7 Ways Travel Increases Your Employability
If you’re looking to advance in your career, then travel may not be a priority, especially not long-term travel.
Travel for any length of time, however, does not detract from your professional life but can actually develop skills that will increase your employability.
From living and working in a different country, to taking a short cruise from the UK, you’re still working on sides of yourself that, in the long run, will give you a career boost once you return home.
Here are seven skills that travel helps develop.
1. Time Management and Understanding of Cultural Differences
Waking up to the same commute every day means you can get your timekeeping down to a fine art through consistent practice. But travelling doesn’t give you that luxury as you are constantly having to manage different cities and transport systems to catch buses, trains, and planes that aren’t going to wait for you.
If you’re in a career that requires a lot of foreign travel for meetings, then timekeeping is a vital skill. The understanding of different cultures will also be useful for understanding different cultures’ concepts of time. For instance, where Americans, Germans, and Swiss prioritise punctuality and a linear concept of time, Spaniards and Italians prioritise each moment and the value of each meeting itself.
Where an American will cut off a conversation and end the meeting because the time is up, an Italian, providing the conversation is valuable, will stay until it has finished.
When travelling, we not only become more efficient at time management, but we gain respect and perspective for the times on which other cultures run their lives.
2. Responsibility and Self-Management Skills
When you travel, and especially if you travel alone, you have to learn how to take care of yourself.
When there is no one else to pick up your loose ends, self-management becomes second instinct. Hand-in-hand with organization, flexibility and timekeeping, there is no one else who can take care of you if you miss a detail.
On return from your trip, your self-management skills will be invaluable in a work environment as they will translate into becoming an independent and self-motivated worker.
3. Languages - From a Year Abroad to a Cruise from the UK
Being fluent, or at least proficient, in a second language is one of the most powerful things to have on your CV.
Still, why take evening classes in Spanish once a week for five years when you could live and study there for a year and return with an even better grasp of the language?
According to the FSI, the US Foreign Language Study Institute, it should take 480 hours to reach basic fluency in easy languages, and 720 hours for more complex ones.
The pay-off isn’t just increased employability but also increased earning potential. Research by Rosetta Stone found that 17% of bilingual households have an income of over $100,000 a year. Moreover, if you speak at least one foreign language, then you’re likely to be earning $10,000 more a year than a household that only speaks English.
You don’t just have to live in a country to learn that language, though. Travelling through a country gives plenty of opportunities to practice your vocabulary. Even if you’re on a cruise and spending limited amounts of time on the shore, you can still get some classes in. Larger cruise lines like NCL Cruises offer language courses, so you can make use of all that time away from land and then apply your knowledge when you reach the next destination.
4. Flexibility to Handle Whatever Comes Your Way
Travel requires the ability to roll with the punches and think on your feet.
Living in the same routine every day will mean you never leave your comfort zone, and you can lose awareness of your surroundings.
By putting yourself into unfamiliar and changeable situations, you will stay adaptable and become sharper at handling situations as they come, something that is invaluable in the workplace.
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5. Social Skills to Adapt to Different Social Scenes and Cultures
Moving from place to place brings you into contact with a large number of people from different backgrounds and cultures.
In your daily environment, you probably see the same people every day and get used to only socialising with your peers. It can become a bubble wherein you can swiftly forget that conflicting opinions to your own exist.
If you don't want to spend your time alone when you travel, then you have to negotiate different social situations and introduce yourself to strangers on an almost daily basis. Travel boosts confidence and independence, and can work to bring even the most introverted person out of their shell.
If you’re not ready to backpack solo round the world, or if it’s just not your scene, then a tour round the cultural highlights of a country or a cruise are also good ways to meet people.
If you keep this confidence when you return to the workplace then, whether you’re interviewing for a position or speaking up in a meeting, you’ll be able to present your ideas and opinions in a self-possessed manner that will make everyone sit up and pay attention.
6. Organisation to Manage Itineraries and Budgeting
From organising your itinerary so that flights, transport, and hotels line up to budgeting your trip so that your money lasts, travel requires a certain level of organisation and efficiency that’s bound to develop over time.
Good organisation and budgeting skills developed through travelling will help save you time when you return home.
An important aspect of organisation skills is the ability to visualise a sequence of events from start to finish. From the conceptualisation of an idea, be it a trip or a business proposition, through the organisation of the details, right up until the final stage of actualisation, having the organisational skills to see an idea through is important for both travel and the workplace.
7. Creativity to Learn to Think Outside the Box
Travelling the world exposes you to new places and people that are outside your own environment.
If you’re on a time limit, a cruise from the UK is an excellent way to see the highlights of a large number of places in short amount of time. Many large cruise lines like Azamara cruises run workshops and talks so you can develop yourself while you’re travelling.
The creativity gained through new perspectives on different cultures and communities can bring fresh ideas to your workplace. If you’re finding yourself in a rut and feel like you’re not progressing, then even a week away can breathe new life into your ideas.
Whatever you have the time and money for — whether it’s a year away, a round the world cruise, or a week in Spain — you’re bound to return with new skills that will benefit both you and your future employer and that will put you on the fast track to success.
About the Author
Paul Edge, director of Cruise Club UK, has spent over 25 years working to improve the travel industry.
A proud dad of two, when not in an exotic location user-testing one of his luxury cruises, he’s exploring the world with kids in tow.