Start planning your next trip to improve your mental health

You know that feeling, the travel itch. At this stage the last time you travelled overseas may feel like it is becoming a distant memory – so you’re probably waiting anxiously to get on your next one. If this pandemic has taught us anything about travel, I think Hans Christian Andersen was spot on when he said: “To travel is to live”. This quote goes hand-in-hand with Ormina Tours mission to celebrate life through travel.

Italy, Tuscany, road

Tuscany, Italy

So, while we may not be able to adventure to new worlds and cultures right now, that doesn’t mean planning your next trip is cancelled too. In fact, research has shown that planning your next holiday can benefit your mental health. 
Previously we have written about how the act of traveling is great for your productivity, physical and mental wellbeing, as well as other lifestyle factors (read more here). But how about the act of planning a trip? 

Planning travel for a positive mindset

While many of us imagine the best part of our holiday to be the moment we arrive, sipping wine and tasting local foods in the ambiance of a spectacular sunset, but in reality research shows that the happiest part of your holiday experience happens before you even step foot on the plane! 
One study undertaken by nearly 1000 Dutch vacationers found that happiness peaked during the planning and research stage of the holiday due to anticipation.

“The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip,” Jeroen Nawijn, the study’s lead author, told The New York Times.

Other research studies have also backed these claims, showing that anticipating holidaymakers are happier with their family, economic situation and health, than their non-holidaying peers (University of Surrey, 2002). And especially that we derive more value in anticipating purchases of experiences rather than material purchases (Cornell University, 2014).

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Another study undertaken by TripAdvisor showed that excitement levels peak during the ‘booking’ stage, where travellers are busy researching and anticipating their upcoming trip (see image below).

A TripAdvisor study identifies that ‘excitement’ is at it’s peak during the travel planning stage

Unsurprisingly, research has also shown that a person who looks forward to their trip with a “can’t wait” mentality will derive more happiness in anticipating their holiday than a anxious person who fears the vacation won’t go well. So, if you think that getting too excited about your trip beforehand means that you will enjoy the actual trip less, then think again.
One of Cornell University’s research authors pointed to the fact that “As humans, we spend a lot of our mental lives living in the future,” says Killingsworth, whose work centres on understanding the nature and causes of human happiness. “Our future-mindedness can be a source of joy if we know good things are coming, and travel is an especially good thing to have to look forward to.”
In fact, Dutch research Nawijn also suggested that in order to maximise the happiness boost derived from planning your next trip, you should fully indulging in the excitement;talk to your friends, family and co-workers about your plans, brag about them on social media, and revel in both the anticipation and FOMO you’re causing. 

 Tips for planning during a pandemic

  • Find inspiration: There are plenty of travel blogs, books and videos out there to start inspiring you for your next trip. Chat with family and friends about their last trip and evoke a happiness of nostalgia in them too. 
  • Create a dream board: whether it’s a Pinterest board online, or perhaps an old school magazine/brochure but and paste inspiration board, start putting your dreams in one place.  
  • Get into the nitty gritty: Now that you’ve got the time, you can start researching some of the details of what you might want to do on your next holiday. What are the best restaurants in town? How will you travel between cities? Where are the hidden gems that you might have otherwise missed?  
  • Start Planning now: Why not get started?  As much as you miss travelling, we miss planning trips for our clients.  Let us do what we do best and start planning every detail of your next holiday so you are ready when the borders open.   
  • Download our free savings guide: Plan your trip and save now! Download our free savings guide to help you set aside some money for your next special holiday. Download it here now.

See more of our blogs for some details and inspiration.