Travelling was once a luxury for the elite classes. It was a mark of privilege, and nothing more than a leisure activity that showed that you had a bit more money than the average Joe. But with the advent of low-cost carriers, package holidays and the increasing numbers of countries relying on tourism for a portion of their GDP, thus creating holiday resorts and competitive prices to attract the masses, vacationing has been made accessible for a lot of people. But how can you use your travels to give you an edge in the world of work?
According to a survey carried out by Hostelworld, 82% of employers think travelling makes you more employable, and 62% of adults who took the survey overall also believe it makes you more employable. 61% of participants said that the structure of their own travels boosted their CV, whilst 62% stated that their travels helped them decide what they wanted to do in life. 46% of participants even met people whilst travelling who helped them secure a job later in life…
Successful businesses reach out to people around the world. Employers are now looking more than ever for people who can speak multiple languages. This increases their utility in global companies where clients and business partners from different pockets of the world will be impressed by someone with an aptitude for their native language. Travelling and picking up phrases from different parts of the world, and taking the time to get a good grip of some major languages (for example: Spanish, Mandarin, French) means a business trip to Switzerland won’t be daunting if you have a good handle of German, or a two-week placement in Madrid less stressful if you know a bit of Spanish. 31% of those who participated in the Hostelworld survey stated that travel helps improve communication, and 20% maintained that travel helps develop a more ‘global view’.
Travelling makes you a better team player and increases empathy. It comes as no surprise that travel increases your cultural sensitivity, which makes you a better candidate for jobs where the work environment is constantly changing and the workforce and clientele are diverse. Employers value a candidate who can demonstrate that they will be understanding, open-minded and tolerant of their colleagues and would work well in a team.
Organising travelling successfully is a mark of responsibility. Those six-month trips across SE Asia require A LOT of planning. Of those surveyed in the study, 19% stated travelling made them better at managing money. Being able to tell an employer you pulled one off successfully, solo or with friends, at the age of 18 is impressive and demonstrates you are not afraid of being independent or take responsibility for yourself in new and unfamiliar circumstances.
Travelling enhances stress management skills. Planning a holiday and executing it successfully can be quite stressful, especially if you’re trying to organise a large group, or a whole family! Creating itineraries, deciphering foreign languages, currencies, sorting out visas and passports sometimes puts people off planning those bucket list trips. Companies will look out for people who take initiative to complete tasks that bring about certain levels of risk and resultant stress.
It is a great way of boosting your IQ. New experiences stimulate your brain in ways it perhaps would not have done before travelling. Just the experience of seeing how other people live and operate makes you a wiser and more well-informed person, so it is no wonder travelling has been shown to boost people’s IQs and increase their creativity.
Travelling provides invaluable work experience. If you plan to work whilst abroad, or participate in some sort of volunteer scheme, you will gain unique work experience in a new environment, which will provide all the stresses and considerations of a job at home, but with the added consideration of being in a completely unfamiliar environment and thus having to adapt to different types of changes. This could include having to communicate with those who do not share your first language, adjusting to environmental conditions e.g. heat, snow, or even fitting in with the norms of the country in which you have chosen to work. Throwing yourself into new environments and not being afraid of having to adapt to change is a key skill coveted by employers when recruiting.
It is important to note that travelling is still a luxury and is inaccessible to a lot of people, but this number has dropped. Most students who can afford to be at university could potentially put away some pennies for a trip within Europe or even to a new surface of the U.K. if nowhere else! The joy of travel is in the travel itself, but don’t forget it comes with some benefits for employability too. So what are you waiting for?