Enough is enough – Aussies ready to pack their bags

New global research has revealed more about the psychology of travel and its benefit to mental health. Interestingly it also shows how severely the COVID pandemic has impacted on travel loving Aussie’s wellbeing, compared to people in other counties.

Commissioned by IHG Hotels & Resorts the research shows how much COVID-19 and travel restrictions detrimentally effected Australian adults. Many Aussies are more ready than ever to pack their bags in 2021!

Almost two-thirds of Australians say holidays positively impact their physical and mental health, compared with 46 per cent in the UK and 35 per cent in the US, the research reveals. In fact, more than one in five Aussies say they need as many as four to six weeks of holidays per year in order to feel refreshed, and before the pandemic, only 15 per cent were going more than one to three weeks without a break.

The research surveyed 6,000 adults across Australia, US and UK to uncover how travellers are feeling at the start of the new year.

Psychology of travel | Image Supplied

The research suggests that with COVID-19 closing borders across the globe, “it’s not surprising 42 per cent of Australians had to cancel one to two trips away in 2020, while 13 percent were forced to cancel three to four trips, taking a toll on overall mood and wellbeing. With thousands of cancelled trips in 2020, it seems the ‘daily routine’ is paying its mental toll, with more than half of Australian adults (55 per cent) confessing they most enjoy getting away from their home and daily life”.

Aussies love holidays and before the pandemic, 50 per cent of them said they typically went on holidays a least one to two times per year, with a further 27 per cent holidaying three to four times per year. Almost 40 per cent admit the past year is the longest they have ever gone without a holiday, one in five now plan to make up for lost travel time by going on even more trips in 2021. Over half plan to rebook and of the trips cancelled, seeing family and friends is the most wanted trip, followed by a missed family holiday.

However, safety remains paramount for Aussies, with 40 per cent confirming they will wait until a vaccine is widely available before travelling. This is compared to only 31 per cent of Americans and 43 per cent of Brits.

The research also shows that a third of Aussies also recognise that going away on holidays is not only important for themselves, but also for their relationships with friends, family, and partners. And half claim that going away for work also allows them to create more meaningful relationships with colleagues, customers or clients.

According to UK-based psychologist Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a trip does just that (and more) noting that a break from routine is not only mentally and emotionally good for you, but it also makes you more productive and happier.

Dr. Linda Papadopoulos said: “Having a sense of balance in terms of how much we work and how much we rest is key. The term vacation means to vacate – to stop worrying about to do lists, and switch that ‘should’ or ‘have to’ mode off – allowing you time to rekindle meaningful connections, relax/de-stress and come back feeling more energised. 

“The impact of the pandemic on our mental health and our daily lives has been something that many of us have never experienced – having to cancel breaks where we would normally recharge, rest and nurture relationships has meant that many of us have not had that much needed downtime. It is important for our mental health to gain balance- to recharge and to make time to connect with things other than the ‘have-to’s and to do lists that dominate our minds. 

“Planning things to look forward to, whether it be a novel activity a short weekend away with friends or a far-flung holiday in the future – it can bring some focus and positivity into a time that currently still feels challenging and a bit unknown.”

Leanne Harwood, managing director Australasia & Japan, IHG Hotels & Resorts, said: “As an avid traveller myself, I can only empathise with how important meaningful connection is with family, friends, colleagues and the communities in which we travel. While the COVID pandemic has certainly diversified the ways in which we connect, it’s evident there is a hearty desire for real-life connection and the overall toll it takes on our wellbeing when we’re unable to do so.

“We know travel may still look a little different this year, but we are committed to continue innovating and finding new ways to help people connect and experience our own backyard and beyond – and feel confident while doing so.”

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