipating a trip can be almost as enjoyable as going on the trip itself, and there’s research to back it up,” says a recent article from National Geographic which cites several studies looking at how the act of planning a trip can boost our mood. Explore the possibilities! Plan a vague itinerary including where to go and what to do, without picking a specific time to avoid getting too attached.

3. Try “armchair travel”

In the absence of travelers, popular global tourism destinations have turned to digital and virtual reality (VR) technology to bring these destinations into our homes. If you are looking for some ideas of places to escape to from your home, Smithsonian magazine is a good place to start. They have compiled a collection of books, digital and VR experiences that can help you escape or give you ideas of places to explore sometime in the future.

This year, Aspire Health Plan wants you to “Choose Happy” because “Healthy Starts with Happy.” We will continue to share activities and content showing how happiness can lead to better overall health. Follow along on our blog and social media pages (FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn) and share your journey with us using the hashtag #AspireChooseHappy.

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