As we jump start the new year with a bang, many of us are setting specific goals to accomplish by 2018. Whether it be personal, financial or business oriented, we are up for the year’s challenges. In the midst of building our brands, spending time with our families and reaching our scholarly potential for educational attainment, we often times put travel on the back burner. Many times, we convince ourselves that we’ll treat ourselves to a vacation when the timing is right or when our friends agree to tag along to avoid traveling solo. Sadly, that one day I’ll travel mentality turns into an indefinite date into the future.

According to a study conducted by Project: Time Off, the average U.S. worker took only 16.2 days of paid time off in 2015 and 55% of the 5,600 people surveyed didn’t use all of their vacation time.

Wait, how Sway?! Sadly, many employees lost their vacation time entirely because they are unable to roll it over to the next fiscal year or get paid out. The study reveals a telling story: Americans need to slow down and enjoy life a bit more! While it may not be feasible for everyone to fly to Bora Bora, Maldives or a destination popularized by celebrities on a whim, travel has been said to yield significant advantages for overall health. Besides traveling for the sole purpose of taking Instagram-worthy photos, consider making travel a priority for these three reasons.

Travel to Lower Stress

Initially, planning a trip for solo travel or for a group can be a daunting task. Especially when attempting to satisfy the elements needed for the perfect vacation. Breath-taking views? Check. Comfortable accommodations? Check. Plenty of excursions for entertainment? Double check. Once you confirm the details of your travels, the mere anticipation of your journey is enough to increase your levels of happiness. A study revealed that days after a vacation, travelers were likely to feel rejuvenated, less anxious and in a better mood which lasted for weeks.

Travel to Acquire New Experiences

Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be one of the scariest experiences for anyone. It takes a lot to get to a point where you’re willing to break out of daily routine. The benefit of travel is the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment and to acquire treasured moments. While acquiring possessions may be tempting, a trip will provide you with a wealth of memories to last a life-time!

Travel for Self-Discovery

A rejuvenating retreat can help revive us mentally and physically. It also helps generate creativity and the desire for self-discovery to be better ourselves. Exposure to a new situations and friendships may reveal strengths and inadequacies that require work to reach our full potential. A good vacation has the potential to get us back on track. Let’s not forget it will definitely help us prepare for the next phase of personal growth.

Traveling doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to leave the country to go overseas. Consider exploring a new city by train or take a road trip to a nearby state over the weekend. Regardless of your destination, be sure to unplug and enjoy the experience!

Still not convinced of making travel a priority this year? Here are a few travel highlights that have drastically transformed my life for the better!

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Forever a thrill seeker for aspirational looks and global experiences, Lisa Barber is the creator of which explores her love for fashion, travel and wellness across the globe while championing a minimal lifestyle abroad. She believes that the body offers the greatest artistic medium as the ideal canvas for beauty and style. The Fashion Institute of Technology alum has leveraged physical canvas since 2010 as a creative platform to discover new designers and attend Fashion Week in New York, Singapore and New Zealand. Given her love for culture, she embarked on a lifestyle change to pursue full-time travel by selling her home and resigning from her career to see the world. As a woman with a wanderlust for travel, she hopes to inspire others to pursue their dreams. Follow her journey as she navigates her way from Rochester, New York to unique destinations around the world (@PhysicalCanvas).
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