New research confirms what many travel buffs have been missing out on during Covid: frequent travel makes people happier. And although traveling is not safe or advised amid the pandemic, even talking about past travel or planning future trips can boost your well-being, other studies have shown.
For the study, researchers from Washington State University surveyed 500 Taiwanese adults and found that those who traveled several times a year at least 75 miles from home were 7% happier than those who rarely traveled.
Happiness is typically measured by how satisfied a person is with the way that their life is going. According to the study authors, people who travel often are likely more satisfied with their lives, because travel often includes novel experiences.
The finding "really illustrates the importance of being able to get out of your routine and experience new things," Chun-Chu Chen, an assistant professor in the School of Hospitality Business Management at Washington State University said in a release.
But the Centers for Disease Control and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, have said that travel increases your risk of spreading or contracting Covid. (The participants for this study were located in Taiwan, which is no longer impacted by Covid restrictions.)
Travel restrictions amid Covid vary from state to state. Fauci said in the future it's possible that people will need to get vaccinated in order to be able to travel, during an interview with Newsweek published Friday. The safest thing to do is to postpone travel while the virus is still spreading.
Luckily, previous studies have shown that researching, planning and anticipating a future trip can increase your happiness too. Research has shown that people tend to derive value and happiness from anticipation, and that includes preparing for a vacation. For example, a 2010 study found that planning or researching an upcoming trip contributes a larger and longer-lasting boost of happiness than the trip itself. And a study from the Institute for Applied Positive Research conducted in August found that planning a future trip for post-pandemic also provided a sense of control.
As people get vaccinated for Covid, travel will gradually start to open up. If you're wary about making future travel plans in uncertain times, a study published in June found that simply taking a walk, getting a change of scenery or making small changes to your routine can make you happier.