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There are plenty of reasons you should travel. You get to experience new cultures, step out of your comfort zone, and become a better global citizen. But, if there’s one time in particular you should make it a point to travel, it’s before a major life event.
“Vacation and travel are designed to be a rest, break or variation from our normal lives,” Lindsay Henderson, a psychologist who treats patients virtually via the telehealth app, LiveHealth Online, told The Points Guy. This can be particularly valuable around periods of transition in life, as travel allows for the time and space to reflect and recharge. It can also contribute to personal growth and development that we need and crave during times of transition.”
After all, there’s a reason things like honeymoons and babymoons exist. Major life changes come with a lot of excitement and positive anticipation. But, they also come with a lot of stress and anxiety. Having a child, graduating from college (or seeing your kids off to school), and getting married: These are all moments that alter your life tremendously. And it’s for that very reason you should consider taking a trip before those milestones.
And no, you don’t have to empty your savings account (or cash out all your points) for one of these benchmark getaways. The important thing about your trip, even if it’s a short drive from home or an inexpensive weekend away, is that you take time to relax, unwind and reflect on whatever change is coming your way.
1. Before Having a Baby
Babymoons have become incredibly popular recently (think: the Bahamas in January, or Hawaii in May). After all, who wouldn’t want to get away and rest up before the months of sleepless nights ahead? But, more than enjoying some downtime before the chaos, it’s also a chance to focus on yourself and your relationship.
“When you have a baby, your life changes dramatically,” Jenn Mann, author of The Relationship Fix, told TPG. “Particularly when it comes to babies and women, your whole life focus changes, especially for a first baby. When you go from being single or a couple to being a [parent], you spend the first three years focusing on the needs of this little being, and not yourself. A babymoon is an opportunity to have a last hurrah of that life, and it puts gasoline in the tank of your romantic life with your partner to make it through the rough times.”
2. After Graduating From School
Backpacking through Europe after finishing college is almost a rite of passage at this point. Why? That time is some of the most pivotal in anyone’s life.
“It is rare to have the luxury of time once entering the workforce,” said Henderson. “So, there may be no better opportunity to spend several weeks backpacking around Europe or Asia than after college graduation. Taking in the sights, sounds and experiences of the places you adventure to are critical for getting the most of travel, for having the travel shape who you are as a person and how you interact with the world around you moving forward.”
Mann added, “When you’re in college, you’re discovering autonomy, mastery and independence. Traveling only enhances those skills and abilities.”
3. Before Starting a New Job
It’s been dubbed the “jobbymoon,” and it’s that time between jobs when you decide to take a trip. And, according to Mann, it’s a great idea. “It’s so rare these days to have time where you have few or no obligations,” she said. “So, in between jobs when you’re relieved of those demands and day-to-day stress, it’s a great opportunity to travel — if you can afford it — before jumping right into the next gig.”
Plus, sometimes being in between jobs isn’t always a choice. If you were let go, taking a trip is still a good idea. “It turns a negative into a positive,” said Mann. “You now have positive memories associated with the job loss [rather] than negative ones.”
4. When You’re Getting Married
Weddings are a lot of fun. They’re also a lot of work. After all, there are invitations, bands, family requests and floral arrangements to worry about. Sometimes, obsessing over the details of the wedding can actually throw you off from remembering the reason why you’re getting hitched in the first place. What better way to be reminded of that than by taking a little getaway before walking down the aisle with your partner to disconnect from the marital madness and reconnect with each other?
“Wedding planning is incredibly stressful, and most people don’t realize how stressful it is,” said Mann. “It’s one of those things where stepping away puts things in perspective, which is a real positive. It gives you time to focus on the connection instead of the planning.”
Plus, we can think of at least one celeb who kickstarted the trend. So, you know it’s a good idea.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the traditional post-wedding honeymoon. Although honeymoons have been around for a while, the reasoning for taking one has shifted slightly. It used to be a trip you took with your significant other to mark the first overnights together. Now, as modern couples often travel and live together prior to their wedding day, it’s more about recovering from the stress of the planning process. And that’s important.
“Many couples may feel that their wedding is more about others than it is about them,” said Henderson. “A honeymoon can serve as the perfect [antidote] to that; an opportunity to relax in a way that is all about the newlyweds and what they want. It is also a chance to reflect together and mark the start of your new life as a married couple. Remember: A honeymoon is not about a luxury or money able to be spent, it is about time alone to celebrate each other.”
5. When the Nest Empties
Much like traveling after college or in between jobs, taking a trip after your kids move out marks the end to a major responsibility. While that can be exciting and relieving, it’s also a big change that can bring about a lot of fear for the future. Purposefully planning a trip around that time can help dampen the sting of the change.
“Use a trip after your kids move out to mark a transition in a positive way and create a milestone event,” said Mann. “It’s a nice time to refresh and rejuvenate and be not fearful of change.”
Henderson agreed, adding, “The very act of going on vacation can be defined by temporarily taking on a new mindset, and this can be noteworthy as one is recovering from a life change. The act of recovering from or processing a change, like your grown children leaving your home, [is] best managed by giving time, space and intention to the transition. Travel can provide this.”
6. Following a Breakup
Breakups suck. But, traveling after one can be a healthy step toward beginning life without that significant other. “I’m all for a breakup vacation,” said Mann. “It’s a fantastic idea. It’s nice to have a change of scenery and be reminded of your independence.” Her advice? Pick a place you always wanted to go — and your partner didn’t. “It’s all about celebrating that you can do what you want now.”
Feature image by Kiattisak Lamchan / EyeEm / Getty Images.
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