People travel for all sorts of reasons – to learn more about the world, to challenge themselves or to explore new places. Here's a look at 20 reasons why travel is good for you.
Why we love to travel
I've got a theory about why some people love to travel and others don't quite so much. It's based on the hypothesis that when humans swapped from being nomadic hunter-herders to sedentary farmers, some people had much more of the wandering DNA left in their systems than others.
While this theory is completely unprovable, it's undeniable that some of us have a wanderlust that goes far beyond simply taking a vacation.
I believe that's certainly the case with me. And it does help explain why I love going on long distance cycling trips such as my previous journeys cycling from England to South Africa, and Alaska to Argentina!
But let's try and rationalize this urge you might be feeling to go on a nomadic trip in more detail.
Reasons to travel around the world
There's actually advantages and disadvantages to travel. I like to think there's a lot more advantages though!
There's quite a lot of benefits you get when you see the world, and travel helps broaden the mind!
Here's some reasons why people travel and also why it's good for them.
1. Traveling is a great way to get out of your comfort zone and experience new things.
The act of leaving everything you know and are familiar with and going someplace completely new is a bit like taking on a whole new challenge. It's exciting and fascinating to see how other people live, as well as the places they live in.
By challenging yourself, you're growing as a person and learning some valuable lessons. New experiences often include new challenges, and that's a good thing! Most people consider it rewarding to take on a new challenge and learn from it, and travel definitely fits this description.
Worried about feeling uncomfortable? Learn: How to live for yourself and travel more
2. It makes you more open-minded
Traveling to other places is a great way to experience different cultures and embrace new perspectives. Of course, we can all experience new cultures and expand our horizons by watching TV or reading books. But immersing yourself in a different culture is much more effective.
You'll gain new insights into the world around you when you travel abroad, and become more accepting of other people's views and opinions. You might even start to see certain things about yourself that you didn't see before and feel that you want to change them.
3. You'll learn about different cultures – and maybe you're own
During your adventures, you'll spend time in places where people's lives, history and customs may be very different from your own. You'll meet people from different cultures and backgrounds, and this will allow you to gain a deeper understanding of not only theirs but also your own society.
Take for instance living where I do in Greece. If you don't embrace the Greek coffee culture, you're really missing out!
Meeting new people from other cultures throws up all kinds of questions about your own culture, your heritage and how it fits into the world as a whole. Are you proud of who you are? Are there things about the way you live that aren't perfect? Or worse – do they contribute to injustices in the wider world?
4. You'll be able to meet lots of new people
Whether you are traveling solo or with a group, you'll meet lots of new people in your travels. Some people you might get on with, others you might not. The important thing though, is you are seeing all sorts of people from different walks of life.
Many of these new friends will have different perspectives on life than you do and through your friendships, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the world and how people live in it. When you meet new people, you will learn more about their culture and way of life.
5. Your social skills will improve
As a result of meeting all these new people and talking to them, your social skills will improve. You'll learn how to interact with people from all walks of life, and this will help you at work, home and in your daily life.
In many ways, when you travel the world you are seeing a microcosm of society – one that mirrors what's going on in your own community but on a much smaller scale. By interacting with these vastly different people, it forces you to think about who you are and how easy it might be for someone else to misinterpret you based on their background or way of life.
6. Travel is good for your mental health
Traveling can help reduce stress levels by giving us time away from our daily lives. If you've been feeling stuck in your demanding job or in your relationships and it's been stressing you, travel can be a healthy distraction.
We learn through our experiences, and the longer your trip is, the more you will learn about yourself, your relationships and how other people live. Travelling gives us an opportunity to clear our heads as well as seeing new places and learning about different cultures. It's good for us mentally!
7. It helps us gain perspective on our own lives
By seeing what others are going through and how they live, we gain a better perspective on our own lives. We learn about the things we need to be grateful for, and also what we should change.
As you travel from place to place, you'll get an idea of not only how people live in different countries but also how your life compares to theirs. You might find it's easier than you thought! Or maybe you'll realize there are things about your life – your job, where you live or who your friends are – that could be improved upon?
8. It's a great way to get in shape
If there's one thing that travel doesn't make you, that's a couch potato! You'll always be on the move, exploring a new city, country or continent. You can always take it to the next level, and do your traveling by bicycle!
9. It can help you become more creative
When you travel, as well as seeing new and fascinating places and being exposed to different cultures, you'll also find yourself thinking about all sorts of new possibilities. You might become more creative in your thinking or begin a successful business venture during the trip of a lifetime!
Traveling can be a great learning experience, and even if you don't pick up a new skill on the road, you may be inspired to learn something new when you return from your trip.
10. You'll gain independence and confidence
You won't be able to make sense of everything or know what to expect when you're in a foreign place, but by going out into the unknown, you'll actually become more confident about facing future challenges. You'll learn more about yourself and how capable you are.
When your flight finally touches down at the end of your trip, you'll feel like a stronger person than when you left on your journey. And if you do face any difficulties during your travels, it won't be the end of the world – they'll make for great stories to tell back home!
11. You'll learn how to pack light
Knowing that you have to carry everything around with you in a backpack makes you realise you only want to take the essentials with you! After a few trips you'll get a tight enough grasp on what's really necessary and what is superfluous to know that you won't be lugging around unnecessary stuff with you.
This approach can then be brought back when you return to the ‘real world'. Do we really need all that stuff we seem to accumulate through our lives? If you can't pack light, maybe it's time to reconsider what you need!
12. You can learn a new skill like scuba diving
In addition to seeing beautiful places, you may have the opportunity to pick up a new skill on your travels. Scuba diving is something that many people want to try but don't know where or how to get started. A (short) scuba diving trip can teach you the basics and give you an experience that lasts a lifetime. Take it further, and become a diving instructor – perhaps you'll discover a new career on a sabbatical break from your regular job.
You can also learn how to cook new foods, speak another language, play an instrument – the possibilities are endless!
13. You'll get a better understanding of the world and everything in it
Travelling can make us more aware of everything around us – from the food we eat to the clothes we wear. When you really observe what you're doing, it helps you figure out what your priorities are and begin living a more mindful life.
You might also notice things as you travel that seem obviously out of place, for example the amount of plastic that we all seem to use and discard. In other countries, the effects of waste plastic might be visually seen on the side of the roads or in massive heaps. The question is, what happens to all the plastic you use in your own country?
14. Travel can help you learn about yourself and what you're capable of
When you travel around the world, you'll discover new things about yourself that you didn't even know were possible. You might realise how capable you are of making sacrifices to achieve your dreams, or what it's like to be part of a community where you can truly feel at home on another continent.
Overcoming challenges you face when you travel can be a way to learn about yourself and know what you're capable of when times get tough. This can later translate into your life at home when the going gets rough.
15. You'll be able to see new sights and experience different landscapes
Each new place you visit will open your eyes to a whole new world and give you fresh perspectives on life. You might visit an island and realize how peaceful and serene it can be or marvel at how big an ancient temple or palace is up close. Who would fail to be awed by the Great Barrier Reef for example?
You'll see the world from a different vantage point, get a view from above through hikes to mountain peaks, admire different cities from skyscrapers, marvel at the beauty of nature and generally be exposed to a variety of different landscapes that you wouldn't have seen otherwise.
16. Travel can help you make memories that will last a lifetime!
For example, zip lining through a jungle, trying new cuisines for the first time, or hiking along the Inca Trail are memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Take plenty of photos though – you don't want to forget the good times!
Related: Big Europe Bucket List
17. It gives you a sense of adventure
It's not only the physical challenges and amazing sights that you'll have to explore, but also the unknown. You might find yourself in sticky situations – arguing with customs officials for example or being stuck in a taxi without directions (which could be both good and bad experiences), but either way it will make your travels more exciting!
Each day seems like a new adventure, there are plenty of new things to get used to and get your head around, but that is what keeps it exciting. Travelling is about taking your time, not rushing from one place to another, after all memories are made when you stop and smell the roses.
19. Travel can improve your CV
If you quit your job to travel, does it hurt your future career prospects?
Not many people imagine that taking quality time away in a foreign country can actually help your professional life, but it can. If you're applying for jobs after a gap year or sabbatical then having an interesting story to tell will make you stand out from the crowd.
Potential employers will consider you to be more worldly and experienced, giving you the upper hand when it comes to the competitive job market.
20. It will help you learn how to live in the moment
Finally, travel can help you appreciate what's happening around you right now, instead of worrying about the past or the future.
You'll learn to enjoy the moment more, and be appreciative of the good things you have going for yourself.
FAQ About Reasons to Travel
Finally, let's finish off with a few frequently asked questions about why people like to travel.
What is the purpose of travel?
The purpose of human travel is to explore the world and its diverse cultures with curiosity, openness, and a sense of understanding. People who love to travel, love to learn. Travel opens your mind to new ideas and different ways of looking at the world.
What is travel motivation?
There is no one answer to this question, as people have different motivations for travelling. Some people enjoy the challenge of travelling to a new place and experiencing new things, while others enjoy getting to know different cultures and learning about their customs. Some people enjoy the excitement of adventure travel, while others travel simply to relax and get away from everyday life. Still others travel in order to improve their professional or personal skills.
How do you inspire people to travel?
Some ways to inspire people to travel include showing them beautiful photos of different places, telling them interesting stories about your own travels, or sharing tips on how to make the most of their travel experiences. Ultimately, the best way to inspire someone to travel is to show them that travel can be rewarding in many different ways – from expanding your knowledge and experiencing new cultures, to gaining new skills and finding adventure.
Why do people travel to escape?
Escapism is the act of escaping from one's problems by traveling. It's the idea that taking a break from your life will cure any problems you may be having. It's the belief that travel is some kind of mystical elixir that makes life easier or more enjoyable.
Is it healthy to travel?
Yes, travel is healthy for both the mind and body. It can help you learn new things, experience new cultures, and get away from everyday life. Travel can also be rewarding in many different ways, from expanding your knowledge and experiencing new cultures, to gaining new skills and finding adventure.
Why do people travel?
People love travel for all sorts of reasons – Visiting popular destinations or out of the way places, to visit family, taste foreign food, enjoy better weather, get over a bad breakup, see new sights or to take a break from their everyday lives. We all have different travel dreams and motivations!
Dave is a travel writer and traveler from the UK who has been living in Athens, Greece since 2015. He created this travel blog as a way to inspire people to go out and experience more of the world. Follow Dave on social media for insights into the Greek islands and other destinations in Greece: