Mention traveling and several places may come to mind. Hawaii. France. Tunisia. Yet people often lack the time, funds or interest to travel.

But when we forego traveling, we forego all its benefits. Traveling can enlighten, enliven and energize individuals. Even though it may seem frightening to venture from home, the experiences gained are largely beneficial.

Regular travel could avert a host of health problems.

Research from the Global Commision on Aging and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies revealed that women who vacationed every six years had a higher risk of developing a heart attack to those who traveled twice yearly.

Men who failed to travel yearly suffered a 20 percent higher risk of death and 30 percent increased risk in death from heart disease.

But there’s more to traveling than just avoiding negatives. An overwhelming 89 percent of respondents in the study reported that they experienced major declines in stress after two days of travel. Travel may boost health and relieve stress. It could also help with open-mindedness and boost creativity.

Unfortunately, Americans are behind their European counterparts in traveling.

According to the Hostel World Global Traveller Report, Britons, Germans and French on average visit 10, eight and five countries respectively. Americans averaged three countries.

Even though Americans may frequent other US states, travel abroad may offer specific benefits that domestic travelers would be unable to enjoy.

A 2009 series of studies of students by Maddux and Galinsky saw participants undergo individual and two-person creativity tests. In the fifth study, half of the students were instructed to recall an experience living abroad, the others were not told this. Those who recalled experiences abroad managed to solve more than 50 percent more problems than the others. The study suggested that students who adapted to life in foreign countries enjoyed enhanced creativity in comparison to those who did not adapt.

If recalling memories of living abroad can enhance creativity, it may be wise to travel abroad more frequently.

In addition to heightened creativity, travel abroad may spur creative productivity. Galinsky and three other researchers’ 2015 study for the Academy of Management Journal analyzed 11 years of fashion collections from 270 fashion houses’ creative directors. The researchers found that creative ratings of the directors who had lived and worked overseas introduced consistently more creative fashion lines than those who did not.

If creative directors’ time living abroad increases their creative productivity, then maybe being immersed in foreign cultures can sharpen creativity.

Traveling can significantly cut the risks of suffering heart disease-caused death, and reduce stress. Better yet, travel abroad may improve creative problem solving as well as creative productivity. So, if possible, spare some time to explore foreign lands and transform yourself into a new individual.


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