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Study shows giving and receiving kindness during holiday travel relieves stress

Kindness Can Take Stress Out of Holiday Travel

In November 2019, Dignity Health released the results of a national survey conducted to uncover how kindness can impact our health when traveling. While it’s no surprise that most people experience stress while traveling, the survey revealed that kindness can have an outsized effect on our wellbeing while in transit.
According to the survey, three in four travelers have done something kind to make another traveler’s day better and more than half of travelers felt happier after performing that gesture of kindness. What’s more – these small acts of kindness can inspire a ripple effect of kind gestures. A gesture as simple as smiling or asking someone about their day can make all the difference in someone’s travel experience. In fact, smiling would make most travelers (66%) feel less stressed.

Key survey highlights include:

Travel stress is very real.

  • 82% of travelers surveyed find traveling to be stressful.
  • Millennials are more likely to find traveling stressful (25%) when compared to boomers (14%).
  • Rushing (44%) is the most stressful aspect of travelling, followed by waiting (30%) – such as standing in a security line or sitting in traffic – and staying entertained to avoid boredom (12%).

Especially for parents.

  • 1 in 3 parents who’ve traveled with children under the age of 10 most associate holiday travel with stress, irritation and nervousness.

An act of kindness can improve our wellbeing when we’re traveling.

  • Nearly all travelers (97%) agree that receiving kindness from others, as well as being kind to others, can improve their overall wellbeing.
  • 52% of travelers who’ve done something kind for another traveler felt happy after, and 23% felt more connected to their fellow traveler.

Kindness also travels.

  • 1 in 4 travelers (28%) who’ve witnessed someone else’s kindness while traveling felt inspired to do something kind for another traveler afterward.
  • In fact, 74% surveyed have done something kind to make another traveler’s day better, and more than half (54%) of those travelers said another traveler did something kind for them, as well.
  • 66% of respondents say that a smile or greeting from another traveler would make them feel less stressed while traveling – more than any other kind gesture.

The holidays remind travelers to be kind.

  • Nearly half (45%) of travelers said they’re generally more kind while traveling over the holidays.

This holiday season, Dignity Health is helping travelers to alleviate travel stress with a ‘Travel Kind’ checklist that will help travelers pack their most valuable belonging – kindness.

Travel Kind Checklist:

  • Plan accordingly. Allow yourself plenty of time to book travel, plan your itinerary, pack your bags and get to your destination. Time can be a major stressor so do your best to avoid rushing.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not worth getting worked up over a forgotten toothbrush or middle seat assignment.
  • Be empathetic toward fellow travelers. We’ve all experienced confusion at the security line or a fussy baby on a cross-country flight and the only thing that makes it worse is an irritated neighbor.
  • Show compassion toward fellow travelers. Many people may travel year-round but especially during the holidays, there are plenty of first-time travelers who may not feel as comfortable with the experience.
  • Perform a kind gesture. Acts of kindness have a ripple effect when travelling. A small act such as holding the door, helping a traveler with their luggage or retrieving a tossed toy, can go a long way in helping others feel at ease.

Methodology: Dignity Health surveyed more than 1,000 travelers over the age of 18 in the U.S. Fielding was executed in September 2019.