Why planning a trip is a great way to improve your mental health

The last year has been tough; many of us had trips cancelled, and lockdowns have been hard on our mental health and well-being. A number of studies have correlated taking vacation time with the mental health benefits. These benefits are plentiful, and reducing stress while increasing positivity, happiness and creativity are just a few. But did you know that holidaymakers are happiest not when they arrive home from a memorable trip, but while they’re planning their itinerary? A Cornell University study showed the excitement and planning of an upcoming trip can increase a person’s happiness substantially – much more so than the anticipation of splurging on material goods. This implies that even just the thought of a trip away can bring our mood up and work wonders for your mental state.

So, just because some travel restrictions are still in place, doesn’t mean you should stop adding destinations to your travel bucket list and plan a future trip.

We believe that planning and anticipating a trip can almost be as enjoyable as the trip itself, and the research backs it up too. And since dreaming of your next adventure could positively benefit your mental health, even if you’re not yet sure when that adventure will be, here’s some planning tips to get you started.


So how do you plan a trip in 2021?

Compiling an itinerary, scouting a flight, or considering hotels and restaurants abroad can, in essence, mentally transport you. The trick is to let it do just that. Priority Pass recommends planning a vague itinerary, with details on the places you want to go, activities you want to do and sights you want to see, but without getting attached to taking the trip at any specific time. That way, you can continue to daydream about your destination and visualise the experiences you will have, while you research your future holiday.

One of our favourite ways to find new travel destinations is to scroll through social media channels and collect your favourite travel posts showcasing destinations, activities, food, views – any pictures that make you think ‘I wish I was there’.  We suggest you create a favourites folder on your browser or save posts on Instagram, FacebookPinterest or Youtube. Click on the locations or search by hashtags. We’re sure this will help you find inspiration for your dream trip, and you might even find unexpected and undiscovered must-do’s.

Take your time searching and get lost in your thoughts and dreams as you scroll through photos, read blogs and watch videos of others’ adventures, experiences, and memories.

Then add it to your bucket list. And we mean it. Write that bucket list down. Either on paper or keep a document on your laptop or phone. There’s nothing worse than trying to remember those pesky details, especially when you’ve already done the hard work.

If you want to take your research further, you can start looking into places you would like to stay, ways to get around, and maybe even start finding restaurants to dine at. A top tip here – use Instagram and blogs for this too, you’ll get first person accounts of all those delicious meals and off-the-beaten-track experiences! Or if you want to go old school, grab a travel guidebook.

You can even plan your time in the airport terminal. Download the the Priority Pass app, and have a look at lounges, dining options, sleep and pamper services, airport guides and in-terminal discounts that are exclusively available to Priority Pass Members.

And one last tip - before you get on that plane, be sure to read our guide on 
how to avoid overpacking, as well as our list of the best apps to make your time away the best it can be.