How Holidays Can Be Good For Your Health

October 4, 2019

For many of us, travel can be a relaxing experience and the perfect time to switch off away from our daily lives. For others, it’s a time to explore, go on adventure tours and squeeze in as many activities as possible. Travelling with DFDS means you can relax as soon as you step onboard and discover different cultures, cuisine and environments in a matter of hours. Plus, it’s proven that both the anticipation of going on holiday, as well as being away, can help improve wellbeing and overall happiness

We’ve taken a look at how you can make the most of relaxing on holiday, from the moment you set off.

How to relax on holiday

With a huge variety of holiday types at our fingertips, from sports to spas, exploring to relaxing; there’s an opportunity for us all to unwind. Ferries to Europe are a popular option for families, couples and solo travellers in the UK to easily hop across the Channel to hundreds of destinations including Holland, France and further afield. The onboard bars, restaurants, shops and even cinemas are a far cry away from the busy queues and long waits in airports and with DFDS you can start your holiday stress-free.

Watching the English coast fade further into the distance only adds to the anticipation of time away and is arguably a preferable method of travel than a restrictive aeroplane seat with potential turbulence and lack of legroom.

Although it’s easy enough to book a trip, being able to relax whilst we’re away can still prove difficult so it’s important to plan your holiday to give yourself the best experience and the time to really unwind.

On your first day, why not take a stroll around the cobbled streets of Amsterdam or take a leisurely canal cruise to get your bearings? Scout out the best restaurants and beaches or combine them both at St Malo, in Northern France, sampling their famous oysters in a beachside restaurant, and just generally get a feel for the place. Taking books that you’ve been trying to find time to read or using your camera to capture the natural beauty of your destination are both great ways to relax too. You can share your holiday snaps with us too at #DFDS

Creating a Spotify playlist to listen to on your holiday will help associate those happy, exciting songs with your trip away. Not only do playlists distract and help you to unwind, but when you play it in the future it will remind you of those special holiday memories once you are home.

According to our own research, one week to 10 days is the preferred length of a holiday for people in the UK, with two weeks the second most popular, which gives you plenty of time to really unwind and have a proper break. At DFDS we make sure that you get into relaxation mode from the moment you step onto our ferries. With activities for children of all ages, top chefs and fantastic restaurants onboard, premium lounges and marine wildlife mini cruises, we make sure your journey is part of the excitement – or a route to relaxation.


Travelling is often said to encourage creativity. If you’re struggling with a creative block, or need some inspiration for upcoming projects, taking a break to a colourful city in Europe, or a beautiful beach will help get those creative juices flowing. The top three types of holidays that help UK travellers relax are beach holidays, culture and sightseeing, and city breaks.

With these types of holiday in mind, we’ve taken a look at some inspirational places that will make you want to start planning your next break.

The most relaxing destinations

Beach holidays are a great way to enliven your senses; the smell of the ocean, the feel of the sand and water on your skin, the breeze in your hair. The beaches of Normandy and Brittany are just hours away by ferry and the rise of urban beaches in the Netherlands are helping Dutch people and tourists alike to unwind.

Trying a new experience like Amsterdam’s City Street Spa’s O2 bubble and face mapping sessions will invigorate your senses, helping your mind and body to relax or hiring a bicycle and cycling through the Amsterdam’s parks will connect you with nature and help you unwind.

A cultural trip can be full of new exciting colours, flavours, views and artwork. The beautiful French medieval town of Saint-Emilion in Bordeaux is a splash of colour in the vineyard-lined hillside. Unwind with a glass of wine in hand or get in touch with nature and cycle through the countryside. With a population of 500, the beautiful village of Giverny on the Normandy border is the site of Claude Monet’s riverside house and garden. Complete with lilies, weeping willows and pink shutters, Giverny will provide peace and quiet for every traveller.

It’s about the journey, not just the destination

Slowing down your journey home will give you more time to enjoy, reflect and reminisce about the great memories you made during your time away. Booking a ferry home gives you another chance to unwind, put your feet up and flick through your holiday photos whilst sipping on a cocktail or having a delicious meal.

Wherever you choose to go away, it is likely to be a great decision for improving your wellbeing as well as a positive way to connect with friends and family. Our research has shown that taking a break is vital in restoring our energy and happiness levels, as well as providing us the opportunity to find out something new both about ourselves and different cultures. And don’t just take our word for it, here’s what the experts have to say…

Why travel is important for wellbeing

Ruth Nightingale, a gestalt psychotherapist, explained to us why travel is great for our wellbeing:

“Most of us have rules that we live by (often ‘I should’, ‘I shouldn’t’ or ‘I ought to’) that can be relaxed when we are away from our work, social and familial responsibilities. We have ‘permission’ to do something different.”

Whether it’s sampling a local delicacy or seeing a capital city from Europe’s highest swing, like you can at the A’DAM Lookout, stepping out of your daily routine does wonders for your wellbeing. The residents of Sheffield clearly agree with us, as we found them to be the city that book the most time away in the UK – with 10 per cent taking six holidays in the past year.

Booking a holiday to benefit wellbeing is also increasingly popular with the younger generations, who also said they wished they could take more time off to go away. Nightingale explained to us the possible reasons behind this trend:

“Between the ages of 16 and 34 are the times when we are holding the most expectations of ourselves and others. These expectations, both real and imagined, are stressful, therefore we are more in need of a break. We also have more drive to make a difference, more to prove, a need to build a stable base for us to grow/exist on. As we grow older our needs and activities change and we are more able to stand back from the pressure that the younger adults feel.”

Caroline Purvey, founder of the 5-step wellbeing programme TRE UK, gave us her recommendations for a stress-free holiday:

“Enjoy the outdoors, walking, the sights and fresh air. Relax and sleep to allow the body to rest and recharge. Read positive or motivational books or stories that have a happiness factor. Enjoy each moment. Switch off the phones and the laptops, leave your out of office messages. Take a complete break.”

So there you have it, taking a holiday is actually good for your health! So what are you waiting for? Visit and plan your next getaway.

*Research conducted by DFDS with 2,000 UK adults.

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