Not only health, frequent travel damages relationships too

  • IANS, London
  • Updated: Aug 05, 2015 20:05 IST
From flight delays to baggage loss to pick-pocketing, there's so much that can happen to you on a trip. Be prepared the next time you pack your bags and we tell you how. (Shutterstock)

That there are adverse health effects to frequent travel, isn't a new thing. But did you know that by striving to travel far, wide and frequently, you are not only damaging your health but also spoiling relationships with loved ones.

These are the findings of an interesting study.

The appealing images of a traveller portrayed in the media do not take into account the damaging side effects such as jet-lag, deep vein thrombosis, radiation exposure, stress, loneliness and distance from community and family networks.

You must have seen a man in a sharp suit, reclining in a leather chair, laptop open in front of him, a smiley stewardess serving a scotch and soda.

"This is often the image of travel, particularly business travel portrayed in TV ads and glossy magazines. But there is a dark side to this glamorised 'hypermobile' lifestyle that the media and society ignores,” explained Dr Scott Cohen from University of Surrey in Britain in a statement.

The researchers from University of Surrey and Lund University in Sweden found that those with “hypermobile” lifestyles were often seen as having a higher social status.

By assessing how first-class flights, “must-see” destinations and frequent-flyer programmes are represented, the study shows how the “dark side” of travel is ignored.

"The level of physiological, physical and societal stress that frequent travels places upon individuals has potentially serious and long-term negative effects that range from the breaking down of family relationships, to changes in our genes due to lack of sleep,” Dr Cohen noted.

It is not only traditional media that perpetuates this image.

"Social media encourages competition between travellers to 'check-in' and share content from far-flung destinations,” the authors noted.

The reality is that most people who are required to engage in frequent travel suffer high levels of stress, loneliness and long-term health problems.

"There are also wider implications for the environment and sustainability. In this context, hypermobility seems far from glamourous,” they added.

The researchers call for more discussion on the adverse effects of hypermobility, to realistically reflect the negative impact of frequent and long-haul travel.

"Society needs to recognise that the jet-set lifestyle is not all it's made out to be,” Dr Cohen concluded.

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