Travelling is one of those things that divides opinion. Some people think it’s the making of a person and that everyone should do it, whilst others think it’s a self-indulgent extended holiday reserved only for the privileged.
Most of us land somewhere in the middle. I have met many people whilst travelling who may as well never have left home. Just because you see the world, it doesn’t automatically make you an open-minded person. As with everything, that’s a choice each individual needs to make for themselves. Similarly, deciding to throw everything to the wind and go travelling is a much easier decision to make when you have money or family at home to catch you if anything goes wrong.
However, I am also here to tell you that going travelling isn’t necessarily the financial risk you might think it is. In fact, there are many reasons that travelling can be a much better financial choice than you think.
1. Travelling gives you life experience
I know, I know; it’s an overused phrase, and I’m not saying that travelling is the answer to all your problems. What it does do, however, is offer you the opportunity to engage with different cultures, languages, and people, and to immerse yourself in a society (or societies) with different worldviews from your own. It offers you information you didn’t have before, in short: life experience.
This life experience pays back dividends when you return home and go looking for a new job. You look assertive, self reliant, and dedicated to pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. It also implies you are an open-minded, lateral thinker. These are all things that impress employers and, believe it or not, will get you places on the career ladder you didn’t know you could reach. I’m talking from personal experience here.
2. You really learn to live on a budget
As the name implies, travelling is not the same as holidaying. It usually involves a much longer time abroad, and involves travelling around several countries or continents (depending on how ambitious you are!). Because you’re away for a longer period of time, you need to try and make the money last for as long as possible.
You learn to feed, clothe, and house yourself for far less money than you’d have ever though possible. You learn the true value of a pound and how far you can stretch it, because the longer the money lasts, the longer you can carry on adventuring. And, when you do finally get back home, this newly acquired skill will help you all the way through the rest of your life.
3. You learn to understand what you really need
When you’re carrying your life on your back and living on a shoestring, you really learn to discern between wanting and needing. Not only do you want to make the money last, but you need to remember that everything you buy you are actually going to have to carry around with you.
Trust me, when you know that you will have to carry anything you buy on your back for the next six months, it makes you think twice before purchasing anything. After a while you stop wanting superfluous items because you fall into a rhythm of living with what you really need, and this skill is absolutely crucial when it comes to moving back to your life at home.
Sure, you won’t be carrying your life on your back anymore, but this learned response to really thinking about every purchase before you make it, will pay dividends; it will stop the development of wasteful spending habits in their tracks.
4. To go travelling, you need to save first.
What’s awesome is that once you decide to travel, you need to save. You can’t go anywhere unless you have some money to subsist on for a few months. That means that you’ve already made a great financial decision before your feet have even left the ground! You’ve taught yourself how to save successfully.
By having a specific goal, and a specific timeframe within which to achieve it, saving becomes much easier because it gives you a focus. Once you come home from having a great time abroad (having spent all your savings happily) this previous saving experience will stand you in good stead.
Not only will you know the budgeting/saving techniques that work for you but more importantly, you know that if you set your mind to it you can do it. You are accustomed to putting money away and doing without. It’s a beneficial habit that will really help you out in the future.
5. It makes you brave
It may sound strange, but doing something as imposing as hitching a backpack over your shoulder and catching a one way flight to anywhere, all on your own, shows you that you have courage you didn’t even know you had.
This bravery soon teaches you that you can trust your own choices, and that sometimes things don’t work out the way you thought, or that taking a calculated risk can pay dividends. When you come home this bravery will manifest in way you don’t even expect, and you will be more self assured and ready to take chances such as; investing your money, going into business for yourself, or making big purchases like your own home.
So, if you’ve been playing around with the idea of throwing in your job and going to see the world, but are worried it will spell nothing but financial misery – think again! Take that chance and go and live the dream.