Planning a Holiday Helps Mental Health: New Research

New Research Shows That Planning a Holiday Improves Your Mental Health, Which Comes as Good News as Tourists are Excited About Taking Vacations Again

This new research just confirms what we have long since suspected: holidays are great for our wellbeing, and not just while we’re away, but from the moment we start planning.”

— Sara Zimmerman, CEO Travel Department

DUBLIN, IRELAND, October 7, 2021 / — New research has shown that the mere act of booking a holiday can improve your mood, stress and anxiety levels and even your productivity at work. Planning a well-needed holiday may be something to consider ahead of World Mental Health Day taking place on 10th October.

This comes as excellent news, as recent surveys conducted by travel agency Travel Department show that travellers are now comfortable to return to international travel and are optimistic that the travel industry will return to pre-pandemic levels in the coming months.

Sara Zimmerman, CEO of Travel Department, said that there’s been a significant uplift in holiday bookings and that customers are becoming more comfortable about international travel:
“Travel Department is delighted to be welcoming customers back and we share their excitement to travel again. We actively listened to our customers throughout the pandemic and understand that some people may have lingering anxieties about travel so we’ve gone the extra mile to make sure we take care of everything. We have created dedicated pages on our website outlining travel requirements by country and the steps we take to keep our customers safe while abroad. Once on holiday, our guides are ready and waiting to greet our customers again and not only to share their wealth of knowledge and passion for each destination but to provide practical information on local customs and practices. This new research just confirms what we have long since suspected: holidays are great for our wellbeing, and not just while we’re away, but from the moment we start planning. Many of our customers are already benefitting with very strong advance bookings for next year, and we look forward to welcoming many more back over the coming weeks and months.’

These signs of holiday travel returning to normality are also to be seen in Italy, one of the most popular holiday destinations for the UK and Ireland at the moment. Explora S.p.A who helps promote the touristic offering of the Lombardy region, confirms that there are evident signs of recovery in the Lombardy region. “European travellers have shown a tendency towards proximity tourism, showing a keen interest in the rediscovery of small villages, mountains and lesser known tourist destinations,” says Explora. “We are seeing promising signs of a return to holiday travel, with trends growing for both Italian and foreign tourists.”

Holiday Planning and Mental Health

Dr Gerard Flaherty in Galway, Ireland, a world expert in the emerging field of Travel Psychiatry says that “The fear engendered by this pandemic will eventually be replaced by optimism and hope for our future. Achieving this mindset will summon our collective reserves of fortitude and resilience. Psychological resilience during the COVID-19 sheltering-place period has been shown to be related to higher levels of exercise, sleep quality, social support and spirituality.”

Findings from a study at Cornwall University show that planning a holiday can improve your mental health, as well as making us feel better about our social and economic means. According to research from Jessica de Bloom, Academy Research Fellow in the University of Groningen, holidays not only benefit people’s health but make them happier as well. The benefits of a well-needed trip away don’t just come into effect once the holiday has begun, but can be seen as soon as you start researching accommodation, scrolling through Instagram hashtags or booking your annual leave from work. Benefits of a trip away can also be seen after the holiday has taken place, with studies showing that productivity levels at work are increased after a well-needed vacation.

Losing Time

The results of Travel Department’s survey, which was conducted in the UK and Ireland in June 2021, show that 71% of respondents feel as though they are “losing time” at this stage of their life by not being able to travel. Additionally, 39% of respondents say the pandemic has made them want to visit more places on their travel list. With the restrictions meaning less time for actual holidays, many have spent a lot of time researching various destinations to visit in the future.

While many survey respondents were hesitant to travel to long-distance destinations such as China, India and South America, the top travel destinations that people are most looking forward to visiting in the near future were Italy, in first position, followed by Spain, the UK, Portugal and Croatia.

The Future

The survey findings also show the optimism of the general public that travel will return to pre-pandemic levels in the near future. 16% of the UK survey respondents plan to book a flight within the next 6 to 12 months. 32% are unsure when, but they would like to, and 29% are not planning to book a flight soon. Meanwhile, 66% of the Irish participants believe that travel would return to pre-covid levels in either the first or second half of 2022. This shows that people are not only optimistic that travel will return, but also willing and waiting to take overseas holidays in the not so distant future.

• Survey conducted by Travel Department in June 2021 in Ireland and UK
• For further questions please contact

Roisin O’Hea
Travel Department

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