Traveling is amazing.
Whether you are driving across the country in a van or flying across the Atlantic to explore Europe, trips will make you grow, they will show you the cultures of this world, they make you a better person.
According to a study published in the Hostelworld Global Traveler Report, travel-hungry British traveled on average, to 10 countries, Germans have seen 8, and the French traveled through 5 countries on average. However, Americans are lagging with only 3 countries on average. A surprising 29 percent of American adults have never even left the country! With all the opportunities out there, you almost can’t afford not to travel!
Traveling has never been this cheap
Airline deregulation, competition, fuel costs, and fuel efficiency drastically lowered the cost of travel in the past decades. Nowadays, you can fly to most of Europe for about $500 roundtrip or to Asia for under $1,000. This is nowhere near what it once was. Historically, flight prices have dropped by 50% in the last 30 years.
Not only did the actual price of travel drop considerably but there is now a ton of alternatives to start traveling for free. All major banks are competing for clients and offering compelling welcome bonuses to new credit card clients.
By using these offers properly, you can travel the world nearly for free. Applying for a few cards, reaching the minimum requirements for the bonuses, and stacking up the points can really turn into considerable rewards quickly. With American Express Canada for example, you can get enough rewards to fly from Canada to Mexico with a single welcome bonus. Add up two of those and you can fly to Europe!
You can even accumulate free hotel stays with cards like the Starwood Prefered Guest card from American Express which offers roughly $1,000 worth of hotel nights depending on the booking.
Traveling makes you happier
Traveling with friends and family creates memories for a lifetime. Buying more stuff provides temporary happiness but experiences and memories are for life. When traveling, you tend to see new things and new places that you never saw before like old archeries on the mountain-tops near Florance.
The joy of discovery is an amazing thing. We really enjoy the adventure. We like to explore the lesser-known parts of cities and attractions. Going off the regular tourist route, you can find hidden gems and they are usually a lot cheaper than the tourist traps.
We found an old archery club wondering around Italy
You get to discover your inner self in travel. Reconnect with yourself and others around you and spend quality time outside of your usual routine. Especially when traveling alone, you get this alone time that you would not have gotten otherwise. Even when traveling as a couple like us, you get to know each other in a whole other way when you spend weeks together 24/7 outside your usual schedule.
Don’t be afraid
You can find yourself in travel and get to know yourself better. Reconnect with yourself and others around you. Spending quality time outside your usual routine is relaxing. According to one study, three days after taking a trip, travelers reported feeling less anxious, more rested and in a better mood.
These gains were still present five weeks later, especially in those who had more personal time and overall satisfaction during their vacations.
Islands in Laos
Another discovery you will encounter is the food. Don’t be shy and satisfy your need to try, taste, and savor. There is so many cultures, so many recipes around this wonderful world, it would be such a waste to restrict your diet to steak and potatoes. Just from our past travels, we discovered plenty of new tasty dishes we now started to cook at home. We discovered Osso buco alla Milanese in Italy, devoured Pulpo a la gallega in Spain, and gobbled up Frikadellers in Denmark.
Pulpo a la gallega
For us, food plays a major role in our happiness. We like to explore and learn new dishes, new flavors, and new colors. Native dishes allow us to understand their culture even more in-depth. You can feel the work that goes into Italian home-made pasta and hear the chef’s passion in the kitchen when you are there. We enjoy how it inspires creativity and widens our horizons.
Beach and sunset on the coast of Italy
Traveling widens our perspective
By discovering the variety of cultures around the world, you get more accepting of others. Meeting new people and seeing how they live is a true eye-opener. If you take the time to eat with the locals, learn their language, and play among them, you will truly get accustomed to their culture. Acceptance goes beyond colors or languages and traveling widens our perspective of the world around us.
Of course, it is easily possible to stay in a resort and have very limited contact with the locals, only eat foods you are used to, and shop in the same shops you could back home. This home away from home travel might not be a culture shock. Not all tips will be life-changing, and that is OK. There are many ways to enjoy a holiday.
Our Bahamas trip was in a resort and that’s perfectly fine
If you develop the habit of asking questions, being open-minded, curious and respectful with locals, you will find your travels enriched. Life is often reciprocal in that way.
Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path and talk with locals. If you have the luxury of long-term traveling, take the time to learn the language. We did so in Guatemala and never learned so much about a culture so quickly. In Thailand for example, we were not able to learn Thai but most talked English. Anyone we have talked to was very soft-spoken and unbelievably well-mannered. Everyone was welcoming and happy to talk with us. We learned about them and the area and honestly, the best experiences we can remember of came from references from locals.
Fishermen boats along the coast of Laos
Traveling gets us to disconnect
Ever got that feeling when you forget everything about work, any routine, anything in your daily life? Traveling can do this amazing thing where you disconnect from your obligations and everyday life. Not only does this feel great but it is very healthy. A study from the Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin found that women who take vacations at least twice a year are less likely to suffer from depression and chronic stress than women who traveled less than once every two years.
Forget about roaming and leave the phone for emergencies only. We all wish to disconnect from our busy lives on vacation but some easy steps can greatly help. Disconnect from social media, leave the work phone at home and enjoy your time off.
Get out there and travel the world. There is so much to see, so much to learn. We wish you the best and have a safe return. Mr. and Mrs. Xyz.