mental health benefits of travel

I didn’t realize the extent to which travel benefits my life until the recent pandemic when leisure travel was virtually impossible. For those of us who love to travel it was torturous.

Wanderlust meaning: a strong desire to travel the world and when you have it is undeniable, and quite hard to shake! I like to say I suffer from chronic wanderlust, and I’m not ashamed!

How to cure chronic wanderlust? We travel! But what happens when we have a ragging case of wanderlust but for one reason or another can’t travel?

Can’t travel? plan travel!

Got that travel itch and wondering what to do when you can’t travel?

Since I was stuck at home I took the opportunity to plan future trips and honestly, the act of planning future travel was a sanity saver for me.

Even if you can’t travel, and may never take that trip, there are a number of reasons why planning travel is good for you, and why you should plan it anyway.

*Disclosure:This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.

There are are many reason’s why we can’t travel: health issues, financial reasons, work and family obligations etc.

Can't travel? plan travel! dreaming and planing go hand in hand.
Can’t travel? plan travel! dreaming and planing go hand in hand.

Here are 6 very good reason’s why you should still be planning travel even when you can’t travel:


(1) Distraction from the stressors of life

Trip planning is an amazing and wonderful distraction from the constant stressors of the modern world. When I open a travel book, or start working on an itinerary, I literally lose track of hours. It isn’t uncommon for me to start planning a trip, and come up for air hours later, wondering what day it is! I’m focused on my next great adventure, not worried about life’s little, or big, problems. It is a literal escape from reality. Think of it as a getaway for your mind, heart and soul. Odds are, your body will be able to follow soon enough.

Can't travel? plan travel! dreaming and planing go hand in hand.
Can’t travel? plan travel! dreaming and planing go hand in hand.

(2) Trip planning is good for your mental health.

This article from National Geographic explains the mental health benefits of the simple act of planning travel: (even if you can’t travel right now!) 

“Looking ahead to your next adventure could benefit your mental health. Even if you’re not sure when that adventure will be. Some psychologists tout the mental benefits of vacationing somewhere new. One 2013 survey linked travel to enhanced empathy, attention, energy, and focus. Other research suggests that the act of adapting to foreign cultures may also facilitate creativity. But what about the act of planning a trip? Can we get a mental health boost from travel before we even leave home?”

Scientists talk travel

The article goes on to further explain:

“Planning and anticipating a trip can be almost as enjoyable as going on the trip itself, and there’s research to back it up. A 2014 Cornell University study delved into how the anticipation of an experience (like a trip) can increase a person’s happiness substantially—much more so than the anticipation of buying material goods. An earlier study, published by the University of Surrey in 2002, found that people are at their happiest when they have a holiday planned.

Amit Kumar, one of the co-authors of the Cornell study, explains that the benefits are less about obsessing over the finer points of an itinerary than they are about connecting with other people. One reason? Travellers “end up talking to people more about their experiences than they talk about material purchases,” he says. “Compared to possessions, experiences make for better story material.”

Don’t forget to reminisce about past trips! No work necessary, simply remember and enjoy! 

mental health benefits of travel
travel planning is proven to improve mental health

(3) get a jump start for when you finally get to go! 

Maybe you can’t travel right now, but if you are truly motivated at some point you will! Epic trips, like the ones I plan, take a lot of time to plan. it is NEVER too early to start planning! I start planning as early as possible. I ALWAYS have my feelers out.

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc. are all great planning tools and you can start getting inspiration today

As soon as you know where you want to go, start following related pages and groups on social media for inspiration. Here is where you will see that Instagram worthy photo of something that is a must see or do. For example, I follow “York England” “Discover Tasmania” “Fiji” “Visit Barbados” and MANY more. See my tips for planning your dream vacation here.

Another benefit to getting an early start: I find that rates on hotels, flights, and rental cars are better if you can book several months out. But don’t try to book too early. Most hotels only publish availability too far out. I would say you can start looking at 6 months out, book a room with a generous cancellation policy and then recheck rates periodically. 

Airlines normally publish flights just short of a year out but I wouldn’t buy that early. They intend to take advantage of over planners. Prices will go down at a later time. Check out this article on when to book from Scott’s Cheap flights and while your there sign up for their free email list. They’ll send you the best deals on airfare from the top airlines!

(4) It’s fun! 

Travel planning can be a lot of fun! 

Virtual tours are a fun way to get to know your dream destination. Many museums and attractions have been offering virtual tours, especially since things were closed down because of the pandemic. So, check out the websites of those places you’ve been dreaming of. 

Europe is normally my destination of choice. Rick Steves has some very good videos on his website. 

travel movies and shows

I’m kind of obsessed with Ireland (I know, you thought I was going to say Germany!) and so I LOVE a good movie that’s based in Ireland. This is a great way to get into the travel planning spirit. If something comes across the screen that you simply MUST see you can usually find the filming location on the web. Poldark is a British historical drama with some really amazing coastal views, and it’s how Cornwall England ended up on my bucket list! 

(5) Expand your mind

What is international travel? it’s flying to another country. During your planning you’ll learn lots of new things about a place and people that interest you.

When you plan travel you learn about new places, people and cultures, which can be exciting and increase your greater knowledge of the world.

(6) you may inspire yourself to take action! 

I love Europe but much to my disappointment, it’s a long distance relationship! Doing all of this dreaming about Germany, Ireland, Romania and all of the wonderful places on my wish list is what actually made up my mind to find a way to get to those places. 

I chose Germany first, because it is the home of my childhood, the home of my heart. When I actually started the planning process and began to learn about the places I wanted to see it inspired me to get there, one way or the other! 

As you go through the planning process you may be inspired to take your plans from dream to reality.

dreams become goals, goals lead to planning, planning leads to reality! make your dreams a reality!

Can’t travel…no problem!

Trip planning had many benefits and I hope you now have some ideas for what to do when you can not travel. Is there a certain special spot that you’ve added to your bucket list? what are you waiting for? dig in and start planning! 

Travel Planning Resources

Are you looking for some travel planning resources? I’m here to help! These are my best travel tips travel advice.

paying for your dream vacation

First things first! How are you going to pay for that trip? let’s talk about how to fund that dream trip. Travel Credit Cards can help pay for rental cars, hotels AND FREE FLIGHTS! If Budget travel is your kind of travel you have to check out this article on how you can fly for free. We have earned a total of 10 free flights to Europe. Interested in how? Learn how we earn free fights with points here. (credit card can be paid in full monthly, no need to carry a balance or pay interest!) 

planning your dream vacation

Are you considering travel to Europe? Look no further than here for the absolute best books on planning travel to Europe can be found right here

Planning a trip with friends for family members? I’ve got some tips on How to plan a trip with friends and family the easy way! 

learn the language

Don’t speak the language? no problem! 7 Easy ways to learn a language for travel

travel insurance

Protect your investment with “cancel for any reason” travel insurance. Shop Travel Insurance Payouts and protect yourself from dozens of unforeseen circumstances, including pandemics! They have a feature where you can search “cancel for any reason” policies. Can’t travel, no problem! 

travel resources

see my travel resources page for my best tools for booking rental cars, hotels and more! 

COVID put a halt to our leisure travel but we managed to get in some fun travel during the pandemic:

benefits of TRAVELING

Travelers rejoice, there are also benefits TO traveling! Here are 10 benefits to traveling that might surprise you! What about that inevitable funk you feel after your big trip? Why you feel depressed after travelling and what you can do about it. 

cant travel? no worries you can plan travel instead!

covid travel travel planning during the pandemic collage 2

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