Why Travel is Important to your Professional Career
Updated: Jun 13
It is a fact that travel is most often associated with relaxing and having a good time. While this is true in most cases, travel is much more than that. Travel can be experienced in many different ways, from exploring a faraway land by yourself to volunteering in a local community. When we travel abroad, we escape our daily routine and get out of our comfort zone. We experience things that we could never encounter at home. We learn how to cope with unfamiliar situations and challenges. It’s these experiences that change us positively. And often these Benefits of Travel overlap with our career. Learn here why travel is important to your professional career!
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Traveling makes you more open-minded
Every time we travel, we are offered the opportunity to engage in new activities and learn new things. Whether you are learning about a local tribe in Kenya or going on a boat tour to spot whales in Canada, these new experiences will affect you. Add to that the fact that you most likely will have to deal with and work out solutions to unfamiliar situations when abroad. Not only will these moments and situations make you wiser, but they will also help you become more open-minded. Open-mindedness refers to the willingness to try new things or to hear and consider new ideas. As the work environment is all about solving problems and presenting new ideas, it is an important skill to have.
Traveling increases your cultural understanding and global competence
While abroad, you have to immerse yourself in a new culture. These cultures are often very different than at home. Even though in the beginning it might seem challenging, after some time of immersion you will learn how to accept and appreciate these cultural differences. You will improve your cultural understanding of how different societies work. It is this heightened awareness and understanding that help you interact with colleagues and partners from various cultural backgrounds in the future. In today’s increasingly globalized world, this is an important skill to master. More and more companies are starting to branch out internationally, working with a culturally diverse workforce. Global competence and cultural understanding are key to successful collaboration.
Traveling improves your social and communication skills
One of the key reasons why travel is important to your professional career is that you expand your social and communication skills. These skills are attributes that can be learned and improved, and what better way of doing that than traveling?
Research has verified that you meet far more people while traveling abroad than in your ordinary life at home. It is generally easier to meet people when you find yourselves in the same ‘unknown’ situation. You are in a new environment and are more open to sharing experiences, tips, and advice on where to go, what to do, etc. This makes starting a conversation with other travelers particularly easy. Your openness to meeting new people will make you more sociable.
In addition, you have the opportunity to practice your language skills while traveling. Whether you are meeting fellow travelers or engaging with the locals, you will often be forced to communicate in a different language than your mother tongue. However, if you don’t speak a common language, you are in for a real challenge. It takes a lot of patience, careful communication, and listening skills to make sure you are understood well.
These skills you learn are valuable in your daily life and can be translated into your professional career.
Traveling creates a broad network of connections
When interacting with fellow travelers and locals, you are subconsciously networking. Being in a new place requires interactions, whether it to ask for directions, to check into your accommodation, or to engage with a local guide during a day activity. Networking is a skill that we pick up naturally while traveling, even if we are not intending it. These connections you make along the road might be useful in the future. They may open doors to new job opportunities or long-lasting business relations!
Traveling makes you more self-confident and independent
By traveling abroad and getting out of your comfort zone, you show initiative, courage, and independence. You have to make your own decisions and judgments, unlike at home where your family, friends, or partner influence you. On top of that, you will have to overcome challenges while on the road, whether it is because you booked the wrong bus or you got lost in the busy streets. You will learn how to deal with these uncomfortable situations on your own, and that builds self-confidence and independence in the long-term. These characteristics make you more valuable to your employer and might help you overcome different challenges in your job.
Traveling adds to your life experience and makes you stand out
Traveling abroad shows courage and an invaluable life experience. You sound more interesting as a person because you have visited beautiful places and landscapes, met interesting people and indulged yourself in the local culture. There is no employer that will be turned off by this life experience you gained while traveling! Even more, it will most likely make you stand out to your employer. In today’s increasingly competitive work environment, it is hard to stick out. But, your invaluable travel experiences will definitely do! Traveling abroad is often considered an important factor of “employability”.
Traveling teaches you time and stress management skills
Time and stress management skills are critical when traveling. Just think how much money you would waste if you had poor time management skills… not only would you end up missing important flights or connections, but you would also end up with nothing to do and nowhere to go. While traveling, you will have to deal with many time-sensitive situations. Most of your days require essential time planning and management to get the most out of your holiday.
Time and planning go hand in hand with stress. Whether you are stressed by trying to get from one destination to another or buying food from a shop owner who doesn’t speak the same language. Traveling in a place that is completely new to you can be overwhelming and disorienting at first. The more you travel, the easier it gets to cope with these situations, and thus the better you will become at managing time and stress!
Time and stress management skills can be translated to your work environment where you might have to work under pressure on tight deadlines. Many companies operate in such a fast-changing environment, and thus place a lot of importance to time and stress management skills!
Traveling makes you a planning expert
As stated above, traveling (in most cases) involves continuous planning! This is because plans don’t always work, and often require adaptations or changes along the way. When you are traveling, this could be because of unforeseen circumstances out of your control, such as getting sick or bad weather conditions. These situations teach you how to improvise and quickly come up with alternative suggestions to your planning. This creative planning skill is very essential in a work environment. You will likely have to take on a large workload, which is only manageable by effective planning. Likewise, you will also need to be able to adapt when work plans don’t work out the way they should. At those times, your improvising and creative planning skills will be essential!
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