Traveling to new places can be one of the most rewarding things you can do with your free time, and if you’re not doing it enough, you’re missing out on some great experiences that will help you grow as a person. Whether you prefer road trips across the country or adventure tours through exotic locations, travel has its benefits. Here are 10 reasons why you should plan your next vacation this year.
1) For inspiration
there are a lot of great things about traveling—meeting new people, tasting new food, exploring exciting destinations. But sometimes we don’t travel as much as we want because life can get in the way. Here are 10 reasons why you should make 2017 your year to travel more
2) To look at the world with different eyes
If you want to travel more and make new friends along your journey, spend some time in front of a mirror. A University of Iowa study found that people who spent a few minutes gazing at their reflections experienced greater feelings of social connectedness—and that these participants were likely to communicate those feelings with others. The lesson: Spend some time alone with yourself, and you’re more likely to create meaningful relationships with others. (Discover how small things can ignite long-lasting habits.)
3) To experience other cultures
If you want to be a better communicator and leader, travel is a great way to do it. As our world becomes increasingly interconnected, we must learn how to better collaborate with one another. By immersing yourself in other cultures, you will not only discover new ways of thinking about people who are different from you, but you’ll also learn how to see things from their perspective.
4) For soul satisfaction
One of my favorite things about travel is that it can be one of the best soul cleansers. When you travel, you escape from your routine and your surroundings. As you explore new places and spend time with new people, you get to see everything through a fresh perspective. And even if what you see when traveling doesn’t change how you feel about life, your thoughts will still find a way to come back around to what makes them happy.
5) Because if you don’t, you will regret it
I can almost guarantee that if you don’t see at least a few places outside of your own hometown, you will wish you had. And I don’t mean going to Disneyworld or another tourist trap—I mean seeing some of the real culture, seeing some things you wouldn’t see if you just stayed home and watched TV.
6) To make new friends
When you travel, it’s inevitable that you will meet new people. These could be other tourists or people who work in different countries. Regardless of how you meet them, these contacts will become friends for life. It doesn’t matter where you travel; your new friends can turn into a lifelong companionship.
7) To see how beautiful life can be
Traveling is like life, James A. Michener wrote in Chesapeake. The more widely you have traveled, the more widely you will be able to look at life—and death. No one really understands anyone else. Everyone clings to his own experience as if it were right and true and never realizing that everyone else is doing exactly that … seeing through one pair of eyes and living in only one skin.
8) Because it’s good for your brain
Traveling enriches your mind, so it’s good for your long-term brain health. A 2014 study by psychologists at Vanderbilt University found that travelers reported larger hippocampal volumes compared to non-travelers. The hippocampus is a critical part of our brain; it governs memory, spatial navigation and more.
9) It opens your mind to possibilities
As you travel, you see firsthand that other people are happy and prosperous in ways that may be different from your own. While we can learn from our neighbors and countrymen, there is much to be gained by seeing how people are living on a global scale. And when you venture outside of your normal routine, it’s impossible not to learn new things about yourself along with lessons about others. A trip isn’t just a vacation—it’s an education.
10) To make memories that last a lifetime
Your vacation is your chance to make memories that last a lifetime. You might want to recall them fondly on your deathbed, and you never know when they might come in handy! If you remember only one thing from your trip, it should be an amazing memory that happens while you’re there. That way, whenever something reminds you of that moment, it will automatically take you back and make you smile. If only travel were like that all year long… but until it is, we can dream.