With the spread of the Corona epidemic, now may not be the time for leisure travel. But this does not mean that travel planning is canceled either. According to the researchers, looking forward to your next adventure may benefit your mental health, even if you are not sure when that adventure will take place.
Planning for the holiday in 2021 may be exactly what you need to fix what happened during 2020. Knowing that planning a trip has more positive consequences for your well-being and happiness than making the trip itself.
Clinical psychologist and author Alice Boyz says: While travel can be a trigger for anxiety, especially in the COVID-19 era, trip planning can be soothing. Thus, if you are anxious by nature, planning the trip can give you a sense of comfort and reduce anxiety.
Why are we happy to plan trips?
Professor Amit Kumar, co-author of a 2014 Cornell University study entitled How an experience like taking a trip can greatly increase a person’s happiness, says having something to look forward to like taking a trip shows measurable health benefits. In addition to the social benefits, arranging a trip makes us tell others about our plans and what we would like to do during this trip.
And he adds – in his speech to the British Telegraph website – that discussing travel creates more social value than other conversation topics such as buying and selling, and this is very important to our mental and even physical health. Especially the present time where epidemiologists believe that a lack of social support can be just as dangerous as smoking.
Study co-author Matthew Keelingsworth says trip planning encourages an optimistic outlook, as humans, we spend much of our mental lives living tomorrow. So our thinking about the future can be a source of joy if we know that there are good things to come, and travel is a very good thing that we should look forward to and plan for.
Another reason why travel planning is a source of happiness is that we know enough about the trip to envision it, the journey actually begins and we enjoy it in our minds even before it starts. For example, when we imagine eating “gelato” in Rome or going skiing with friends, we are experiencing the events of the trip that we had planned in our imagination and this makes us happy.
Do you have to cancel your trip before it starts?
According to a study published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, simply planning or anticipating your trip can make you happier than actually doing it. “Happiness,” Kumar says, is to plan your trip and then cancel it, but why?
The study found that at a time when vacationers are happy before the trip, not everyone gets the same state of satisfaction after the vacation ends. Those who were “comfortable” vacation were only those who experienced an increase in the feeling of happiness after the vacation. For those who had a “stressful” or “neutral” vacation, researchers noted that their levels of happiness after the flight were similar to those who did not take leave at all.
Despite this, the study found that all vacationers experienced a significant increase in happiness during the planning stages of the trip because they were looking forward to the good times ahead.
Jeroen Nawen, lead author of the study, tells the New York Times Nytimes, the practical lesson for an individual is that he derives most of his happiness from anticipating a vacation trip, so it’s not surprising, according to a Travel Secrets survey, that 69 percent of Americans have a habit of planning holidays during work hours. Most need to escape from their daily routine.
But why aren’t we as happy making the trip as we are planning it?
According to Jessica de Bloom, of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, planning a trip boosts your health, but the start of the vacation can be spoiled by physical exhaustion.
Plum tells the Telegraph that physical complaints during the first few days of any flight are widespread, and it’s a real problem for many people who suffer from high blood pressure, lack of sleep, bad mood, migraines and more.
She adds that the physical problems may be caused by the stress of preparing for the trip and making the trip itself. However, after a few days, levels of health and well-being rise very quickly, reaching a steady level for a few days. After that, happiness levels begin to decline and return to pre-vacation levels.
And Bloom believes that on a long vacation, well-being peaks on the eighth day, but no matter how long the flight is, it is usual for levels of happiness and well-being to drop again, as people start ruminating about work, checking e-mail, and thinking about cleaning up the rental property or whatever else.