Last updated: 06:00 AM ET, Fri July 03 2015

Opinion Home | Every Journey Tells a Story

  • Jackie DiBiase | July 3, 2015 6:00 AM ET

    Vacation: Because It's Good for Your Health

    Vacation: Because It's Good for Your Health

    Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

    There’s no question that traveling the world can be a lot of fun, opening us up to new places, people, cultures, traditions, foods and so much more. In recent years, science has also weighed in on the health benefits of travel with a handful of studies.

    For instance, in 2013, the Global Commission on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, released findings that stated after only a day or two of travel, nearly 90 percent of people witnessed significant drops in stress. Similarly, happiness expert Shawn Achor and Monograms, a travel company that sells all-in-one vacation packages, conducted a Road to Happiness Study that found when traveling (without stress), 93 percent of people enjoyed more energy after returning home.

    But, let’s be honest. Do we really need science to tell us what we already feel intuitively? Vacations are awesome! 

    In my own experience, I have found vacations give me:

    A fresh look at life

    It’s easy to get caught up in the everyday life stresses. Whether we’re dealing with financial concerns, worrying about the health of a family member or juggling complexities of interpersonal relationships, at times, it can feel like the walls are closing in. 

    When we step away from it all and take what I call a grown-up “time out” to hike the cliffs of Machu Picchu, watch locals stroll by at a Parisian café, sail down the Rhine River or just sit on a beach, we come back with a different perspective. The world is a big place. Our worries are (often) temporary. And no matter what we’re going through, life is a gift.

    A burst of ingenuity and creativity

    The June 2015 cover of Time Magazine read, “Who Killed Summer Vacation?” In this feature article, we’re invited to read about a nationwide epidemic: Americans aren’t taking vacation time and work is to blame. 

    I get it. It’s hard to get away and even more difficult to unplug. It’s also imperative. 

    Case-in-point: Other countries that mandate vacation time are more productive. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, countries like Norway and Switzerland – countries that guarantee workers 29 and 28 days off per year, respectively – are ahead of the U.S. in terms of GDP per capita. 

    This is a stat that makes sense to me. I know that when I return from a vacation, I can more easily discover solutions to problems, I get excited about upcoming projects and overall, I simply feel renewed which, in turn, makes me produce better, more creative work.

    Heightened awareness and understanding of the world

    We all spent the requisite 12 years in school, learning about history, people and places. Some of us spent a lot more time in college classrooms digging deeper. Unfortunately, no lecture, book or PowerPoint presentation can help us truly understand the world – or its history – like living it, walking in the footsteps of those who came before us. 

    Whether you need science as an excuse, or you just plain feel like enhancing your life, it’s (really, really) important to make time for vacations.


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Jackie DiBiase Every Journey Tells a Story

Jackie DiBiase Growing up in Colorado instilled a longing for adventure in Jackie DiBiase, so it seemed like a natural fit when she found herself with a career in the travel industry. After graduating from Loyola Marymount University where she studied Communications, Public Relations and Journalism, her journey has taken her to a position where she is able to combine her passions: travel, writing and social media.
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