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Should you try travel therapy?

Should you try travel therapy?
Feeling stressed and burned out? A holiday might be just what the doctor ordered! Charlotte Grainger explores the idea of "travel therapy"
Are long secluded beaches calling your name? Do you long for the warm kiss of Spanish sun on your skin? If it’s been a while since you packed your suitcase and took a break, you might be itching to get something in the diary. While there’s no doubt that having a holiday makes us feel happier and more rested, it may have additional mental benefits. 

Is travel good for your mind? 

A relaxing beach getaway could be just what you need
New research published in the Tourism Management journal suggests that going on holiday may be used as a form of “travel therapy” for those with dementia. The study found that tourism could be an effective holistic treatment for people with the syndrome which causes a decline in mental functioning—when used alongside medical interventions. In simple terms, travelling might be the key to keeping your brain healthy for longer.  
"When you head to a faraway land, chances are, you feel refreshed and invigorated"
While the research focused solely on individuals with dementia, it shines a light on the role that travel plays in our cognitive processing. When you head to a faraway land, chances are you feel refreshed and invigorated upon your return. The old English proverb goes “a change is as good as rest”, after all. With that in mind, when you’re feeling stressed out or like you need some TLC, taking the time to travel could be the perfect remedy for you.

How to travel on a budget

Now may not feel like the right time to book a four-star holiday. With the cost-of-living crisis running rampant, we’re all having to tighten our purse strings. If you’re feeling the pinch, you’re not alone. According to a recent Barclaycard survey, 16 per cent of Brits are opting to take a UK break rather than going abroad this year. The study also found that around 20 per cent of us are considering giving the summer holiday a miss altogether.  
Woman at airport
There are ways to save money when planning your getaway
If you want to make travel a priority—but need to stick to a tight budget—then there are a few ways to keep things cheap and easy. While we can’t deny that the overall cost of travel is rising, it’s worth exploring money-saving tips that can help you cut back and see the world. Let’s look at some of the strategies you may want to give a whirl for yourself. 
1. Do your research  
First things first, you need to make sure you do some research. Sure, you might have a dream destination in your sights, but you have to be realistic.  
Heading to Florida in the height of summer is never going to be the cheap way to go. Instead, take the time to look into lesser-known places to visit. You can get started by looking at The Times’ 2022 list of cheap holiday destinations, which includes Turkey, Portugal, Bolivia and Hong Kong.  
2. Travel out of season  
Travelling during the school holidays will always cost you an arm and leg. If you don’t have children, be sure to check the government website to see when these breaks land. Booking trips out of season is a smart way to save yourself some cash on your next holiday.  
"Travelling during the school holidays will always cost you an arm and leg"
Of course, if you have children, that may not be an option for you. In that case, it’s worth looking at booking toward the end of the summer holiday. Travel body ABTA says that you can expect significant price drops toward the end of August and early September.  
3. Wave goodbye to luggage 
If you’re booking your getaway with a budget airline—such as Ryanair or EasyJet—there’s an easy way to save yourself some pennies. Ditch the check-in bags and carry a small backpack instead.  
Woman at airport with backpack
Opt for hand luggage to save money
Should you be headed to a hot destination, you may not need long sleeves or trousers when you reach it. While it’s worth checking the exact carry-on baggage restrictions, this small sacrifice could save you spending over the odds.  
4. Don’t get sucked in by extras  
Fancy an in-flight meal? Do you want to choose your seat on the plane? These additional services will cost you extra when you are flying with a budget airline. Don’t fall into the trap of paying extra for these add-ons after you have booked your tickets.  
"Sitting in a random seat and forgoing that expensive sandwich meal deal is a savvy move"
While the airline will advertise the services right up to your check-in date, avoiding them will help you cut back. Sitting in a random seat and forgoing that expensive sandwich meal deal is a savvy move.  
5. Sign up to tourism newsletters  
Looking for a last-minute deal? One of the best ways to bag the best price is to sign up to newsletters. If you’re on the mailing list for companies like Ryanair, Jack’s Flight Club, EasyJet or Holiday Pirates, you may be the first to find out about exclusive deals.  
6. Try house-sitting instead 
You’ve watched the 2006 Christmas classic The Holiday, right? Take a leaf out of Iris’ book and house-sit so that you can travel. There are plenty of sites and apps that match people to homes all around the globe. One of the most popular is TrustedHousesitters.
Woman with dog housesitting
House-sitting or pet-sitting can be a unique way to explore a new place
When you have signed up and paid a small joining fee, you can reach out to app users who need your services. Whether it’s looking after a cat in London or feeding chickens in the south of France, there are plenty of free opportunities to pique your interest.
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