Travel is important for many reasons. You probably know that taking vacations is good for your mental health, and improves your productivity when you return to work. But you may not realize how each stage of your life can be improved by travel.
Kids are known for their sense of wonder, their innate readiness to embrace new things and be amazed by them. Travel enhances this sense. Young travelers are constantly engaged in cognitive activity, experiencing different surroundings and novel sensations. If you travel during your formative years, you become sensitized to other people and increase your compassion. There are huge advantages to being exposed to other languages, especially if you learn to speak two or more. Fluency in several languages has advantages beyond communication skills: evidence shows that multilingual people are better at analyzing situations and therefore make better decisions. Even if you only travel domestically as a child, you are likely to gain more respect for nature and a healthier perspective on life.
While teens are notoriously centered on themselves and their close friends, travel can expand their awareness of others and the world around them. Ironically, this larger world view may also help them discover who they are and their own place in the world. This especially true if you travel a bit off the beaten path. Just about everyone has heard of Sydney with its iconic opera house, but cruises from melbourne show you a different side of Australia and open up a new understanding of the region. Traveling teens enjoy improved mental health and create close bonds with others. At a time when your peers may be self-conscious and insecure, you may become more confident and comfortable in your own skin. On a more academic note, taking trips improves your memory. It can also reinforce lessons you learn in classes such as history, geography and civics.
Older teens and young adults derive significant benefits from roaming the world. In many countries, students take a year between high school and college, known as a gap year. The reasons for this are plentiful: this is a prime age to learn life skills, become creative problem solvers and discover how to adapt to changing situations. Taking a gap year can help you do better in college and in life. You learn independence and organization as you research and plan trips, adhere to schedules and take care of yourself far from your parental safety net. You learn to value experience over possessions. You take risks and revel in the camaraderie of fellow travelers. Moreover, this is the age when you may discover passions that spur you on to activism or a new career path.
As an adult, you should continue your treks. The more you learn about the world, the more of a well-rounded citizen you become. You will likely be a more valuable employee as you gain cultural awareness and sensitivity. This is especially helpful for multinational firms. Many firms, even small businesses with no global presence, find that vacations have benefits. Employees reap health benefits and employers find their weak spots and their leaders.
When you travel, take your family along. Your own sense of wonder is awakened as you look at new places through your children’s eyes. The experiences you share as a family will serve to bring you closer together. Creating happy memories can insulate you from loneliness and help you deal with stress.
By the time you retire, your hard work has earned you the right to relax and enjoy some meaningful holiday time. Many retirees seem to agree: A 2017 survey by AARP indicated that seniors plan an average of between four and five trips a year. Respondents cited spending time with family as a top reason for travel; relaxation is another. Taking trips can help seniors stay physically and mentally active. While traveling during your senior years, look for discounts and programs designed for seniors. Cruises are ideal if you have limited mobility. Many tour companies offer packages with a more leisurely pace and extended time for leisure.