Lazy People, Rejoice: Science Says It's Totally OK for You to Hate Traveling

ByEJ Dickson

If you're the type of person who gets exhausted from looking at your friend's Instagram photos from Bali, boy, does science have good news for you: All that traveling your friends are doing is highly overrated.

According to a study from the University of Surrey and Lund University in Sweden, while people with "hypermobile" lifestyles might seem glamorous on social media, they're more likely to be at risk for developing such diseases as "jet lag, deep vein thrombosis, radiation exposure, stress, loneliness and distance from community and family networks" than people who don't travel extensively.

Suck it, globe-trotting Instagram couples! Enjoy your jet lag and deep vein thrombosis. We'll be at home alone, eating Mexican food and brewing some farts in an IKEA POÄNG chair.


The study: The authors of the study examined how frequent travel is typically depicted in TV and print advertising, as well as social media. They found that while people who travel often are perceived as having "higher status" than those who do not, frequent fliers are more at risk for developing various health conditions.

"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," the study's lead author, Scott Cohen, said in a press release

Cohen also stressed social networks like Instagram and Foursquare's roles in perpetuating the myth of the aspirational jet-setting lifestyle. "Social media encourages competition between travelers to 'check in' and share content from far-flung destinations," he wrote. "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."


How Instagram is driving us bonkers: The findings of the study are particularly relevant in light of Instagram envy, which we know is sparked by seeing glamorous, expertly filtered photos of your friends' jaunts to India and Coachella and Paris and all the other places you would totally visit but air travel is so expensive and also you're expecting a furniture delivery and your second cousin just had a baby so you've got way too much on your plate right now.

While it might sound like a stretch to claim that Instagram is actively making you feel worse about your sedentary lifestyle, research says that's what seems to be happening. According to a 2013 Carnegie Mellon study, seeing your friends' photos on your social feeds correlates with feelings of loneliness, resentment, and even depression.

So the next time you happen to stumble across your friend's sun-kissed selfies from the azure shores of the Amalfi Coast, don't reflexively like the pic, as per usual. Instead, drop a passive-aggressive link to this study with the following warning, courtesy of Cohen: 

"Society needs to recognize that the jet-set lifestyle is not all it's made out to be. By striving to travel far, wide and frequently we are damaging the environment, ourselves and potentially our closest loved ones."

Hear that, frequent fliers? You're not just hurting yourselves, you're hurting us. Now go back to bed for a few days, order in pizza, bask in the scent of your own farts and think about what you did.