[article] Traveling the world and exploring new places can change your life. It exposes you to new cultures and can help shape your mindset. Lots of time we focus on the downside of travel -- you can gain weight, spend too much money and party too hard. But traveling can also make you a healthier, better version of yourself. It's not all about the parties and the food tours and the souvenirs. Last January, the U.S. Travel Association launched a multi-year “Travel Effect” advocacy and awareness campaign to emphasize and explore the healthy side of travel. We suspect the results will prove our theory that travel has a unparalleled effect on us. Without further ado, seven ways being a traveler can make you lead a happier, healthier life. Improve Your Social Skills Meeting new people is one of the great upsides of traveling. Whether it's chatting up your hostel roommate, making small talk with your seat-mate on a train or having a lively discussion at a local bar, you will be forced to improve your social skills (especially if you're traveling solo). If new situations tend to make you anxious, traveling is a sure way to take steps toward reducing that anxiety. Reduce Stress Taking time off is an obvious way to recharge and reduce stress levels. But while staying home and resting is a worthy use of your time off, traveling removes you from your everyday life and lets you truly escape. Traveling lets you put aside your daily responsibilities and focus on yourself for a moment. When you return home you'll feel refreshed and have the motivation you felt drained of before you left.