I have been in such a funk recently.
I need a vacation! I don’t necessarily need an exotic locale, I’m really just itching for break from the day to day routine.
I told my husband when we got married that I was the kind of person who needs to travel. It has always been a priority in my life. Yes, I know that everyone likes a vacation, that goes without saying, but the need to explore runs deep for me.
Maybe its my military upbringing, maybe I “inherited” it from my parents who travel more than anyone I know, maybe it is a result of the books I read and they places they take me in my head…who really knows.
Either way, I find myself getting anxious when I haven’t been somewhere “new” in a long time.
Often this desire can be satiated by a quick day trip somewhere fun, somewhere we can drive to easily, yet feels “different” from home. Other times I feel the urge to just go off the grid completely, away from text messages, work e-mail, phone calls, television…although that is getting harder and harder to do these days with wifi and easy access to your digital life everywhere you go.
It wasn’t that many years ago when visiting my parents in Belgium that I would find myself pretty much MIA from my normal day to day communication with friends and work. With the exception of e-mail, I felt pretty out of touch. (it was refreshing) International calling/texting was expensive, we didn’t all have iPhones (gasp!) and the 6 hour time difference made things tricky.
As soon as the plane landed on my trip home, my phone would beep and ding and there would be everything that I had “missed” while I was away. (Brussels is hardly off the grid, but you get my point)
For me, like many others I’m sure, travel resets my mind. Getting out of my every day routine allows me to recharge and focus on new things. It certainly helps to reduce burn-out and I often come back from trips with a fresh perspective. There is a clear sense of improvement to my overall well-being.
And science backs this up. According to The Global Commission on Aging, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and the U.S. Travel Association:
- Travel improves your mood- 86% of those who travel are satisfied with their outlook on life (compared with 75% who don’t)
- Women who vacation at least twice a year have a significantly lower risk of heart disease
- Men who don’t take annual vacations are shown to have a 20% higher risk of death and a 30% greater risk of death from heart disease
- Travel can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Putting the physical and mental benefits aside, I think that travel just makes you wiser. There is a big, beautiful world out there for us all to see and life is short. Discovering and learning about different cultures, cuisines, people, landscapes…it makes us richer and broadens our knowledge and experience.
Those same rules apply if you’re not 22 😉 Obviously, jobs, kids, finances, and other responsibilities can all make scheduling travel difficult. But don’t feel that you necessarily need to spend a lot of money to go somewhere and “re-set.” There are many types of vacations and adventures to take and various ways to budget for travel.
Scour the internet for tips…Pinterest was made for situations like these! Airlines like JetBlue and Spirit will flood your inbox with discount fares if you sign-up to receive them. I’ve booked many flights to central America for less than $150 round-trip and we recently bought tickets to both Washington D.C. and New York for less than $60 each way. Kevin even managed to find last minute tickets to Hawaii for $350 round-trip per person a few weeks ago. (I tried so hard to make it happen but we couldn’t swing the extra days off with everything we’re trying to do this year)
There are plenty of deals out there- you just have to find them. There are more hotel discount websites than you can shake a stick at, not to mention the deals you can get on Airbnb.
Timing is often key- travel during the off-season can be very cost-effective. I would usually visit my parents in Europe in the fall and early spring as summer flights were almost twice as expensive. Try to be as flexible as your situation allows.
Also worth mentioning is that planning ahead isn’t always necessary. Some of our best trips/cheapest flights have been booked at the last minute through specials/promotions from airlines and hotel chains. (hello long weekend trip to San Francisco and the Napa Valley)
Groupon is another great resource for travel, especially when looking for something all inclusive. (i.e. flight/hotel/transportation).
I’ve been planning some short trips for us this year to help alleviate my travel funk from setting in. And having a trip to look forward to has already helped! 🙂