As a self-confessed travel addict, it’s no secret that I think that travel is the best thing since sliced bread, and I’m here to tell you why.
In this day and age, most of us are lucky enough to be able to travel easily, even if we’re not rolling in money. Cheap plane travel and hostels have made budget travel far more accessible than it ever has been before.
Although a long-term trip to somewhere far away is the best kind of travelling, to enjoy the benefits of travel you don’t necessarily have to get on a plane and head for the other side of the world.
Even a weekend trip to another part of your own country, or a neighbouring one, can do you a world of good.
With our busy schedules these days, it’s easy to get to the end of the year and realise that you haven’t been anywhere, so travel needs to become a priority.
No matter how far you go and how long for, travelling brings with it a whole host of benefits. From better social skills and amazing dinner party anecdotes to a new-found appreciation for life, travel could turn your life upside down, in the best way possible.
Here are just a few of the ways that travel could benefit you.
1. Improved decision-making
I don’t know about you, but I’m terrible at making decisions, always convinced that whatever I choose, it’ll be wrong. Travel leaves no room for faffing around, and you’ll have to make decisions constantly, from what to have for lunch to where to stay. It’s a great crash course in learning to follow your gut.
2. Reconnects you with reality
These days we all have the habit of spending more time in front of a screen than on a lake or in a forest. Travelling will reconnect you with reality by making you aware of many important issues & the ground reality of things.
You will witness the environmental impact of decisions first hand and meet different people who give you a first-hand account of different situations.
3. It helps you relinquish control
It’ll be a baptism of fire, but you’ll soon learn that you can’t control things like bus timetables, which will help you to relax all round.
In our daily lives, we often interact with the same people, day in, day out. Travelling means you have to learn to communicate with people from all walks of life, which can be even more challenging if you don’t speak the local language.
Although it’s hard, to begin with, you’ll quickly develop the social skills you need to turn up in a hostel and have a new group of best friends by the time the night’s through.
5. Gain survival skills
I’m not talking about Bear Grills-style survival skills here, but about how you react when things get tough.
Travelling will teach you to keep a cool head and deal with tricky situations, like a friend that’s hurt themselves, or having something stolen.
Things don’t always go as planned, in life as well as on the road, but dealing with these situations whilst travelling will hope you cope with whatever life throws at you.
6. It makes you appreciate what you have
It’s hard to appreciate how lucky you are until you witness the lives of the less fortunate first hand. Travelling will help you put your problems into perspective, and value the things you have.
7. It makes you appreciate home
We can easily become blind to the things that surround us on a daily basis. It’s not until you’ve been away that you’ll revel in how comfortable your own bed is and notice the little things that make your home beautiful. You’ll never realise how blissful a hot shower is until you spend six months washing in cold water!
8. Unparalleled stress buster
No matter how many emails you’ll have waiting for you when you get back, it’s hard to worry about them when you’re sitting on a terrace with a sea view, sipping a cocktail.
Disconnect from your daily routine (and the Wi-Fi) and savour the moment.
9. Broadens your mind
Travelling is a chance to meet people from different cultures, whether they’re on the road themselves or call your destination home.
It can be easy to live in a bubble, and talking to people from different walks of life about their opinions can be eye-opening and make you question things.
10. It educates you
Learning from a textbook or reading about something on Wikipedia is all well and good, but museums, art galleries, and ruins along the way will teach you far more than you ever learned at school.
11. It gets your creative juices flowing
To be creative, the mind needs stimulation. You never know if the people you meet or things you see will inspire you to create something wonderful.
12. Boosts your confidence
Travelling isn’t always plain sailing, but you won’t just cope, you’ll thrive.
Whilst even managing to navigate around a city on a weekend break will make you feel more confident in yourself, if you can do a long-term trip to somewhere that’s completely out of your comfort zone, you’ll come back feeling like you could take on the world, and challenges won’t seem as daunting.
13. It forces you out of your comfort zone
We’re generally pretty content in our little bubbles, and bursting them can seem like a terrifying prospect.
But what’s life without a little fear now and again?
If life is seeming a bit tame and easy and you haven’t felt the nerve-butterflies in your stomach for a while, it’s time to get on a plane. Life’s about pushing the boundaries!
14. Amazing memories
Travelling with friends and family is precious, as you’ll make priceless memories that you can keep forever.
Travelling alone, you’re bound to meet some amazing people that will become your new best friends, as everyone is far more open and receptive when on the road, and you’ll make memories with them too.
Life is all about collecting memories, not things, and that’s what you’ll treasure most when it comes down to it.
15. Great chance to let your hair down
We’re often far too self-conscious about what we think ‘appropriate’ behaviour is for someone of our age or our profession.
Travelling lets you tear up the rulebook, let your inner child out, and have fun without worrying what anyone thinks.
16. You will know yourself better
I know people going off travelling to ‘find’ themselves is a bit of a cliché, but it’s true!
Being somewhere different and around new people can help you put your finger on who you really are, and what you really want out of life.
Although some of this may seem a bit cheesy, it’s all so true. Don’t put travel off, telling yourself you’ll see the world when you’ve retired, because, not to be morbid, you never know what might happen before then.
As the saying goes, life is what happens when you’re making other plans, so don’t plan to travel later, go now, as often as possible, for as long as possible, and as long as possible.
You won’t regret it, promise.