Are you planning your next dream vacation? Well, if one of your resolutions is enjoying a healthier lifestyle, you should definitely think about your next destination on your bucket list.


Traveling is Healthy

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.
— Mark Twain

An Expedia Vacation Deprivation study showed that Americans got 14 vacation days in 2014 and took 12 of them compared to the French, who used 30 of the vacation days given to them. Workers in Spain get a minimum of 22 paid vacation days plus 12 national holidays. 

The United States is the only developed country in the world without a single legally required paid vacation day or holiday. By law, every country in the European Union has, at least, four work weeks of paid vacation.

Manhattan skyline and the sunrise

These are the countries where workers get the most time off.

8. New Zealand
Days off per year: 30 (tied for 6th highest)
Annual hours worked: 1,762 hours
Labor productivity: $34.10 per hour
GDP per capita: $29,730
Unemployment rate, 2012: 6.9%

7. Italy
Days off per year: 30 (tied for 6th highest)
Annual hours worked: 1,774 hours
Labor productivity: $46.60 per hour
GDP per capita: $30,136
Unemployment rate, 2012: 10.7%

6. Belgium
Days off per year: 30 (tied for 6th highest)
Annual hours worked: 1,577 hours
Labor productivity: $59.50 per hour
GDP per capita: $37,883
Unemployment rate, 2012: 7.6%

5. France
Days off per year: 31
Annual hours worked: 1,476 hours
Labor productivity: $57.70 per hour
GDP per capita: $35,548
Unemployment rate, 2012: 10.3%

4. Spain
Days off per year: 34 (tied for 3rd highest)
Annual hours worked: 1,685 hours
Labor productivity: $47.50 per hour
GDP per capita: $30,557
Unemployment rate, 2012: 25.1%

3. Germany
Days off per year: 34 (tied for 3rd highest)
Annual hours worked: 1,406 hours
Labor productivity: $55.80 per hour
GDP per capita: $30,028
Unemployment rate, 2012: 5.5%

2. Portugal
Days off per year: 35 (tied for the highest)
Annual hours worked: 1,711 hours
Labor productivity: $32.40 per hour
GDP per capita: $23,385
Unemployment rate, 2012: 15.9%

1. Austria
Days off per year: 35 (tied for the highest)
Annual hours worked: 1,598 hours
Labor productivity: $51.60 per hour
GDP per capita: $42,409
Unemployment rate, 2012: 4.4%

Venice, Italy

A ship that sits in the harbour is safe…but that’s not what ships were built for.
— Mark Twain

So why vacation so healthy for you? Here’s a list of some of the good things:

1.  Helps you bust the stress rut (and maybe your stress gut)
Even just a day playing golf or a weekend getaway can help reduce stress hormones and even lower your blood pressure, studies show. Imagine what a week or more could do for you. From making you look and feel younger to being able to fight off more colds during the year, eliminating stress can work wonders.

2. Gives your heart a break
Studies show that your ticker needs a break, too. In fact, maybe it needs two vacations a year. The Framingham Heart Study showed that women who take at least two vacations a year are eight times less likely to have coronary heart disease. A study done with men who had an elevated risk for coronary disease showed that those who didn’t take an annual vacation were 32% more likely to die from a heart attack than the vacationers.

One World Trade Center, also known as Freedom Tower, in New York City

3. Helps you get closer to your family
Xinran Lehto, an associate professor of hospitality and tourism management at Purdue University, and other Purdue researchers have reported on the positive impact that getaways have on families. Getting away from day-to-day stresses (even if they’re replaced with new stresses, i.e. starting the dock on fire with 12 boxes of sparklers) helps families connect, Purdue research shows. Those new, shared experiences promote a closeness and positive ties that last far after the vacation ends.

Traveling helps you get closer to your family

4. Makes you smarter at work
A vacation really can be the pause that refreshes—especially if you spend it disconnected from electronic devices and catching up on sleep. You may even be better at your job. That’s because stress can have an impact on decision-making, according to research done by the National Institutes of Health. After some days free of the daily stresses, you may be able to make more thoughtful decisions at work (instead of those reactive snap decisions).

5. Makes you happier
A Wisconsin study showed lower levels of tension and depression among women who took vacations more frequently (once or twice a year) versus those who vacationed less often. In fact, it turns out that even just anticipating a vacation is a mood booster, according to a Dutch study.

Ipanema Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

So start your daydreaming about the next vacation right now. Where will be heading to? Venice, New York, Prague, Miami, Rio de Janeiro, The Caribbean? Ah! See? Just the thought of your next trip on vacation makes you feel better already.

World Trade Center site and the hub station Oculus

Have a nice trip! And enjoy your vacation to the fullest.

Comment