Travelling a new destination opens our minds, shakes up our routines in the best ways possible and allows us a first-hand insight into the ways others live.
But as it turns out, you don’t have to venture far and wide to feel the same mood-boosting effects of overseas trips. New research has found that happiness in relation to travel can be achieved by a short exploration of your own city, even your suburb.
The study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, monitored the moods of over 100 participants as they made their way around their respective cities of New York City and Miami over a series of months.
Through their findings, the researchers were able to conclude that those participants who ventured into the unknown and experienced new things each day showed increased happiness, satisfaction and an overall boost in mood and positive emotions.
It didn’t matter how far they went either. Exploring one’s own neighbourhood and local surroundings offered just as much happiness as exploring a new city or country.
“What appeared to be most critical to positive mood was simply going to a diverse set of locations, not the distance one travelled on a given day,” study co-author and professor of psychology at New York University, Catherine Hartley, told Lonely Planet.
“Our work suggests that experiencing new and diverse experiences on a daily basis is linked to positive emotions. We feel happier when there’s variety in our daily routines, and in turn, we are more likely to seek out novel experiences when we are in a more positive mood.”
The research is encouraging as Australia moves into more flexible arrangements around domestic and local travel, and makes a great case for booking a weekend away while state and international borders are still closed.