I understand. If I tell you to get out there and travel more, you may think I have an ulterior motive. Afterall, I am in the travel business. But I could still be practicing law, or working at eBay, or (if I’d been blessed with the ability to sing on key) a rock and roll star, and I would still preach about the benefits of frequent travel.
There are an increasing number of voices advocating travel for the younger generation. The International Business Times declares that traveling young creates good future leaders, while others herald the benefits of quitting one’s job all together to explore the world. But these benefits aren’t limited to twenty-somethings with adventurous spirits.
No matter your age or your profession, traveling can make you better ‑ a better parent, a better citizen, and yes, even better at your job. It opens your eyes to the intricacies and diversities of the world we live in, and makes you think big. Travel also forces you to streamline. From planning flights to prioritizing your day-to-day itinerary, the benefits of travel go far beyond stamps in your passport.
Specifically, frequent travel makes you a better:
Whether you are in the planning phase of a trip or in the midst of one, it is guaranteed that you will be forced to prioritize. If you’re in Rome for two days, what sites are on your must-see list? What about your wife’s, and your kids’?
Aside from the rare solo trip, you will have multiple opinions and inputs to contend with when making decisions. This can affect everything from where you choose to have lunch to your ultimate destination. A good manager not only knows how to keep everyone as happy as possible, but also how to weigh the options to reach the best decision.
I don’t use an assistant, and I do all of my own travel planning. That’s in part because I know what I like (the exit row aisle seat on the plane, for starters), but also because it forces me to be as effective as possible with my time.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, you will always be overwhelmed by choices ‑ where to stay, how to divide your days, when to fly, and so on. Honing your travel planning skills will make you a better planner overall, and allow you to better navigate scheduling challenges at work and at home.
It may be a universal travel truth that, when on a trip, something is bound to go wrong. One of the kids will get sick, a passport will go missing, the hotel will cancel your reservation, or you’ll just get terribly lost when trying to get to dinner. The seasoned traveler knows that, instead of panicking, the most productive way to right a wrong is to play detective and seek out an efficient solution.
Ask a local for directions, a concierge for a good doctor, or the U.S. Embassy for advice. Flexibility, ingenuity, and a willingness to dig for answers all pay off in these situations, and are skills that can pay out in spades back home. Travel tests these problem solving abilities in real-time, and will make you all the more agile when dealing with work and home life upsets.
No one wants to travel with a trip dictator. In addition to managing the expectations and desires of everyone else when traveling, you also want everyone to get along. No matter what, you’re going to have to interact with people, whether it’s the taxi driver from the airport or your whole family.
Being a team player will not only make your trip run smoothly, it is a prime opportunity to exercise your ability to effectively compromise with others in order to achieve your goals. And, whether you’re en route or in office, approaching situations as a willing part of a team will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone.