We all know someone who has come back from a long trip and claims to have been transformed by their travels, the things they saw, the people they met. Traveling creates lifelong memories and can be an ideal environment for introspection. Reading books about the street food in Thailand is great. Watching Travel Channel shows about Borneo jungle explorers is exciting. Looking at pictures of the art in Florence is educational. But let’s face it, these passive experiences just can’t compare with the real thing. Once you read through this list of the top benefits of traveling, you’re sure to have major feelings of wanderlust.
Whether we head to the other side of the country or the other side of the world, for a few days or several months, alone or with a group, when we are fresh out of college or newly retired, there is no doubt about it: traveling can have a profound impact on our lives. You can probably come up with many obvious benefits of traveling, like relieving stress during a vacation from work, or bonding with the family and friends you travel with. Other benefits are subtler and more long-lasting. Grab your passport and pack your suitcase: here are our top four benefits of traveling.
Benefits of Traveling–Why You Should Make Traveling a Priority This Year!
Relate to People More Easily
One of the main benefits of traveling might not be obvious, since people generally travel to see beautiful and famous sights or experience local traditions, and not necessarily with the goal of meeting strangers. However, frequent travelers seem to have an easier time meeting and relating to people they don’t know (both while traveling and in their day-to-day lives) than those who stay home and interact with the same friends and family members every day.
One reason for this is because people who travel have a bigger store of experiences to pull from and therefore can easily find points in common, especially with other travelers. It could also be because they have become comfortable approaching people they don’t know. Even introverts learn how to ask for help or advice during their trips.
If you go into your trip with an open mind and try to limit your expectations of what you think you will encounter, you will find that a lot can be learned from your travels. When we open ourselves to new cultures, customs, attitudes, foods, religions, we gain perspective about the world around us that affects the way we live when we return home. While a few hours without cell phone service might seem impossible at home,being disconnected while hiking up Machu Picchu doesn’t
eem so bad. In fact, you probably won’t even realize you don’t have it.
It can help us appreciate things we might previously have taken for granted, and prompt us to find ways in which we can improve ourselves and our societies. You may experience some culture shock at first, but this will subside.
So next time you get away, take some time to reflect (a benefit of traveling alone is that you have plenty of thinking time) on your own life and on the world around you.
Become More Adventurous
Another one of the major benefits of traveling is the way it affects one’s attitude towards adventure and risk. The simple act of leaving home to explore a new environment is the first step in this process. The willingness to try new things once you get there is even better.
If you get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – to bungee jump off a bridge into a New Zealand gorge, or to be chased by raging bulls in Spain – you’ll most likely take advantage of it. You could be passing up an experience you may never again be presented with. These adventures can be adrenaline-filled, like the examples listed above, but they don’t have to be. They can also include trying local delicacies, like bird’s nest soup or fried grasshoppers! It could even mean striking up conversation with a local in a language you are trying to learn.
People who travel get used to trying new things that may seem crazy or scary. They know that these opportunities don’t come along often and they could be missing out on something great by opting out. This is a quality that they take home with them, and often become more adventurous in their daily lives.
Learn Another Language
Last but not least, traveling is without a doubt one of the best motivators to learn a new language. Of course, it is best to have a few basic words and phrases in your pocket before you leave. Check out the MosaLingua apps and free phrasebooks for travel-specific vocabulary help in six different languages! However, once you land on foreign soil you won’t have a choice but to be immersed in language and culture. Traveling provides an ideal learning environment!
Your native language may be a widely-spoken language like English, and your hand gestures might be top-notch, but locals always appreciate when visitors to their country make an effort to speak their language. You’ll likely get better service and have friendlier interactions if you can at least say please and thank you. Who knows, your cute foreign accent might even win over the hearts of some natives! Bars and cafés are great places to meet locals and improve your language skills while making new friends.
Even if the goal of your trip isn’t to become proficient in a language, by the end of your travels you will almost surely feel comfortable doing basic things like asking for directions, ordering a coffee, and saying hello and goodbye.
By now you’re probably convinced, and already looking into flights and possible destinations. 😉 As you prepare for your trip, take a look at our travel tips to help you get the most out of your journey. If you don’t have the funds or the time to travel right away, you can still get a head start on preparations by learning as much as you can about your dream destinations and building up your language skills. Next time your friends bring up their crazy travel stories, hopefully you’ll have some of your own to share. If you enjoyed this article on the benefits of traveling, then feel free to share it with your friends! Bon voyage!
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