When you think of how to develop relevant skills for a job, traveling might not be the first thing that comes to your mind. Instead, you think of doing an internship or finding a part-time job. But I can tell you, even leisure travel enhances your job skills in various ways. I will tell you how it works.
I actually think that travelers can be one of the best employees ever because they are willing to try new things and step out of their comfort zone. And there are various skills you learn through traveling and I will talk about some of those skills in this article here. Employers look for certain criteria in a potential employee, and besides the hard skills – meaning your professional knowledge – they are looking for soft skills. You are able to gain those soft skills through traveling in a natural and fun way. And as a nice “side effect” you’re able to see the world, too!
What skills can you boost through traveling?
- Communication Skills
Traveling means that you know how to communicate with sensitivity. You learn to appreciate people with different languages and cultures. Because you are around them every day. Additionally, after a traveling trip, you definitely know how to ask questions. Curiosity is essential for a fantastic travel experience. Ask questions and engage with people. If you’re a multinational company and you ask a traveler employee to present something in an international meeting, they will have a huge advantage! Travelers are full of confidence.
Alongside improving your communication capabilities, you master teamworking. You are going to meet so many people while traveling (especially when you stay in hostels or try couchsurfing). You need to engage with individuals of different backgrounds, with different personalities, and with other educational or religious backgrounds. Show openness to the ideas of others, and thereby gain confidence to share your own ideas and make suggestions. Travelers have open minds to possibilities and new ideas and that’s one of the most important job skills to have for working life.
EXPLORATION AND IMPLEMENTATION SKILLS
Traveling is not always pink ice cream and blue skies. Sometimes you face serious tasks or encounter problems that you didn’t think about. Sometimes you need to adjust your plans. Things like fully booked hostels or canceled transportation happen from time to time. For example, I organised a private bus transportation with a hostel from Albania to Montenegro, but it got canceled at the last minute. I then had to take three different buses and drove for 12 hours to reach my destination. Travelers rarely panic because they are facing difficult situations. Whether it’s a canceled transportation, or navigation the public transport system in Mexico City, they know how to do it. Therefore, traveling teaches you:
- to find creative solutions to new problems or to generally make decisions where there is no perfect option.
- to learn how to plan and organise things on your own in an effective way.
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Getting out of your comfort zone in the first place isn’t that easy. Traveling involves a huge amount of self-discipline and stamina and bravery. But you know what? That makes us understand ourselves:
- While I backpacked through Europe last summer I definitely got to know my own strengths, limitations, and values.
- Interacting with various people and cultures also thought me how to be flexible and adapt to changing situations.
And those are characteristics you can translate to job skills which are essential in the workplace. If an employee knows how he works under pressure, he can be much more effective. I also think that travelers may have a certain sense of creativity.
It is true that you have to deal with uncertainty when you travel, but isn’t that the thrill of travel? It is about the desire to meet new challenges and experience new things. And all those problems you’ll face will help you for your life in general. You can apply the skills you learn in your career, but also in your day to day life. Traveling makes you richer.