It’s hard to find something bad to say about traveling. Opening up your mind to different cultures and seeing the world in new ways will always be enriching, not to mention exciting, but travel isn’t for everyone. Travel also isn’t always accessible. So if you have the chance, we definitely recommend taking it up since seeing the world is one of the greatest privileges in life.
If you’ve never been traveling and you’re unsure whether to take the plunge, or you’re simply looking for an excuse to book your next trip, our guide explores 9 of the many reasons that traveling is so important when it comes to living a fulfilled life.
From the connections you can make to the creativity you could spark and right down to all the health benefits of getting a hard-earned break from the grind, it’s all here. Let’s get into it.
Educating yourself about other cultures
The world is a big place and it’s easy to slip into a life that’s isolated to your experiences and immediate surroundings. However, people live in many different ways around the globe with different values and social structures that could shift your perspectives.
You can learn a lot from reading travel guides and educating yourself at home, but nothing beats the lessons you’ll learn from visiting foreign lands and exposing yourself to different cultures. There are a lot of reasons to take a holiday, and one might be to escape your daily life or unfavorable seasons back home. But even if life was all sunshine and rainbows, we’d still find value in travel because growth and adventure are found in the unknown.
It’s hard to relate to how other people on the other side of the world live, and the best way to be truly enlightened is by visiting yourself and getting to know the culture of the people with which you share the planet. A life untravelled is a sheltered one and the more you learn about other people, the more you’ll learn about yourself.
Hearing new languages; eating exotic cuisine; witnessing geographic diversity—it’s all educational. You could also learn how abundant you are when it comes to things like clothing, food, housing, and water compared to those less fortunate. Learning gratitude can help you feel much more fulfilled in your own life when you do return. Embracing other cultures can also make you more tolerant toward people from all walks of life.
We’ve all joked about how our gap-year backpacking adventures really helped us to “find ourselves”, but there’s usually truth in humor and travel can be a great way to realign with yourself and figure out what you want from life. Forcing yourself to be independent, navigate foreign lands, and interact with all kinds of people can throw interesting challenges your way but could, in turn, liberate your ego.
You could discover that you’re capable of much more than you once thought. While many people go traveling after school or university and this is their first real experience of independence, travelers who get away on regular trips well into adulthood will still learn things about themselves and push their personal skills to limits they didn’t know possible.
People who have traveled a lot tend to be more adaptable to changes outside of their control and could be better equipped to overcome problems and hardships since they’ve become accustomed to the unexpected. Solo travel, in particular, can help you listen to yourself, start doing things you enjoy again or find things you never knew you loved, as well as creating harmony with your soul and nature.
Not to mention, travel can also help you become a much more confident individual. There’s also a lot of joy to be found in beautiful landscapes, making you an all-around happier person.
Anyone who’s done their fair share of traveling will tell you that some of the best connections they’ve ever made were on long stints abroad. It’s easy to get on with people around you who have similar upbringings, but it’s just as easy to get stuck in a pattern of limiting your friendships to people who might be stubborn in their ways of looking at the world. This will only reflect badly on you.
Hometown connections will always be special, but opening yourself up to people from all walks of life promises enriching and rewarding friendships.
However, where people you meet abroad might differ from you in beliefs, nationality, and experiences, you’ll always have something in common in that you have a shared passion for travel. This is why staying in hostels and booking group tours are some of the best things you can do on your travels since you’ll be exposed to a lot of new faces but already share an interest in the places that you’re visiting.
Meeting new friends can also take you down exciting paths on your travels. Tagging along with fellow travelers and venturing off the beaten path as a result of recommendations could promise new adventures that your itinerary held you back from.
Traveling isn’t all about the enlightening experiences and the crazy adventures you might have. We all need a break sometimes and taking yourself away for some sun, sea, and relaxation can do a world of good for your mental health.
That elusive work-life balance seems harder than ever to find in today’s society, but scheduling regular holidays that take you away from your routine and usual surroundings can really help you get there. If you dread the sound of your alarm in the morning and just feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get through your to-do list, then a few weeks away or even a few months to break some of your unhealthy patterns can be the best stress-buster.
Feeling the sun on your face and breeze in your hair, or the snow on your face and brisk mountain air (depending on where your travels take you) can nurture you from the inside out. When you feel good, you glow, and a bit of a sun tan can go a long way too, provided you use SPF.
Eliminating stress also has a lot of other health benefits like reducing the signs of aging, preventing acne and eczema flair-ups, reducing the risk of panic attacks, and even preventing heart attacks. All this considered, travel has the potential to lengthen your life.
Work can wait—prioritizing yourself, if you have the means to, should always come first.
You don’t have to be a full-time nomad to be fulfilled by travel. One of the best things about seeing the world is coming away with memories that will last a lifetime. No matter how long or short, there’s a high chance that your travels will be some of the most cherished moments in your life and only make you feel all the more content to have been able to have them.
Travel stories are also great icebreakers and anecdotes no matter where you are later in life. Likewise, hearing someone else’s travel stories can tell you a lot about them and add substance to their character. If you have travel stories to share, there’s a high chance you’ll come across as a more well-rounded individual.
Don’t forget to bring a camera and take lots of photos on your travels, whether that’s just on your phone or if you plan to collate a scrapbook of polaroids. Photos are memories that you can pocket; looking back on them will only bring you warmth.
Traveling in itself is an adventure, especially if you do it with little planning. But since you’re already out of your comfort zone, traveling also gives you great chances to try things you wouldn’t usually do at home, or perhaps aren’t even possible where you come from due to geography and climate.
From scuba diving to bungee jumping; farmwork to yachting, there are certain places in the world that are suited to certain activities and traveling gives you the opportunity to try them out. Extreme sports are especially popular with travelers, and although questionable health and safety regulations have something to do with this, you might find that things like sky-diving, surfing, and skiing just aren’t possible where you come from—not to mention, they’re much more scenic outside of your home country.
What’s more, these adventurous experiences could be much cheaper than they are at home, depending on where you go, and so much more accessible to you when you’re traveling. Some people go traveling just to get their diving certificate or surf some acclaimed waves, and if you’re into adventure, that’s more than enough reason to expand your horizons and visit somewhere equally exciting.
Traveling isn’t all about going at it alone or putting yourself out there with strangers. Rather, travel is a great opportunity to reconnect with a loved one or bond with family members. Those special relationships that you already have can be hard to nurture when you’re stuck in your routine, but traveling enables you to dedicate time to doing things together and create memories that you’ll always be able to look back on.
Dramatic landscapes and once-in-a-lifetime experiences are also undeniably romantic. If you’re going through a bad patch with a partner or just want to relight the flame, a trip to an exotic land could help bring happiness and intimacy back to your relationship. You’re bound to get on better with your loved ones when you’re both destressed and rejuvenated too, even if that means taking your own solo trips and reaping the benefits when you’re back together.
Developing business ideas
Your best ideas come to you when you’re able to relax, connect with yourself, and be imaginative. If you’re an entrepreneur, or even if you’re trying to figure out whether a career change or new venture is right for you, traveling is a great time to brainstorm.
It could be as simple as figuring out a passion you didn’t know you had, or a bit more complex like developing a business idea from something you’ve seen in practice in a foreign country that you might then implement in your own business back home. Getting an understanding for foreign markets can really help in certain sectors.
You might also have the option to travel for business and this can be a great way to nurture important business relationships and expand your horizons. Travel isn’t all about taking time off, you might need to work to sustain your life of travel or take trips for conferences and investment research. Looking beyond your immediate environment for inspiration is always a good thing for business, no matter what you do.
Learning organizational skills
Another big part of the independence of travel is making sure you actually get yourself there. From saving money to booking flights to following time schedules and getting yourself from A to B once you’re actually in a new place: traveling makes you accountable for yourself and will teach you indispensable organization skills.
There is also tons of pleasure to be found in planning. Sometimes the build-up to a trip is almost as good as the trip itself and it could bring joy and hope into your daily life knowing that you have something to organize and look forward to.
Can you still travel if you work full-time?
You don’t need to quit your job to see the world. Even with full-time employment, you can fit a lot of traveling in, you just have to be strategic and plan ahead. If you get dedicated holiday days in your contract, you’re already on the right track. Most employers in the UK offer workers 21 to 34 days of paid annual leave, which equates to around three to six weeks that you could spend on various trips. If you don’t get annual leave, you could consider taking your work away with you or making the most of the weekends and doing lots of short breaks.
How do people travel and work?
If you want to live a life entirely on the road, but still need money to get by, there are tons of travel jobs that you could do from anywhere in the world, most of which only require a laptop/desktop and a Wi-Fi connection. Some of these include travel blogging, teaching English (both online and in person), freelance photography, and social media marketing. Or if you want to do something more practical, you could become a yachty, a tour guide, a water sports instructor, or get a job in the hospitality industry, provided you can obtain the appropriate work permits.
What do I need to go traveling?
Aside from a bit of ambition and your own two feet, the first thing you need to go traveling is a valid passport, and depending on where you go, you’ll need to check if your passport grants you entry into the country you want to visit. You might need to obtain a Visa before you jet off if not.
Some other things that also come in handy when traveling include plug adapters for the country you’re in, portable phone chargers, travel towels, bug repellent, sun cream, rain macs, and enough cash. We recommend arriving with at least $50-100 in local currency so that you don’t need to use the ATMs at an airport. Depending on where you visit, we recommended having a budget of $1,500 a month as well.