There are many excuses we tell ourselves that hold us back from travelling. We often tell ourselves that we don’t have the time, or the money, or the motivation to plan it all. However these excuses are only true if we allow them to be. Holiday packages can take the hassle out of booking, forgoing that expensive coffee every day will soon add up to a decent chunk of savings and the only time you have is now so it pays to make time to travel. Travelling improves your life in so many ways and what it gives back to you is worth so much more than just the cost of your trip. Just in case you needed a little reminder, we’ve put together a list of 10 ways travelling makes you a better person.
It’s no surprise that some time off work spent kicking back is going to make you happy, but it goes deeper than that. A San Francisco State University study found that people who invested in experiences rather than material possessions were significantly happier. It doesn’t mean you need to fly around the world to enjoy the benefits of travel either, even a little weekend away or daytrip somewhere new will do the trick.
People often see holidays as a ‘luxury’ that isn’t prioritised as much as say, that electricity bill that just arrived or even that spiffy pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing off. However, with most people living in big cities where the cost of living continues to rise, going somewhere else can make you feel rich. These days $5 will hardly buy you lunch, yet in Thailand it’ll get you a three course meal and a massage! There’s also nothing like seeing how other people live (and struggle) to make you realise just how good you’ve got it.
Whether it’s fellow intrepid travellers or just the friendly locals, you meet some amazing friends while travelling. It’s funny, but the people you meet while travelling often seem much cooler than those you meet back home. A study by the University of Colorado offers a possible explanation for this – people who travel are often perceived as more likeable and charismatic.
You might think that business class you’ve been thinking of taking is going to increase your IQ but that’s nothing compared to the finance and problem solving abilities you’ll gain trying to figure out how much you’re paying for that bowl of katsu and which train is going to get you to where you need to go fastest and for the best price.
Travelling requires a lot of patience and an open mind. Whether it’s trying to communicate with people who speak another language or sharing the cramped conditions of a packed train with complete strangers, travel forces you out of your comfort zone and into situations where shared humanity is your only commonality and it’s a beautiful thing. It also helps you to realise how insignificant your first world problems really are.
You may think that gap year also leaves a gap in your resume but in fact it will probably count in your favour. Travelling teaches you communication skills, time management, problem solving, planning and organisation and decision making skills. These are all assets that potential employers will be impressed by, along with flexibility, tolerance and a fresh perspective. Travel could mean the difference between you getting your dream job over the other candidates.
Let’s face it, with so many different factors all needing to line up at the right time in the right place, there will often be ‘challenges’ while on the road. This is actually a good thing. It teaches you one of life’s most powerful lessons – resilience. Whether the language barrier is causing you grief or you’ve been swindled into overpaying by a wily local, you’ll soon learn to let the little stuff go and that regardless of the bumps in the road, the show and indeed the holiday, will go on.
There’s nothing like overcoming adversity to make you feel like Rocky Balboa claiming victory as ‘Eye of the Tiger’ plays in the background. The more you travel, the more confident you’ll feel in everything from your sense of direction to your haggling skills. When you’re out of your comfort zone, in a place where they don’t speak your language, surviving and managing to have a good time while you’re at it makes you feel like the champion of the world.
When you’ve got no one to rely on but yourself, your independence has a chance to shine. Even if you’re not travelling by yourself, exploring new cultures will make you a lot more independent. You may even just surprise yourself. With no one to hold your hand or tell you how to do things, you’ll just have to figure it out for yourself. The feeling when you finally master Japan’s rail system all on your own is pretty amazing.
Even if you’re not the arty, crafty type travelling opens up previously unknown horizons. In fact, travelling has been scientifically proven to make you more creative. Whether it awakens your mind to new ways of thinking or just awakens your inner Macguyver when your overstuffed suitcase finally breaks, travel can make you more creative.
How has travel improved your life? Do you feel that travel has help you become a better or happier person?