It’s Official — Science Says That Taking a Trip With Your Girlfriends Is Good For Your Health

We all want to invest in our health. But it turns our we’re all probably not taking advantage in the best way that we could.

We typically think we’re being healthy when we make ourselves kale salads or hit the gym a few times a week—and we are. While these habits are great, there are other, more fun ways to stay healthy.

Traveling, for example.

But people aren’t taking enough vacations. In fact, Americans wasted 658 million vacation days in 2015, meaning more than half of working Americans didn’t use their allotted paid time off.

People often put vacationing aside, whether it’s because they think they can’t afford it or that they’re worried their job is too demanding to leave for a period of time. But it’s actually super important to be able to take a mini break and travel, especially with friends.

Benefits of having a close group of friends

Southern Living has recently reported that taking a trip with your best gal pals can improve your overall mental and physical well-being. It can refresh you when your burnt out on work, plus give you quality time with the people who you love most.

This isn’t the first time having a good social network or traveling has been proven to help our health. According to the Mayo Clinic, having a close group of friends can make you feel less lonely, help you cope with bad experiences in your life, reduce stress, and boost your mood and overall happiness, among other benefits.

Physically, a happy social life can benefit our health as well. The Mayo Clinic also says that having friends is linked to a reduced risk of depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index. They may even help you prolong your life!

“Keeping a few really good friends around can make a world of difference for our health and well-being,” said psychologist William Chopik from Michigan State University. “So, it’s smart to invest in the friendships that make you happiest.”

On the opposite end of the spectrum, those without close connections may suffer poorer health, such depression, cognitive decline, and not living as long.

Where travel comes in

Traveling has also been proven to boost your health. Forbes reports that women who take advantage of vacation time are less tense, depressed or tired, and have even showed to be happier with their spouse. Their mood is better, and it can even improve productivity and creativity.

On the contrary, not taking trips can contribute to a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease for women. Even for men, traveling can reduce the risk of death by 21 percent and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 32 percent.

It makes sense that when you put together good friendships and travel and the health benefits are vast.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your besties, pick an awesome destination, and pack your bags!

Did you know that traveling with friends was such a health booster? Do you travel with friends often? Tell us where your next trip is planned!