One year ago, COVID-19 was only just creeping in on the edges of our awareness, for most people. Now it's inescapable, and it's made it impossible for many of us to escape. With a number of vaccines tantalizingly in reach, however, we're also starting to dream of seeing the world again.
We should keep looking forward to travel, according to experts — it makes us measurably happier in the long term. That's what new research from Washington State University tells us; in fact, regularly traveling at least 75 miles from home can lead to a 7 percent increase in overall wellbeing when compared to those who don't travel at all.
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Being able to say you're 7 percent happier sounds strange, but it's part of a dataset from surveys run by researcher Chun-Chu Chen. "While things like work, family life, and friends play a bigger role in overall reports of well-being, the accumulation of travel experiences does appear to have a small yet noticeable effect on self-reported life satisfaction," Chen said in a press release. "It really illustrates the importance of being able to get out of your routine and experience new things."
Designers are already working out ways to communicate that your travel options are safe from disease exposure, just as the hospitality industry is trying to show you how clean their facilities are. Still, staying home remains the best way of keeping yourself and others away from COVID. It's disappointing and frustrating and all those other adjectives, but there's a silver lining: Saving for a big trip could be a mental health boost in itself.