As with many other things in life, there are both pros and cons to travel; ups and downs. Here, we explain the advantages and disadvantages of traveling to help you make up your own mind.
Pros and cons of travelling
I'm a big fan of traveling. The more I travel, the less I want to stay in one place for too long! Travel is a great way to broaden your horizons and see the world. But it also has its drawbacks too, including being away from loved ones for long periods of time.
While cycling around the world, I've often felt both simultaneously elated at all that beauty of nature, but at the same time saddened that there wasn't anyone to share it with. I'm sure other long term travelers, especially solo travelers, feel exactly the same way from time to time.
In this blog post we'll look at the advantages and disadvantages of travelling. If you're planning to travel for extended periods of time, you might want to keep some of these in mind.
Advantages of Travel
Lets kick of with the many advantages – and I'll give you a spoiler now, the travelling advantages far outweigh the disadvantages!
Traveling can be educational
We all learn something from travelling, regardless of whether it's about culture, life or people in general. If nothing else, hearing others speak another language and seeing different cultures helps us realize how similar we all are in so many ways.
It is also good for self-development as we generally become more open minded and appreciate other people more when we travel.
Traveling can broaden your horizons
Travelling gives us the chance to see things with our own eyes that normally we would never find out about if not from traveling; especially traveling out of our comfort zone (something I encourage everyone to do).
Imagine not knowing the existence of ancient temples in Cambodia, Peru or Sudan just a decade ago! Now you do…
Traveling gives us a new perspective on life
Seeing things from a different perspective is important. It helps us realize how lucky we are to live where and with who we do in this world.
Travelling can also help us appreciate what we have more by comparison, even though it's not always easy to accept that when abroad.
Related: Why do people like to travel?
Travelling teaches us humility
OK… this doesn't sound like an advantage but I think it is. When speaking about tourism – which both has its advantages and disadvantages – some people believe that travel teaches your humility.
It makes you understand how others live and thrive without the luxuries that you are accustomed to. It makes you realize how lucky you really are, and it allows your mind to open up as opposed to being more judgmental of differences
Traveling can help us grow in confidence
Many people feel they have no personality or direction when they first start travelling – but it's important not to let that stop you. Travelling helps us realize who we really are, and what we want from life.
Once this happens, our confidence grows; and without realizing, we become much stronger than before the trip ! This is especially true with solo backpacking trips!
Traveling can help you speak a new language
It's amazing how fast your language skills improve when you travel to new places! Speaking a new language or two is always good, and it's easier to learn a language when you're traveling.
Now, I'm never going to say my Greek is perfect. It's actually quite terrible. But I can find one or two things on a menu if I have to!
Add to that the fact that you're surrounded by native speakers and it's all a major travel benefit.
Traveling opens up new opportunities
Travelling often opens doors for future work opportunities if your planning on becoming employment after traveling; or even if you want to start your own business overseas.
It also opens doors socially, and tends to make us more open-minded people. You might even end up like me, and move to a different country on a more permanent basis!
Traveling helps you leave behind the stresses of home
Will you wave goodbye to your troubles the moment you step on a plane? For some, absolutely! For others, not so much…
However, you are about to go on an adventure. No matter what your stress levels are at home before you depart for your trip, they will drop considerably when you're traveling.
As soon as the journey begins, it feels like a different world and suddenly all of those problems that were previously weighing down upon us seem less important.
It's easy to convince ourselves this is because we're in a foreign country and don't know anyone here; but really our attitude is what makes this change possible.
Traveling abroad introduces you to new cultures
When we travel abroad, we are often exposed to different cultures and ways of life. This is a good way for us (if we let it) to see the bigger picture of life; that thing that all humans have in common regardless of background or upbringing.
Most people I know who travel come back having a much broader perspective on life and learn to accept all the different ways of living in one world. It also gives people a newfound confidence, which has positive effects on the course of their lives.
Traveling exposes you to new ideas
Similar to being exposed to new cultures, traveling also opens your eyes to new ways of thinking.
To a certain extent, travelling can help us question the way we view our own lives; helping us gain more confidence about what WE believe is best for ourselves instead of automatically following what our parents or society tells us is “right”.
It's not always easy! However, it's about breaking free from limiting beliefs that are holding you back…
Traveling helps you understand life better
The whole point of traveling is to experience life from a different point of view, right? This means you learn more about yourself and how others see the world.
You see that things aren't always as they seem; and this can only be a good thing! Humans are complex beings with many layers that we often don't understand. Traveling helps us understand these layers – or at least try to understand them.
Traveling teaches new skills (for those who are willing)
Nowadays most people go on vacation for the sole purpose of relaxation… but never underestimate the importance or joy of learning while travelling!
There are some really great lessons you can take back home with you once your trip is over (if you're open to these lessons). Being a part of different cultures in the world can teach us so much, if we are willing to learn.
These cultural differences may seem small at first – but eventually you see how they really impact the way people live their lives.
Traveling helps meet new friends and creates life long connections
Have you ever experienced that moment when you shake hands with someone in another country, and have an instant connection? It happens!
And it doesn't matter what nationality or background you come from – this sort of connection is special 🙂 In fact, it's one thing I love most about traveling; meeting these incredible people who are all unique in their own ways.
Tasting all those new foods
If traveling is about experiencing life from a new perspective, then why not try the foods? Eating may seem like some kind of “simple pleasure” while you're on your trip… but eating can teach us a lot!
You'll learn about the ingredients used in cooking (such as spices) and will also gain knowledge about how certain food items are produced.
You'll taste things that you would never have before – things so unique they are impossible to find back home. And sometimes you just get lucky enough to eat something really delicious!
Related: Food in Greece
Traveling creates unforgettable memories
One of the biggest pros of traveling is creating memories that last a lifetime. These are pictures and new experiences that we get to take with us on our journey through life.
They are a constant reminder of where we've been and who we were when we got there. We will remember the people, interesting places and things that make us laugh, cry, smile or just plain think… And this can only be a good thing!
Traveling might help your career
A future employer might be impressed by your international experience, especially if you are applying for a job that is linked to other countries – such as marketing or business development. The aptitudes that you pick up such as problem solving may be a bonus in the eyes of a prospective employer.
Witnessing immense beauty of distant lands
When traveling, you get to witness immense beauty, sometimes in even the smallest things. You'll begin to understand that there's beauty everywhere you go if you just take a moment and stop to appreciate it.
Disadvantages of Traveling
While there are many important advantages to world travel, it's not all rainbows and unicorns! You'll soon become painfully aware that foreign travel for any length of time also has many challenges and some drawbacks.
Being away from your home country on a big trip for along time, perhaps in a place where you do not speak the native language can be hard at times.
It can cause social isolation (especially in long term solo travel)
This is especially true if you're traveling by yourself . You will be meeting new people all the time and whilst this is great, no one will ever replace your family and close friends. It's good to keep this in mind when going on a long trip so that you don't get depressed about being away from loved ones.
We often lose touch with our roots
This is definitely more applicable to long-term travelers , but even short trips abroad can make us lose sight of who we really are and where we are from; which isn't such a bad thing if it helps us become more worldly or broadens our horizons
It can be lonely
This is especially true for solo travelers, but even with friends you may not see eye to eye on everything and become tired of one another's company throughout your trip. It's just the nature of traveling!
It can be overwhelming arriving in a new city, and not having great opportunities to meet people.
You'll be watching your bank account go steadily down
Unless you're working and traveling, or have some sort of an ongoing income, your bank balance can be a source of stress when you spend long periods of time overseas. Even if you do have an income, this money can quickly disappear!
Related: How to save for a trip
You might miss important events
When traveling for any reasonable period of time, the chances increase that you might miss important family and friend events back home. While you're living a different life, your family and friends will be getting on with theirs, which means engagements, weddings, births, and other significant milestones. You'll have to weigh up the cost of traveling vs. missing these special occasions.
You could get sick/unhealthy on the road
Although it's true that this can happen anywhere in the world , it happens much more often when traveling . The reason for this is that we are exposed to so many new things, and thus our immune systems become slightly weakened. Going traveling also exposes us to bugs and diseases from every corner of the globe, which may not necessarily be friendly!
It might affect your career ladder
Travel, especially for extended periods of time, can have genuine disadvantages when it comes to your career opportunities. Most employers might ask, quite reasonably, if you are likely to take off on another trip. Another downside is that if you have been away for a while, you might be behind at work, and it can take some time to catch up when you get back.
Wrapping up the advantages and disadvantages of travelling
Traveling is one of the best ways to grow and explore, but it also has some downsides.
There are a number of advantages that come with traveling – meeting new friends, learning about exotic cultures, broadening your horizons, etc…
But there are also disadvantages like social isolation (especially in long term solo travel), losing touch with roots/loved ones back home in your own country, loneliness and getting sick while on the road.
The decision whether or not to go travelling will be up to you; however this article should provide you with some insight as to what might happen when venturing out into our vast world.
If all this talk about pros and cons has got you thinking seriously about going on an adventure of your own; don't hesitate! We would love to hear all about your plans, so feel free to leave a comment below. Good luck and have fun!
Live life on your own terms
FAQ about travel pros and cons
Here are some of the questions that people often ask me about pros and cons of traveling, so I will address them here:
What are the disadvantages of traveling?
The first disadvantage of traveling is that it you have to put in your hard earned money. It might not be too much but it will cost you something in the end. The second disadvantage is that there are social isolation issues which come with traveling on a long-term basis, especially if you are travelling alone.
What are some advantages of traveling?
The first thing that we should point out is that traveling can be really fun. There are many ways to see the world and have adventure, and it's a good way to spend time on your own especially if you're looking for some space from lifelong friendships and family. Traveling can also help us become more worldly or broaden our horizons, as well as helping us to understand life better as it exposes us to different cultures and ways of life.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of travelling abroad?
The advantages of travelling include an opportunity to broaden your horizons, interact with different cultures, and learn more about our own culture when we return home. However, there are also disadvantages to travelling abroad. For example, some disadvantages are the cost of traveling for long periods of time, social isolation (especially in solo travel), losing touch with our roots, and loneliness or lack of empathy for friends/family.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of traveling alone?
The advantages of traveling alone are that there is no one you have to make decisions with, and you can do whatever you want whenever you want! You can also get a lot of alone time, which many people find refreshing. It's a good way to escape the crowds and go off the beaten path. The disadvantages are that when you're traveling alone, it can be very lonely at times. There will be moments where you might not feel like talking to anyone or meeting new people, but if you spend your whole day by yourself in your hotel room, then it's not really that much fun. It can also be difficult going from place to place all by yourself without someone else to share in the experience with.
You might find some of these travel tips useful reading:
- How to plan the trip of a lifetime – Step by Step Checklist
- How to hide money when traveling – Tips and Travel Hacks
- International Packing Checklist