First and foremost, travel changes your life by improving your overall health and well-being.
One study found that people who travel regularly are at less of a risk of heart disease, siting that men who didn't take an annual vacation were shown to have a 30% higher risk of death from heart disease.
This study even researched how travel changes your brain. It found that exposing your brain to new languages, smells, tastes and sights by living abroad improves creativity.
There are a variety of studies that have looked into a link between travel and mental health.
This one found that travel might change your life by making you less likely to suffer from depression. They studied 1500 women in a rural area to see if the frequency of their travel affected if they were more likely to suffer from depression, stress, or hardships in their relationships.
Spoiler alert: traveling made it less likely for the women to suffer from those negative experiences.
Of course, travel changes your perspective by lowering stress levels too.
This article sites that most people feel less stress after just two days of vacation. Another one suggests that just four days of travel improves stress levels for the next 45 days of life.
A few other studies have specifically looked into the anticipation of travel. Does the simple act of planning a trip start to boost our happiness?
A study by the University of Surrey says yes. They found that people are happiest, and more positive about their health and financial life, when they have a vacation planned for the future.
And finally, if money is one of your biggest psychological hurdles when it comes to following your dream to go travel, use this comprehensive guide to budget travel tips to inspire you to just go for it.
So, we know that travel is good for our mental, physical, and emotional health, but how does it change our social life? Travel changes your perspective by improving your relationships with others.
This article also suggests that vacationing, particularly near the water, helps to reset our emotions and be more compassionate towards others.
There are also a few studies that investigate specifically how international travel changes you.
We've all heard our friends who studied abroad rant and rave about how that type of travel has changed their lives, but this study found that students returned more tolerant and less fearful of other cultures and countries.
One study found that living abroad fosters a more clear sense of self by encouraging self-reflection. It particularly encouraged slow travel, stating that the depth of travel (length of time lived abroad) mattered more to self-clarity than the breadth of travel (number of foreign countries lived in) mattered more.
So, there's clearly research to back me and my fellow world-packers when we say that travel has changed our lives.
Allyson quit her corporate marketing job in July 2018 and has been traveling the world through work exchange ever since. The highlight reel includes tutoring English while sailing in Greece and becoming a live-in nanny for a traveling family in New Zealand and Australia.