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Can Travel Really Make You Smarter?

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by Melissa Snape Wisniewski

January 22, 2019

3 minute read

There are countless advantages of travel for your health and wellbeing. It's relaxing and can lower stress. It enhances your relationships as you share new experiences and make memories with loved ones. It is good for your body because it encourages you to walk more as you explore, or try new activities you may not have tried before. But can it actually make you smarter? It turns out-it can!

Traveling is one of the best ways to engage your mind

Crossword puzzles, Sudoku, music lessons, learning a language: these are all things experts tout as ways to train your brain to stay sharp and improve longevity. But they pale in comparison to one of the best ways to engage your mind-traveling! Studies have shown that even 2 days of vacation reduces stressors of day-to-day life, freeing your mind up to learn new things.

Travel stimulates all of your senses

Travel stimulates all five of your senses and amps up the action in your brain in a way almost nothing else does. The sounds of a new language bubbling up all around you. New flavors that set your taste buds alight. The sight of the colors and motion of a crowded street or local market. The smell of the bracing sea, arid desert or humid rainforest dripping with exotic flowers. The touch of fine silk in China or wool sweaters in Scotland. With every sense engaged, your brain has a constant flow of new information to learn from and process, keeping it healthy and nimble.

Anticipating your trip boosts your brain

And travel doesn't just keep you bright minded when you're away from home; studies have shown that the benefits begin before you even leave for your trip. When you are planning a trip, you are researching new destinations, learning about new cultures, discovering new ideas and ways of life, and piecing together a logistical structure and plan of where you will go. The dopamine burst you get planning and anticipating your trip can be as big of a brain boost as the travel itself-and it lasts for much longer!

Travel has lasting brain benefits

The benefits to your brain continue even after you return. During your travels, you are exposed to new ways of life that can make you more open-minded and accepting of different ideas. You see art and architecture, landscapes and natural wonders that spark creativity long after you leave. You experience destinations and cultures anew when you describe your trip after you return. And you often meet strangers from totally different walks of life that became friends along the way, so exchanging ideas and new perspectives continues for a long time to come. Travel is one of the absolute best things you can do to keep your brain healthy. So plan your next trip soon-it's good for you!

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