Paul has been passionate about travelling for over 35 years. He has been on many flights, rail, and road journeys in the US and Europe.
Traveling abroad can present many challenges, including: long journeys, language problems, and culture shocks, plus the expense of transport and accommodation.
However, this article lists the positives of going to a foreign country and explores ten ways in which it can be rewarding experience that you will want to repeat.
10 Advantages of Foreign Travel
Here are my ten positives of going abroad:
- Unique Experiences
- Learn History and Culture Without Trying
- Improved Language Skills
- Enjoy a Different Climate
- Boosts to Creativity
- Increased Tolerance
- Explore Nature
- Understand Yourself and Your Home Country Better
- It Needn't Be Expensive
I explore each benefit in more detail below.
1. Unique Experiences
Traveling abroad typically means discovering and doing things that would not be possible if you'd stayed at home. It's often the only real way of getting a complete break from the mundanity of everyday life and the staleness that can go with that.
While there can often be challenges, foreign travel has the potential to be life-affirming, educational, and tremendously enjoyable. My experience is that there's rarely a dull moment when you're in a different country.
2. Learn History and Culture Without Trying
One of the wonderful benefits of going abroad is that you can pick up new skills and knowledge without any real effort. There's a natural tendency to absorb other cultures and pick up historical information, while enjoying yourself at the same time.
Whether you're undertaking a guided tour, using a travel book, or some other method, such as a digitally streamed audio guide, the combination of receiving information and gaining direct experience provides something that you will treasure and remember for a lifetime.
3. Improved Language Skills
Immersing yourself in the cultural life of a country is the only real way to fully understand the nuances of its language. It's far superior to learning in a classroom, or through sitting at a laptop, in my experience.
While the experience can be invaluable for advanced learners, even if you're a complete beginner and only manage to pick up a few key phrases of the local lingo, you still know more than when you arrived.
4. Enjoy a Different Climate
A big appeal of foreign travel can be the opportunity to experience a completely different climate. If you're from a place where it's cold and rainy, there can be nothing more enjoyable than going to a place where it's hot and sunny.
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The world offers a wide variety of climates to explore: from the freezing climes of Antarctica, to the dusty, dry heat of the Sahara, to the tropical humidity of Central America.
5. Boosts to Creativity
People in other countries can demonstrate different ways of doing things and alternative ways of being. It can open up your mind and generate new ideas. We all have a tendency to take our everyday world for granted, which can lead to jaded thinking.
Traveling abroad can revitalize our imaginations and drive innovation. A direct encounter with a fresh expression of arts, religions, architecture, and food, as well as many practical approaches to all sorts of issues, can contribute to an enlightening and valuable experience.
6. Increased Tolerance
There is truth in the old adage that "travel broadens the mind." Familiarity with other cultures can lead to a deeper understanding of differing perspectives. An attitude, practice, or behavior that appears challenging in the abstract can become less threatening when experienced in person and understood better.
No matter how much one might think one knows about a people or culture, there is nothing that can really compare with firsthand experience.
7. Explore Nature
While many people go abroad to experience a different culture for strictly social reasons, others seek a new natural environment to explore. Foreign travel can open up opportunities for experiencing new terrains, plants, and animal life.
The natural world can be fascinating, fun, and exhilarating, and provide opportunities for hiking, canoeing, and mountain trekking. Some of my own strongest memories of travel relate to countryside and creatures, rather than people.
8. Understand Yourself and Your Home Country Better
Removing yourself from the familiar and traveling to a new land can be a very powerful tool for gaining self-awareness and deeper understanding. It gives you a fresh social context and environment, which can help you to appreciate how you relate to others and alter how you see yourself.
Perhaps ironically, visiting a foreign country can also teach you things about your homeland. You get to view your land of birth from another perspective and have something to compare it with.
Foreign travel offers a sense of romance that can be difficult to match at home. That's why so many loving couples and honeymooners opt for a visit to a foreign country, it stirs the passions like nothing else.
There can also be opportunities for single people to discover new romantic partners away from their home environment. Escaping your everyday existence can create new opportunities for romance and adventure.
10. It Needn't Be Expensive
While it's true that traveling abroad can be costly, there are often also affordable deals to be found, provided you know where to look and are prepared to spend time researching the various options.
Transport and accommodation opportunities can vary enormously in price, but there are usually affordable alternatives to be found, especially if you are able to be flexible with things like the timing of travel.
© 2022 Paul Goodman