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The Importance of Taking a Vacation for Mental Health

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In the modern day, the average person is subjected to an incredible amount of stress like never before. In fact, those aged 45 to 65 years old are experiencing more stress than their counterparts from the 1990s. While there are a variety of factors at play which have caused this switch, changes in technology, family and relationship dynamics, and work-life balance are leading causes to blame.  

Experts recommending dep-lugging from these stressors as much as possible, which is why taking paid time off for a vacation is so important. Learn about the connection between vacations and improved mental health, along with how to plan your next trip. 

Are Vacations and Mental Health Correlated?

While it may not seem like it on the surface, vacations and mental health do have an indirect correlation. Those who take the time to go on vacation have seen four main proven health benefits in their life including: lower stress levels, a lower risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and a general increased motivation to meet their goals. It is recommended that all full-time workers take at least two lengthy vacations during the course of a year to maximize these benefits. 

The Average Vacation Price in 2023

Despite the fact that vacations have major beneficial impacts on a person’s health, rising costs have led to many being unable to go on vacation. The average one-week price for a single person to go on vacation is now over $1,500 when traveling domestically, and over $2,000 when traveling internationally. Considering this, a person needs to budget their funds adequately to ensure they can go on vacation without worrying about needing to put in overtime when they return, as this will defeat the purpose of de-plugging to begin with. 

Planning Your Next Vacation: How to Save Money on Your Trip

As evident by the above cost of vacations in the modern day, it’s crucial to save up money in advance of your trip and while planning your trip. The following four tips can help to ensure you don’t replace your daily stress with financial stress following a vacation: 

1. Let your budget guide your choice of destination 

First and foremost, one of the quickest ways that a person can become overwhelmed by the costs of vacation is by choosing a destination and then trying to build a budget that fits that spot. However, if a person picks a spot they cannot afford, they will not be able to make a budget work to begin with. Always determine what you can actually afford, then allow this value to guide your choice of destination in the future. Often, backpackers on a shoestring budget will take this approach and find the most affordable hostels to stay in, and vary their travels and accommodation daily, based on their budget. 

2. Set up a dedicated savings account for your trip funds

All travelers, both avid and casual, should have a savings account which holds funds dedicated towards travel. This savings account should be separate from your normal account so that your funds don’t get muddled together. On a monthly basis, try to deposit funds into this account so that it slowly builds up over time until you are ready to take your next vacation. With any luck, the funds in this account can be used to cover part of or the entire trip. 

3. Consider alternative forms of accommodation

One major cost that has gone up in recent years when it comes to vacations is that of accommodations. Staying in hotels has increased heavily in cost, with the nightly rate increasing to $212 throughout 2022, a price which many people cannot afford. As a result, a great way to save money is to consider other forms of accommodations such as vacation rentals which can come at a lower price. 

4. Travel to the destination during the off-season

Finally, a simple tip for avoiding the major cost of vacations is to travel during the off season. For a ski town, this may mean traveling during the summer months, and vice versa. While the weather in the area may not be what you are looking for, or perhaps the activities won’t be as exciting, it’s an excellent strategy for those on a tight budget. 

The Two Different Types of Vacations to Consider

All travelers will have two main types of vacations to consider as they plan their vacation. A budget should take this choice into account by determining activities ahead of time. The two primary vacation types include: 

Leisure Based Trips

Leisure vacations are the most popular form of vacationing in the modern day. Whether it’s going to a beach and sitting for an entire week or simply going to a city and only taking part in relaxing activities, a leisure trip is an excellent choice. It also tends to be the cheapest form of vacation as it involves fewer activities. 

Activity Based Trips

The second type of vacation that people often plan their budgets around are activity-based trips. This could be something as simple as scheduling tours for famous landmarks or something more complex such as taking a culinary tour of New York City, but either way an activity trip means you are always on the go. 

Tips for Choosing Your Next Vacation Destination

Deciding on where you should go for your next trip can still be difficult, even after using all of the above guidance. However, there are a number of tips which can help anyone decide:

  • Use your budget and then compare your bottom line to average costs for an area
  • Decide how many activities you would like to take part in, along with what variety you wish to see
  • Think about the weather you hope to have on your trip
  • Consider whether you want to stay domestic or go international

Plan a fun and engaging vacation today

An engaging vacation for the whole family can be hard to plan when every member of your family has differing interests, not to mention the fact that you have a budget to stick to. However, by using some of the above tips, you can get a fun trip on your calendar that benefits your mental health by allowing you to de-plug from the stress of daily life. Treat your mental health as soon as possible, rather than allowing your paid-time-off to expire.