A new survey by Medical Travel Compared has found that taking an overseas holiday is important to the mental health of 96% of Brits, with almost two thirds (63%) feeling it is extremely important.
Coinciding with National Stress Awareness month, the survey results highlight the importance and true value to our mental health and physical wellbeing that taking a holiday brings.
Over two thirds (68%) of the 2,326 UK-based respondents surveyed said their mental health and wellbeing has been impacted negatively due to not being able to take a holiday over the past couple of years, with 87% planning an overseas holiday this year to rectify the negativity of the past two years.
Almost one in three (29%) say they feel like they haven’t truly been able to relax without taking a proper holiday. A fifth (19%), state that they feel a lot more stressed because of not being able to have a holiday, with the same amount agreeing they feel like they haven’t been able to escape reality, all of which is having a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost half (42%) of those surveyed went away on average twice a year overseas, with over a third (38%) taking three or more holidays per year.
Since March 2020, over half of those surveyed (57%) have not been on any overseas holidays. Just 12% went away twice – a huge drop compared to pre-pandemic (above 42% went away twice a year)
Of those who attempted to take a break, 70% had an overseas holiday cancelled or cancelled one themselves due to the pandemic and 27% of those had had three or more holidays cancelled.
The number one driver for Brits booking a holiday is for relaxation purposes, with 65% of people saying that this was the main reason for travel. This was followed by spending quality time with loved ones (45%), the joy of travel (40%), exploring new destinations (30%), and over a quarter stating for mental health (27%).
Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director at Medical Travel Compared says, “We’re all aware of the positive impact a holiday can have on your mental health and wellbeing. The toll of the last two years means more people than ever before are likely suffering from mental health conditions. For travel insurance cover to be valid, a customer needs to disclose any medical condition they have been diagnosed with or treated for, which includes depression and anxiety. Previous research has shown that people are not aware of this. It’s as important as ever to make sure that when arranging your travel insurance cover, these conditions are declared to ensure full coverage.
Tommy adds, “We continue to work with a wide range of specialist insurers to ensure that our customers have choice to compare coverage. Our website has a number of helpful guides, including top tips from Dr Sarah Jarvis. It’s important that we continue to help customers ensure they are fully protected when they travel to focus on making up for so much lost time.”
Dr Sarah Jarvis, Medical Travel Compared medical advisor says, “As a GP, I see first-hand the impact of stress on mental health, and how much mental health has suffered because of all the uncertainty of the pandemic. Having regular holidays where you can switch off and relax is a key aspect of mental self-care at any time, and never more than now, when so many of us haven’t had a break for 2 years. Of course, when you do go away it’s essential to do all you can to ensure that you avoid unnecessary stresses that could mean you return the opposite of rested. Making sure you have the right travel insurance is an important precaution to avoid just this.”
Medical Travel Compared works with more than 30 specialist insurance providers to help travellers compare the best deals from providers offering travel cover for those with pre-existing medical conditions. Travellers complete a simple question set and a list of cover and premium options are returned by the team of experts who fully assess each request, so that customers can be assured they get the right cover for their unique circumstances.
Looking to the future, COVID-19 is still the biggest concern in people’s minds when it comes to overseas travel in 2022 (57%) followed by the rising cost-of-living (48%) and global conflicts (42%). Almost a third (31%) say that these events have had no effect on their willingness to book a holiday this year, with 68% saying they are unlikely to prevent them going on holiday.