When you travel, whether for work or for fun, you’re not just seeing new places and making incredible memories. Your globe-trotting experiences can actually give you an edge in the workplace. Experiencing new environments can help you be more flexible, be more open to ideas, and be able to bring innovations back home.
You Collaborate Well With Others
Whether you’re travelling with co-workers, friends, or a partner, travel can help you learn to rely on others and cooperate, even when your patience is tested by long days in transit or struggling to communicate in another language. Travelling solo? You still have to step outside your comfort zone, whether it’s to ask a stranger for help with directions or to make small talk in the hotel lobby. These skills can all make you a valuable co-worker.
When we interview people for jobs, of course, we’re looking for their technical skills, but the way they can interact under pressure is essential as well. Travel is one way to get used to operating under pressure, in close quarters with other people. When you’ve successfully re-routed your trip in fifteen stressful minutes at a foreign train station due to overlooking the original train schedules, working with a diverse team to execute a complex project is a breeze!
You Learn To Listen
When you travel abroad, it’s important to pay attention to local customs and norms—especially small details that may not be a big deal back home. In Asian cultures, if you’re given a business card, it’s considered polite to take it and study it for a few seconds, before you carefully place it in a wallet or holder. Taking a name card without looking and sliding it in your back pocket is considered to be incredibly rude. It’s really important to take the time to understand the place you’re in and let the locals lead the way, even if it’s a different practice compared to what you would do.
That’s why travelling abroad—or even working with a diverse group of coworkers from all over the globe—can teach you the art of listening, acceptance and learning to let others take the lead. Taking the time to get to know locals—asking for recommendations, taking note of any customs—can foster curiosity and continuous learning back home, too.
You Get Good At Making Things Work
There are those days when everything at the office rolls like clockwork—emails returned, deadlines met, clients satisfied. And then there are other days. Snafus are also inevitable when travelling for pleasure: Luggage may get delayed, WiFi may not work, your credit card may suddenly get declined. But you’ll learn how to interact with locals to get the help or support you need, figure out workarounds (turns out your phone can become a WiFi hotspot in a pinch!), and store up some fail-safe wisdom for next time (always pack an extra outfit in your carry-on), all of which can translate into how you deal with mishaps at home or at the office.
You Become Incredibly Independent
When you’re abroad, you don’t necessarily have the same support system as you did back home. The time difference may mean it’s tough to check in with friends, family, or your workplace. Because of that, you get pretty good at taking care of yourself—which at work translates into learning how to manage your time and get your job done without getting constant input from your manager. Taking care of yourself also means developing routines that help you prioritise your own physical and mental well-being.
You Roll With the Unexpected
Being able to be flexible in the workplace lets you seamlessly pivot between projects and assignments, and not feel stuck in the way things have been done in the past. Travel can make you work smarter, which is one of the many reasons travelling makes you flexible when you are able to pack up a suitcase and travel quickly when needed.
While travelling for work is a great way to get paid while seeing different parts of the world, taking a vacation trip during your PTO can give you the same benefits. So make sure your passport is current and book that trip—you could end up expanding your resume as well as your perspective!