Navigation Menu

Staying healthy when stressed can be overwhelming. From family and work issues to commuting, daily chores, illnesses, home maintenance and plenty of other concerns, the grind of day-to-day life can pick away at your mental well-being.

If you ever feel stuck in life, or tired of your current situation, it’s sometimes best to get away. A vacation may sound at first like you are running from your problems, but the truth is quite the opposite.

For the reasons listed below, you may be surprised at the wonders a good holiday can do for your mental health.

7 Ways Travel Can Improve Your Mental Health

Venice sightseeing


According to studies, the mental health benefits of traveling can be felt even before you walk out the door (if you or someone you know is struggling with mental issues, BetterHelp is a great resource).

The mere anticipation of going on a vacation can dramatically lift your mood, putting you in a very different frame of mind than if you were only looking forward to another long day at the office.

Studies have shown people are at their happiest when they have a vacation planned, because they expect to have a positive experience. The same research also found that having a vacation planned can lead to a more positive outlook on your health, economic situation, and general quality of life.

There is an immense amount of power in having something to look forward to when it comes to balancing your mental health in everyday life.

Enhanced Creativity

Hagia Sophia Istanbul

Creativity also gets a special boost when you go on vacation. Our brains are sensitive to change, so exposure to new environments or experiences while traveling can strengthen your mental health, as it lets you exercise some of your mental muscles that may have lay dormant during periods of relative monotony.

A study reported in The Atlantic found that traveling changes the way your neural pathways connect. New experiences prompt new thoughts, feelings, and even ideas, leading to enhanced creativity.

The result may also include a positive impact on your mental health, as creative activities are known to combat depression.

Control Over Your Life

The level of organization involved with planning a vacation may seem daunting at first, but there are actually benefits to facing these challenges.

Overcoming the challenges of traveling leads to a feeling of independence and a sense of control to your life. Succeeding outside your comfort zone also builds resilience, helping you cope better in all kinds of situations.

Going abroad and achieving personal goals can make simple day-to-day activities back home much easier to handle. Spending time fending for yourself abroad (bargaining at the local market, hailing a taxi in a foreign language) can often lead to positive personal outcomes like greater confidence and freedom of control.

Once you’re home, you may find that the challenges you conquered overseas have improved your overall life satisfaction.

Stress Relief

Things to do in Istanbul

Traveling offers a real escape from the stresses of everyday life.

It has been demonstrated that taking a vacation can decrease work stress and feelings of burnout, by giving you some space and distance from the sources of your daily anxiety.

Even short holidays can contribute to stress relief, giving you a much-needed break and putting you in a more relaxed state. So if you’re constantly frustrated that you don’t have time to get away, maybe reshape your thinking and aim for a short weekend break.

Even if you go for an overnight staycation in your own city, and play tourist for a day, this can significantly alter your mood; it’s all about removing yourself from your daily routine, and a hotel in the city just might do that for you!

Building Relationships

Uluru Megan and Mike

Traveling can also help create new friendships, and if you’re traveling with other people, it can strengthen the relationships you already have.

It can be much easier to approach, meet, and get to know strangers while in a new environment, in part because there are so many things to talk about. Whether through a tour group or a chance encounter, engaging with other tourists or locals can lead to meaningful interactions and friendships.

While traveling alone is always worthwhile, traveling with somebody else can be rewarding in its own way. Seeing a new part of the world is a unique experience, and sharing it with someone can make your bond with them that much stronger.

This effect is not exclusive to traveling with a partner; the same shared experience can be enjoyed with friends or family as well. Traveling lets you get closer to the people you care about most, building self-esteem and well-being as a result.


French woman female traveler RF

This may seem like the most obvious factor, but it should not be overlooked. Simply put: Traveling is fun, and we all need to have fun once in a while!

Exhaustion is a product of uninspiring routines, just as much as it is a product of hard work. Conversely, enjoyable experiences generally lead to a more deeper sense of happiness.

The kind of experiences gained while on a vacation can increase happiness much more than new possessions can.

Lower Costs

Depending on your destination, traveling abroad can also provide you with access to high quality services at a much cheaper price than one would find in Western countries. This includes high-quality hotels and spas where you can relax, refresh, and relieve stress.

Nevertheless, while traveling may improve mental health in many aspects, getting professional help for serious issues is still the best option. You can of course to do both at the same time, but it’s important to understand that travel alone may not solve your problems. 

For a focused approach to mental well-being, special treatment centers overseas can offer world-class services at better rates than are available back home. By attending centers in a foreign country, you can get responsive care in a peaceful new environment, far from the original sources of your stress.

So, if the burdens of life are getting you down, consider treating yourself to an extended break. Life will go on at home, much as it always has – but your body and mind will thank you for getting some much-needed time away.


Journeys of a Lifetime


100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas


World’s Best Travel Experiences

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. Travelling is one the best ways to release your tensions and have a some refreshing time which is necessary for good mental health. I have found this article really wonderful. Great Post !!

    • Yes Roslia Santamaria you are right.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Roslia, thanks for reading!

  2. Hi,
    Great topic and very useful. Travel is the best medicine for mental health. Thanks for sharing this tips.

    • Absolutely Jashon, travel can be a great way to naturally reset yourself :) Glad you enjoyed the post!

  3. Yes, travel can really do wonders to your mental health. Travel is like meditation – you live in the present moment, don’t think about past or future.

    • I love that Renuka, it really is a form of meditation – perfectly phrased!

  4. Mental health is important for a good life. Our brains are sensitive and want to change in daily life to find new environments or experiences for the relaxation. And your article mentioned very good ways to relax the mind and keep the mental health fresh.

    • Absolutely Adzat, it’s really important that we don’t get caught in a rut of monotony, as that’s usually a big mental health trigger. Travel is a great way to refresh and stimulate your brain again :)

  5. Travel is the best way to improve your health. It brings a positive change in thinking. Due to the daily hard work, our mind is bound in this case we need some relaxation. So in this way travel is a resource to improve mental health.

    • We are agreed :D Thanks for reading!

  6. Travelling is one the best ways to release your tensions and have a some refreshing time which is necessary for good mental health. I have found this article really wonderful. Great Post !!

    • Absolutely Keto – so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for reading :)

  7. You really cannot have too many plain & simple adhesive band-aids along with eazy to apply antiseptic …. what is a normal “nothing to worry about” cut can become a huge problem post SHTF …. it’s going to be a whole new unsanitary world to contend with.

    • Totally agree with you – band-aids are my absolute go-to when I’m traveling; I have a small supply in every bag, and even my camera case!

  8. All great suggestions. My husband and I go for a run wherever we travel. Other than our running shoes and clothing, there is no special equipment required. I remember years ago, folks thought we were odd to worry about exercising while travelling. But to us, not exercising would be the equivalent of saying let’s take a holiday from brushing our teeth. It’s just part of taking care of your body. Besides, we’ve seen things and gotten to places we never would have if we didn’t run in the places we visit.

    • Thanks Harry, I’m glad you enjoyed the post :) I absolutely agree with you, I think it’s important to keep up our healthy habits when we’re traveling, as it’s all too easy to just throw them out the window with the excuse of ‘I’m on vacation’. So it’s great to hear that you still prioritize your running.

      Ultimately, it’s an overall healthy lifestyle that contributes the most to good mental health :)

  9. Ah I do too! Please let me know how you did, and if you have any advice. I am doing mine either tomorrow or Friday. Good luck!

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for your comment :) – unfortunately though I don’t follow – let me know the specific advice you’re after?

  10. Hi, Improve your mental health is not an easy task. Our mental health requires you to prioritize your self-care. This can include a wide variety of different habits. Spend your time with your loved one, use fresh fruits, increase the use of water and sleep a full night then our mental health remains healthy.

    • Absolutely Lisa, it’s definitely not an overnight thing, and needs to include a long and sustained commitment to healthy lifestyle habits and goals.

      Thanks for reading and leaving your comment :)

  11. Hi Meg Gerrard, traveling is really cool, it broadens our horizons and relieves stress. But if there is no possibility to travel, countries are closed due to the pandemic? All that remains is to visit a psychotherapist. My psychotherapist is constantly changing locations. .. That’s why I constantly communicate with him so as not to lose contact. Only when I can travel freely will I forget about my doctor because travel is therapy

    • Hi Rokki, thanks for sharing your experience. Yes, if you’re not traveling, it’s a good idea to access local mental health services if you need them :)

Post a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *