Survey Reveals the Positive Impact of Travel on Mental Well-being

A survey conducted by leading online travel agent Opodo highlights the significant positive impact of travel on mental well-being. The Executive Magazine takes a look at the findings from a poll of 10,000 participants.
Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Elizabeth Jenkins-Smalley

Editor In Chief at The Executive Magazine

Opodo, a leading online travel agent, conducted a recent survey with 10,000 participants from various international markets, including 2,000 respondents from the UK. The poll aimed to explore the impact of travel on mental well-being and identify the activities that most strongly support one’s state of mind during a trip.

The survey findings from Opodo indicate that a majority of respondents worldwide reported a “very positive” or “quite positive” impact of holidays on their mental well-being. Interestingly, in the UK, individuals between the ages of 45 and 54, often referred to as the “squeezed middle,” reported the highest percentage of “very positive” effects. On a global scale, respondents from the United States perceived the least benefit of holidays on their peace of mind, while Italians and Portuguese found it to be the most beneficial.

Globally, 63% of all respondents stated that holidays had a “very positive” impact on their mental well-being, with an additional 29% reporting a “quite positive” impact, totaling 92% overall. In the UK, 54% of respondents described a “very positive” effect, while 36% reported a “quite positive” effect, amounting to a total of 90%.

Among British travelers, the region with the most positive psychological effect of holidays was the East Midlands, with 64% of respondents reporting such effects. Three other regions, namely the East of England, the North East, and the West Midlands, followed closely behind with 58% of participants reporting a “very positive” effect. In contrast, only 47% of Scottish respondents reported the same level of positive impact.

Within the UK, individuals aged 45-54 reported the highest percentage (59%) of “very positive” effects resulting from their holiday experiences. Moreover, 79% of Portuguese travelers and 78% of Italians ranked the effects of holidays as “very positive,” whereas only 42% of Americans held the same view.

Opodo’s survey also inquired about the activities that most effectively support mental well-being while on holiday. The results revealed that the majority of travelers stated that simply relaxing and doing “nothing” had the most positive effect. Reading ranked as the second most beneficial activity, with British respondents leading the pack compared to other nationalities. Younger individuals found new experiences and adventurous activities to be beneficial, while the oldest age group emphasized the helpfulness of meeting new people for their state of mind.

Globally, a significant majority of respondents (42%) cited “relaxing and doing nothing” as the most beneficial activity, followed by sightseeing (35%) and reading (19%). The top three activities reported by UK respondents aligned with the global findings, with 49% emphasizing the importance of relaxing, 44% enjoying sightseeing, and 31% finding solace in reading.

In the UK, 43% of respondents from the North West region relied on reading as their second most important source of mental well-being during a holiday, compared to only 7% of those from Northern Ireland. Additionally, 31% of British respondents ranked reading as the second most beneficial holiday activity, compared to 13% from France and 14% from Portugal.

Among the global respondents, 24% of those aged 18-24 derived mental benefits from adventurous activities, whereas only 14% of the 45-54 age group expressed the same sentiment. Furthermore, 19% of British respondents aged 65 and over reported positive effects from meeting new people during their holidays, in contrast to just 7% of those aged 45-54.

These findings from Opodo’s survey shed light on the positive impact of holidays on mental well-being and the activities that support it. Taking time to relax, engage in leisurely activities, and explore new experiences can significantly contribute to one’s mental well-being during a holiday. Opodo’s poll highlights the importance of travel in rejuvenating our minds and finding moments of serenity amidst our busy lives.

The results indicate that the benefits of holidays extend beyond mere physical relaxation. They play a crucial role in improving our overall mental health and emotional state. It is encouraging to see that a large majority of respondents worldwide perceive holidays as having a positive impact on their well-being. This reaffirms the notion that travel is not just about visiting new places but also about nurturing our inner selves.

Within the UK, the survey reveals interesting patterns among different age groups and regions. The 45-54 age group, often burdened with responsibilities and work-related stress, finds immense value in holiday experiences. This suggests that taking a break from routine and allowing oneself to unwind can have a transformative effect on mental well-being.

Moreover, the findings regarding regional variations in the UK emphasize the diverse ways in which people derive mental benefits from their vacations. The East Midlands emerges as the region where holiday experiences have the most positive psychological impact. Meanwhile, Scottish respondents appear to be less inclined to attribute the same level of positive effects to their holidays.

When it comes to specific activities that support mental well-being during holidays, the survey sheds light on interesting preferences. Across the globe, the majority of respondents find solace in simply relaxing and doing nothing. In today’s fast-paced world, where constant productivity is often prioritized, this reaffirms the importance of allowing ourselves moments of stillness and tranquility.

Reading, another favored activity, stands out as a significant contributor to mental well-being. It offers an opportunity to escape into different worlds, expand knowledge, and gain a fresh perspective. British respondents, in particular, lead the pack in prioritizing reading during their holidays, highlighting the special connection they have with books as a means of nourishing their minds.

While relaxation and reading are prominent choices, it is worth noting the contrasting preferences among different age groups. Younger individuals value new experiences and adventurous activities as sources of mental well-being during their trips. On the other hand, the older age group places greater importance on meeting new people, emphasizing the social aspect of travel and the positive impact it can have on mental health.

Opodo’s survey provides valuable insights into the relationship between travel and mental well-being. It reinforces the idea that holidays offer much more than a temporary escape from our daily lives. They have the power to uplift our spirits, reduce stress, and rejuvenate our minds.

As we navigate a world that is gradually recovering from the challenges of the past, the findings of this survey serve as a reminder of the importance of prioritizing our mental health and well-being. Whether it’s through a peaceful retreat, immersing ourselves in a good book, or embarking on exciting adventures, taking time to travel and nurture our minds is an essential part of living a balanced and fulfilling life.

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