Travelling seems to be the buzzword on everybody’s lips these days.
With cheap flights and options that vary from short city breaks and luxury staycations to round-the-world trips, it has never been easier (or more affordable) to pack a bag and go. For a day, a weekend, a week, a month or even more.
Seeing amazing architecture, admiring centuries-old pieces of art, tasting new foods and accumulating memorable experiences to last you a lifetime becomes a quasi-addiction that you are only too happy to feed.
I call it The Joy of Travel.
In other words, that indescribable feeling you get when you make the first step on a new journey to discover yet another portion of the world. It doesn’t matter if the journey is of a thousand miles or much, much less. What matters is that it makes you feel alive.
Yet, soon the people around you (like parents, employers and close friends) may start questioning your choice to travel.
- Why do you spend so much money on travelling? Don’t you have a mortgage to pay?
- Why do you need to go there when you have all that you may want at home? Did you know that they don’t sell marmite in shops abroad?!
- Why do you need to go on another city break this year? Haven’t you already been to three?
- Why are you dragging your kids to yet another museum with art by people we have never heard of? Don’t you know that kids simply want to play?
- Why did you take a sabbatical instead of concentrating on your career?
- Why there is a gap in your CV? It seems like you value having fun over working hard.
- What if we hire you and then you leave our company in order to travel more?
These are all difficult questions that everyone who loves travelling has been pressurised with. At least once. Often, countless times.
Yes, on the surface, regular travelling may seem disruptive to an established daily routine which includes family obligations and a good job. It is also draining in terms of money and paid vacation time.
Yet, travelling gives you so much more in return. From the deeply satisfying feeling of being connected to other people and the world to an improved skill set and higher stress threshold.
So, in order to help you deal with those nagging and niggling questions about your travel habits which you may be getting from friends, relatives, colleagues and your (current or potential) boss, here are twenty reasons why travelling is actually good for you.
Read on, enjoy, and use as appropriate!
The Joy of Travel –
20 Reasons Why Travelling Is Good for Your Career, Personal Growth, and Soul
1. Travel Helps You Hone Your Decision-Making Skills
With so many options in terms of travel, you quickly learn to make complex decisions about where to go and when, what accommodation to book and what sights to see. You know that you can’t cram it all into a couple of days, so you precision-pick what you are interested in and what is not your cup of tea. You learn to have at all times several variables in mind. For example:
- money – how much you can afford to spend on accommodation, food and sightseeing;
- distance – how far from your point of interest you can stay; and
- time – how many hours you have at your disposal at each place on your schedule.
The more you travel, the more you hone your decision-making process.
Sooner, you find it easier to make decisions with regards to everything else in your life. At work, this streamlined approach and the ability to juggle several variables and different outcomes is what sets you apart from the rest.
2. Travel Helps You Develop Your Research Skills
Research is a big part of both study and work processes nowadays. The ability to research new ways to do things and having the skills to find out what your competitors are up to can be the decisive factor between failure and success. Both in business and your personal life.
Well, have you noticed how much research you need to do everytime you plan a trip?!
From finding the best tickets in terms of time slots and prices to discovering those hidden gems that all the other tourists miss, a well-conducted research is at the basis of your successful trip.
You can easily transfer your research skills from your travels to your job: monitoring industry leaders’ websites for promotions, discovering blogs and articles by local experts, unearthing little-known bits of information both online and in print.
Research helps save money and find valuable data. Being good at research will take you to the forefront of your field.
3. Travel Helps You Learn to Better Communicate Your Expectations
You can’t be reticent when you travel, especially if you travel as a couple or as a part of a group.
Failing to tell your partner that you really, really want to visit a particular sight may lead to your not seeing it all. People rarely are able to read minds and get tired of always having to ask you what you want to do. Plus, you usually have limited time at each destination. And, once you have left it, you may never have the chance to go back.
So, you quickly learn to communicate exactly what you want to see and do during a particular trip.
Making your expectations clear is a valuable skill in any work environment. It puts everybody on the same page as to what needs to be done and achieved. It also helps prevent conflicts or misunderstandings as no-one likes to have to second-guess what people around them think.
4. Travel Helps You Develop Your Negotiation and Compromise Skills
All this is very good but what happens when you and your travelling partner expect different things from a trip (assuming that you communicated them clearly to one another – see point 3 above).
This is when you soon develop your negotiation skills. You agree to do one thing as long as they agree to something proposed by you. You suggest that you are happy to go to the sea, but it would be nice if next year they come to the mountains with you.
Or, if everything else fails, you both agree to spend a bit of time apart. So, you go to the museum you have always wanted to see and your partner relaxes by the pool all morning book in hand.
It’s all a question of achieving mutually acceptable compromises. Which make travelling so much more enjoyable.
Being a good negotiator can open many professional doors for you. From being able to negotiate the best salary and perks for yourself to being in control during a difficult meeting with a supplier, it all comes down to seeing what the other party is offering, knowing what your limitations are and then marrying both as best as possible without you or the other side losing face.
5. Travel Helps You Fine-Tune Your Organisational and Scheduling Skills
Once you have settled on a destination, it’s time to begin the planning stage. Soon, you become a master of compiling complex schedules. After all, you want to experience the joy of travel to the max. So, even after a strict elimination process, you still pick to do many, many things within one day. In all honesty, back home it would take you weeks to complete the same number of activities.
Still, anything is possible, you reassure yourself. You can definitely:
- arrive early morning;
- drop your stuff at ‘Left Luggage’ at the train station;
- queue (while the queue is still tiny) to climb to the top of Bruneleschi’s dome of the Gothic Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore;
- spend a moment in the adjacent Baptistry;
- walk up to Accademia, pick your pre-booked ticket and simply fall in love with Michelangelo’s David;
- then walk down to Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza dei Signori;
- admire the statues in the Loggia della Signoria;
- pick your pre-booked tickets and spend a spellbinding hour and a half in the Uffizi Gallery;
- walk down to Ponte Vecchio to see the views and the goldsmiths’ shops;
- then pop down to Michelangelo’s birth house followed by a quick visit to the Cathedral of Santa Croce in order to see the tombs of some of Italy’s most notable sons;
- have a sit-down meal at a local restaurant tucking into some Tuscan delights;
- pick your luggage and get on the train to Pisa that same evening; and
- book into your hotel for a good night sleep.
Based on a day I planned for myself and spent in Florence, Italy some years ago. It all worked like a charm and was interspersed with lots of gelato-eating, photo-taking, and window-shopping, too.
Even if your travel style slows down with time, this ability to organise your day and schedule activities in an organic manner (taking in consideration local opening times, the influx of tourists and the walkable distances in town) is a valuable skill.
Being organised, efficient and able to set up and follow a schedule is something to be proud of and it certainly helps a lot both in your family and professional lives.
6. Travel Helps You Be More Flexible and Think on the Spot
Things happen when you least expect them. This seems especially valid when you are on the road.
Last summer our flight from Treviso, Italy to Stanstead, England was canceled just past midnight.
What to do? We spent the night at a hotel (paid by the air company) and in the morning we travelled close to four hours to Bergamo where we were placed on another plane. Then, in accordance with the legal framework, we claimed compensation and, after several phone calls and emails, were paid a small amount for our troubles.
It was inconvenient, unpleasant, and very, very hot. We were travelling with a small child and some rather heavy luggage. But there was nothing we could do to make the plane come pick us up from Treviso airport. Instead, we adjusted ourselves to the situation and managed to reach England after all.
The ability to be flexible is highly valued. Knowing that in spite of your best efforts and adherence to plan, things can still go wrong, will free up space in your mind to think on your feet. This way you are able to react according to the actual circumstances rather than in line with what you want to be happening right now.
7. Travel Helps You Understand the Power of Money and Budgets
Two euros (or pounds) for a coffee doesn’t sound that much. A new top and a new bag are the order of the day when you need a little bit of cheering up. Unfortunately, these spontaneous expenses quickly add up and then you wonder why you are always short of cash towards the end of the month.
When you really want to travel and have amazing experiences, you soon realise that the only thing that stops you from doing it is not having enough money. After all, transport, insurance, accommodation, and food are not free.
Hence, you soon start not only to save any spare euro that you have but also to judge the necessity of each purchase through the prism of your travel plans. A new pair of earrings for 10 euros?! This equals your food budget for a day in a far-flung place. A night out on the town costing you at least 50 euros?! This may buy you a slightly more comfortable hotel room rather than having to stay at a hostel again.
In other words, you quickly learn to prioritise your purchases and to meticulously budget for your time abroad.
On the other hand, once you are at your destination, you are only too aware that not sticking to your daily budget can be the difference between having a great time and finding yourself in financial trouble far away from home. With no immediate support network to help you along, spending above budget 20 euros frivolously every day may be the difference between eating the last few days of your trip or not.
Being good with money and being able to stick to budgets are highly valuable skills both in personal and professional plans. At a time of overconsumption and of companies cutting corners only too willingly, being able to show that you are a dab hand at prioritising expenses and saving money may be your strongest feat.
8. Travel Helps You Sharpen Your Eye for Bargains
In this financial line of thought, travel can also help you develop an uncanny ability to spot a bargain from a hundred feet.
Buying a combined ticket for three sights will save you one third of their individual prices? Done! Waiting for the sales in order to get a new cabin-size suitcase and save 50% off its original price? Excellent!
At the same time, you soon start to differentiate between a real bargain and a false one.
Buying something in a package may not always translate into financial savings. Especially, if due to lack of time, you only end up doing one of the pre-paid things.
Real bargains are great not only for the money you save but also for giving you that fabulous feeling that you have gotten extra value against a portion of the full price.
Knowing the shortcuts and the techniques for achieving bargainous prices will help the budgets of both your family and your company. This will earn you praise and more available money to spend on other (hopefully travel-related) stuff.
9. Travel Helps You Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
People tend to stick to what they know. Be it other people, fashion styles, and even places.
This is why being the newcomer in a tight-knit group can be such a daunting prospect. And why some people tend to spend their every holiday over thirty years at the same resort.
When you embrace the joy of travel for what it really is, i.e. exploring the world and its many different faces, rather sooner than later you need to get out of your comfort zone.
- You may need to get up really early in order to catch a plane. Even though you may not be an early riser at all.
- You may need to approach people and ask in a foreign language (and mainly with your hands) how to get from point A to point B. Even though you are anxious just thinking about talking to strangers.
- You may need to get your point across when you are unhappy about a service. Even though you are non-confrontational to a fault.
Travelling gets you places and most of them are beyond the confines of what you know. Being able to navigate the unknown is a valuable skill and state of mind.
It makes you more self-assured, more confident, more open to the world.
Well-based confidence can give you a competitive edge and get you far ahead on your career path.
10. Travel Helps You Find Creative Ways to Overcome Obstacles
Obstacles may present themselves at any time when you travel.
It could be:
- luggage not arriving at the same time as you;
- weather that is not as nice as the forecast promised;
- large crowds visiting the same sights as you even though the travel guidebook that you read promised that they were off-the-beaten-track.
It could be anything, really. For example, many people come to Italy expecting it to be always sunny and nice outside. But here (especially in Northern Italy) it rains and even snows. So, what to do when you imagined sun-soaked walks, gelato in hand, but instead you are faced with a downpour.
Well, instead of locking yourself in your hotel room and complain on social media about the injustice of it all, you put your creative hat on. You capitalise on things that the country is famous for and which are weather-impervious. Like Italy has lots of thermal baths and spas, large expos, cooking classes, great indoor places for children to play, and so much more that can be done inside (see the full list here, in fact).
This ability to come up with creative solutions to obstacles which may threaten to derail your plans will come in handy in your professional endevours, too. Capitalising on your travel experiences, you may be the person to come up with an out-of-the-box suggestion as to how to overcome a problem your company is facing.
11. Travel Helps You Learn How to Mediate Between People
When you travel with other people (family, colleagues or friends), sooner or later there will be a situation which will make everyone jump against everybody else.
One of your group wants to go to the beach and another wants to shop?! Cue an argument that can spoil the whole day.
Stepping in with a calm head and mediating between people can dissipate the stress. Allowing everyone to express how they feel and setting up firm but fair rules for a respectful exchange is a difficult task but someone has to do it. If you accept the challenge and don’t let emotions rule, everyone will be thankful and much happier at the end of it all.
Mediation is a valuable skill. Knowing when to let people talk and helping them express themselves in a constructive manner will earn you kudos at work and at home.
12. Travel Helps You Expand Your Horizons
Have you ever thought that your country has the best art, the most interesting history and the best looking and most hospitable people?
Well, travel can change your set ideas about the world.
You may come to realise that people have different ways to do the same thing. That certain foods taste better abroad. That every country has unique nature, beautiful art, and lovely people. Just like yours.
This enriches your soul and makes you more appreciative of things which before you might have easily dismissed.
Travel helps you expand your expectations of the world. Hence, you are better prepared to work in a multicultural environment and have a stronger foundation to deal with a team with diverse cultural norms.
13. Travel Helps You Experience a Sense of Purpose and Achievement
In a world overloaded with information which makes us question how happy we are with what we have, travel can bring us closer to that elusive feeling of feeling content.
There is nothing better than the sense of achievement after a long day of exciting sightseeing when, in a short amount of time, you have seen so much.
Be it a visit to an art gallery to enjoy the company of the Old Masters. Be it a hike through a gorgeous place. Be it a food tour savouring your way through the flavours of a nation.
Travel can really make you feel purposeful and full of energy. After all, travelling for most people equals achieving their dreams of seeing certain fabled places and experiencing them for themselves. There is nothing better than having your dreams become reality.
Having this sense of purpose and achievement makes you a happier, calmer person, too. And it propagates into all of the different spheres of your life.
14. Travel Helps You Develop Your Interests
Chances are you travel to places that interest you in order to see things that interest you, too.
Often, lost in the stress of daily life, the first thing we forget to take care of is our hobbies and our personal interests. We may not notice it at first, but making time for them becomes more and more difficult when faced with a demanding family and job.
Travel may be the only chance we get to reconnect with what is important to us.
I used to have a very stressful, high-power job that kept me chained to the computer up to 12 hours a day. Monday to Friday with the weekends often taken over, too. Going on short breaks to Italy to experience its art, food and sun helped me stay sane. Just knowing that Venice was only two hours away from London and that I could easily get there and see all that artistic beauty was enough to give me a bit of respite.
Other people travel in order to practice their photography, to eat new foods, to develop their artistic skills.
When we are too caught in our daily lives, travel opens a little bracket allowing us to re-centre on ourselves, to think about what we want to do with our lives. It also gives us the impetus to start making the changes we need in order to focus more on our own interests (both creative and purely personal).
15. Travel Helps You Awaken Your Creativity
Faced with the exuberance of the world, your heart and your soul soon begin to need to be surrounded by colour and excitement every waking moment.
It could be something as simple as buying colourful fabrics and authentic souvenirs abroad in order to give your home a touch of happiness and creativity.
Or, it could be that after a while you may begin to feel a desire to replicate on home turf the wonderful things that you’ve seen on your travels abroad.
For example, many people are inspired to start a business after falling in love with a particular destination. From importing its food to organising trips to it – the sky is the limit when you feel the creative sparkle in your soul.
I started my blog Rossi Writes led by my excitement of having just moved to live in Italy. Three years later I am still at it and writing has been a great outlet for me during moments of feeling bleak and down.
16. Travel Helps You Get Physically Active
In a world where spending all your time in front of a computer is an acceptable way to lead your life, travel gets us moving.
Getting from point A to point B requires that we leave the house and get on a plane (or train, car, boat). Then, once at our destination, we use our feet to get to know it.
By walking around we see the most exciting, most beautiful things. It could be a walk through a museum; it could be a hike through a stunning landscape. The important thing is that we use not just our mind, but also our body in order to experience the world.
17. Travel Helps You Test Your Resilience to Stress
Being able to work under pressure is a basic job requirement these days. We are supposed to be able to juggle several things at once both at work and home. Obviously, without breaking a sweat.
Travel is the perfect school to test and increase our resilience to stress.
Starting with expecting the unexpected and learning to deal with it, and ending with mastering the communication process with people from different cultures and with different attitudes, travel throws at us many curveballs at any one time.
It may feel scary at the start, but you soon adapt yourself to it all. From learning that eating on your own at a restaurant is not an insurmountable task to not expecting that everything and everyone has to stop to tend to your needs. Travel is character-shaping and -strengthening.
18. Travel Helps You Become More Aware of Health and Safety
At home you may be living in a safety bubble guaranteed first by your parents and then by your partner and/or community. Travel can shift your perspective about the world.
Soon you learn to read people and situations better and to make decisions based not on emotions and fleeting wants but on how safe the experience will be. You learn to keep your guard up. You realise that you are in charge of your decisions and your belongings.
You stop seeing yourself as a fragile flower that needs constant supervision and help. Instead, you act as a grown-up person who can stand up for herself and judge a situation based on observed and perceived dangers.
From simple things like deciding where to eat based on hygiene to much more complicated situations when you need to decide in a split second how to extricate yourself from some potentially unpleasant circumstances, you learn to trust your sixth sense. To appreciate how safe the environment is and to take only measured risks.
19. Travel Helps You Appreciate What You Have
At the end of a trip (be it of several weeks or a day-long) there is nothing better than getting back to your own bed. At least for me.
Having witnessed what the world has to offer – from its most beautiful, most inspiring offerings to its (sometimes) darker side – you begin to look at home with different eyes.
You may have been unsatisfied with your lot in life, but having seen how other people live (and still smile no matter what), you learn to value so much more what you, yourself, have achieved.
What you have may not be loads, but suddenly just it being there, waiting for you to return, becomes a driving force.
Travelling is great! Having something or someone to return to is what gives you roots.
20. Travel Helps You Feel More Connected
Travelling – actively exploring new places and learning about them – makes you feel more connected with the world as a whole. You observe and learn how other people, other cultures live. And through the contact with them, you connect better both with your inner self and those around you.
Through the different experiences you have abroad you learn more about yourself – what makes you tick, what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Through this knowledge, you feel more committed to yourself as a person, more willing to stand up and fight for your dreams.
Through the positive experiences you accumulate when you travel, you feel more engaged with humanity. More open to other people, their stories and their point of view.
And this connection, this feeling of being alive, of belonging is what gives us the strength to continue forward.
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