A travel blog is telling you “why you should travel,” how original! Ha.
Well duh! As a travel blogger and someone who has studied, interned and worked abroad, it is not shocking that I believe travel is a good thing. Going abroad changed my entire career trajectory. Living and learning from new people and cultures shook what I thought I knew about the world. I can go on and on.
But in recent years, I can agree there is a surge of people traveling. Millions of people get in their cars, hop on a train, or book a flight anywhere. Some even travel multiple times. So even I wondered, why do we need to travel? Why is travel so good for you? And what are the benefits of traveling the world?
Those questions led me to this post. Being one of those millions of people who travel throughout the year, I think I know a few reasons why you should travel. And I’m here to convince you to try it (at least once). So let’s check them out to understand why do people like traveling anyway?
Why is it important to travel?
Traveling for leisure may not seem important. But do not be fooled; it is. The importance of travel only adds to why you should travel in the first place. It may not always be easy, but it is worth the challenges. These are just five to give you a taste before you experience it yourself again or for the first time.
Traveling helps you unlearn assumptions and stereotypes
Though we may not want to admit it, we all have biases. And no, I’m not talking about food and preferring french toast over pancakes. Instead, I refer to how we view each other based on our identities such as race, ethnicity, gender, etc. Or the biases we have based on cultural traditions that can lead to ethnocentrism.
Over time we receive messages about different countries’ people, politics, and practices without leaving our homes. Travel undoes all of that and allows us to unlearn these biases. We have to get past the culture shock to get there.
However, traveling helps us process that what we see or hear in the media about places is untrue. Most of it is rooted in blatant generalizations and stereotypes. Traveling helps intercultural understanding form. Then we learn that knowing another person’s way of life shows you alternative ways to living too.
Traveling opens your mind
To travel is to become more open-minded and conscious of the world around you. While this applies to unlearning assumptions and stereotypes, travel takes it a step further. Travel gives you a broader perspective on the world and how it works, from mundane tasks to larger issues.
It makes you question why your country drives on one side of the street, and another country does on the other. Or why mealtimes are later or earlier in particular countries. Traveling helps you realize there are customs from other countries you like more than yours. Each experience is opening your mind to a world that teaches you new things every day. It is our job as travelers to be willing to embrace it.
Traveling makes you embrace change
Another reason why you should travel is for increased flexibility and patience. When your flight is delayed, you have to be patient. If your bag is lost, you have to be patient. After living in Spain, I leaned into patience as they have a slower pace of life compared to the U.S. In the end, it was a welcomed change.
Even the most detail-orientated people cannot plan for everything. With traveling, you are taught to prepare for the unexpected. You have to be flexible and adaptable. You never know what shenanigans can arise as you travel. While this does not mean you will be fully ready when something happens, be open to the change.
Traveling advocates for language learning
Part of intercultural understanding can come from language learning. Though many people do not become fluent before traveling short-term, many are encouraged to learn a few words. In addition, being in another country where you do not speak the language piques any traveler’s curiosity in the culture more.
Traveling and meeting new people can happen through body language. But taking the time to learn some of the languages could help you have a richer experience. In addition, not knowing what is going on can be a great motivator for people to take language classes as part of their trip. Some even take classes when they return home!
Traveling promotes more independence
As a traveler, we have to navigate a new country on our own. We also have to book flights and research accommodations. And if you are truly a responsible traveler, you will do some additional background research on the culture and customs of your destination. These are just a few tasks on your travel planning list! You need self-determination and drive to make traveling happen.
Through this independence, you are facing your fears head-on. How will you get from one tourist attraction to another? If you get sick, where is the nearest hospital? When you are the only person, you have to rely on, and you adapt accordingly. And if you are a solo traveler, this point is necessary! Being equipped to handle yourself is a major feat. The independent sense of achievement can also be a great boost for your self-esteem and mental health.
Why is traveling good for you?
In addition to its importance, there are some other benefits to why you should travel. As you change with each trip, your overall well-being can be positively affected too. Here are some reasons why traveling is good for you mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. I bet that some of these may even surprise you!
Traveling lovingly humbles you
Have you ever gone to a destination where no one spoke your language? Have you needed to hitchhike to your next destination? Or get lost and have no wi-fi or map to guide you? Those scenarios may not have happened to you (yet). However, they are possible. There are so many ways travel can show you who is actually in charge.
One of the benefits of traveling is adjusting to a new pace and way of life. It gets you out of your comfort zone and forces you to make mistakes and try again. Traveling teaches you not to quit in the most ironic and hilarious scenarios you only see in movies.
And yes, travel can be an ego boost, too, with the popularity of social media. However, I like to think that is not the majority of travelers, no matter how naive the assumption. But the independence you attain and the challenges you overcome can outweigh all of that vanity.
Traveling inspires more creativity
When you relax on a beach in Mexico or do a street art tour in Berlin, it is easy to be inspired by the world you have the privilege to experience. That inspiration fuels new ideas and creativity because traveling requires us to pause. The open-mindedness you get from meeting new people and understanding how to culturally appreciate a destination is infectious. Your new outlook on life boosts your imagination to think deeper than you had before.
Traveling boosts your mental health
Did you know there are mental health benefits of traveling? Taking a trip can be an incredible stress reliever and reduce depression and anxiety. Traveling can also help boost happiness and self-confidence. But, traveling blurs the line between a mental health strategy and a form of escapism and avoidance.
Just be mindful that no matter where you go, there you are. Your trip has to end unless you move abroad. While you can travel and live out a fantasy abroad, we all have to come back to reality. So take plenty of photos and videos to relive the memories.
For more severe issues and to prevent escapism, compliment travel with professional help. As a social worker, I know therapy can be costly. But if you have the means to travel, consider putting some of that money toward professional help too.
Traveling improves your physical health
Everyone’s accessibility needs vary. But to travel is to move your body after being stationary to get to your destination. You did not go abroad to stay in the hotel! By nature, you need to move to sight-see.So supplementing your mental health, there are physical health benefits to add to why you should travel.
Outdoor activities such as hiking mountains or walking tours in Europe are great to build exercise into your travel itinerary. Bike tours are also famous for tourists too and often end with a meal from the local cuisine. These are activities you can even start abroad and incorporate into your everyday routine too.
But, there are limitations. For example, if you were backpacking and did not pack light, your back can suffer. Your body is your temple so treat it as such. Be gentle with yourself as you travel to prevent any avoidable injuries. The physical health benefits of why you should travel are to reduce stress, not increase it! Seek incomparable travel experiences, but be safe. Also, go to your doctor before you leave for a routine check-up or any medication and vaccinations you need.
Traveling encourages adventure
People often say who you are at home is who you will be abroad. And to some extent, this is true. But, traveling also amplifies the adventurous spirit within you. Just as traveling will open up your mind to new ways of thinking, it can amp your heart up to new opportunities.
The excitement of ziplining through a rainforest or paragliding in Switzerland are adventures you probably cannot do at home. However, when you are traveling, they appear! Traveling allows you to be a little freer. With that freedom comes a heightened sense of adrenaline that motivates you to pursue lively adventures.
Last words on the benefits of traveling the world
So let me know, why do you like traveling? I genuinely believe it has the power to change our perspectives and open our minds. Every person you meet and every plate you eat can stick with you long after your trip is complete. So yes, the benefits of traveling the world have that impact. In many cases, you will never be the same person post-traveling as you were pre-traveling.
However, there is no guarantee. Each person’s travel experience is unique because you are unique. Some people travel and become obsessed with it (like me). Others decided that meh, traveling abroad is not something they enjoy. And many prefer domestic travel in their home country. We are all different, and therefore, we react differently to experiences that take us out of our comfort zone. To each their own.
Yet, you do not know how traveling will affect you until you do it. To learn some of these benefits of traveling yourself, you have to plan and take the trip. You will regret it if you don’t! I hope your adventures are full of excitement and learning. There is so much world you have yet to experience. So, get out there and enjoy it for yourself.
Now that you know why you should travel, check out this post full of first-time traveler tips!