23 Job Skills Travelers Learn While Seeing the World

Do you need another excuse to travel? Probably not. But just in case, traveling does more than just allow us to make memories, gain experiences, and recharge. It can also benefit your career. It’s true! Traveling can teach you many great skills applicable to everyday life, including in-demand job skills employers want. Imagine returning to work not only refreshed but also better able to do your job. So, classify your next big trip as a business expense, pack your bags, and grab your passport! Here are 23 job skills you can learn while traveling.

1. Budgeting

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It’s expensive to travel, and most of us don’t have enough money to fly down to some tropical beach resort on a whim—we need to budget for it. Saving money for a nice vacation requires discipline, planning, and patience—all skills a boss wants from their staff, too.

Budgeting also teaches financial responsibility, smart spending decisions, and accounting. You need to know how much you have to spend so that you don’t go into debt or miss out on attractions or events you really want to see.

2. Planning

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If you want to have a great trip, you need to plan. Where and when are you going? What are you going to do? Where are you going to stay? How will you be getting there?

If you’re traveling internationally, planning becomes even more complex. You’ll need to research any visa or other requirements and navigate currency exchanges and international airports.

While you don’t need to plan every last second of your trip, you need a general plan for how you’ll spend your days. And you might want to have contingency plans, too, just in case something goes awry. Planning a trip is a lot like planning a work project. It has a lot of moving parts and requires attention to detail.

3. Research

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A huge part of planning a trip involves research. From saving money with traveling hacking to checking the weather, you need to gather this information and make decisions based on what you learn. Many people spend weeks and even months researching a trip before developing their final plans. You also need to consider the source of your information—many places are just trying to sell you something as a tourist.

Similarly, many jobs require research skills, especially the ability to source credible information. Even if your job doesn’t directly involve research, being able to find information when you need it is a valuable skill for any job.

4. Communication

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Traveling somewhere you don’t speak the language or where the culture is completely different from your own quickly demonstrates the importance of developing communication skills while traveling. It’s easy to be misunderstood or misunderstand someone else, so learning to listen and communicate is crucial.

Nonverbal communication, like gestures and facial expressions, comes into play, as does the need to be clear and direct if you want others to understand your ideas or messages.

While most people at your workplace will speak the same language, everyone comes from different backgrounds and cultures. How you communicate still matters, and misunderstandings will still happen. Learning to be a better communicator will make everyone’s jobs easier.

5. Interpersonal Skills

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Some travelers absolutely love meeting new people, but even if you don’t, you will interact with fellow travelers, service providers, and the locals while visiting new places. You have to be able to build rapport with strangers so that you can make the most of your vacation and avoid social faux pas.

Strong interpersonal skills and being likable also go a long way at work. People want to work with nice people.

6. Teamwork

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Most people travel with family or friends. With two or more people involved, you’ll need to collaborate and compromise so everyone is happy and gets what they want from the experience.

Teamwork is also a highly valued job skill because virtually every role involves some level of collaboration. So if you can work as a team while seeing the world, chances are you can also do so in the office.

7. Independence

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Solo traveling will teach you how to be self-reliant very quickly. But group travelers can develop their independence, too. When you are in another state or country, you don’t necessarily have the same support available to you, like cell phone service or roadside assistance. You have to figure things out for yourselves.

Although employers want to hire team players, they don’t want to have to babysit anyone. They want you to complete your work assignments without constant supervision or handholding.

8. Problem-Solving

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Traveling can bring all sorts of challenges, from getting lost to losing your luggage. Especially in a foreign country, you’ll need your skills to find solutions for whatever comes up.

Navigating unfamiliar environments and solving logistical issues while traveling shows that you are resourceful and able to handle anything the job throws at you.

9. Stress Management

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While you may be able to problem-solve issues while traveling, that doesn’t mean navigating those problems is easy. In an environment utterly unfamiliar to you, it can be highly stressful to deal with roadblocks. However, if you can manage the travel stress, you can likely manage whatever comes your way in the workplace.

10. Time Management

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From booking your transportation and accommodations to making your flights on time to seeing everything you want to while on your trip, time management will make or break the experience. No one wants to miss a flight and deal with that headache.

Time management is also an important job skill, especially in roles with strict deadlines. Your boss trusts that you will get your work done on time, and there are consequences if you can’t.

11. Adaptability

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Even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry. Any frequent traveler knows that you must prepare for whatever comes your way.

You have to adapt to a new environment and potentially a different culture altogether and may have to deal with setbacks. Flights get canceled, and the fantastic hotel you booked online can turn out to be completely different in reality. Whatever the issue, the most crucial aspect is reacting and recovering.

Of course, issues can also arise in the workplace that require you to think on your feet and quickly pivot to solve problems. Someone who has experienced adversity while traveling and managed the issue successfully would know how to adapt.

12. Language

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Speaking multiple languages is highly valuable and increasingly crucial for working with diverse clients in our interconnected world. You are bound to pick up at least some of the local language while traveling.

For those who have studied another language but want to improve their fluency, there is no better way than to immerse themselves in a country that speaks it.

13. Diversity

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We tend to gravitate toward what is familiar. While that may feel safe, it doesn’t help us work with people from different backgrounds. With more businesses focusing on diversity, this is an in-demand skill frequent travelers tend to have.

But you don’t have to travel internationally to learn how to step out of your comfort zone. Traveling to different parts of your home country can expose you to people with different ways of thinking and behaving, leading to more tolerance and open-mindedness.

14. Cultural Awareness

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Along with exposure to more diversity, travel helps you become more culturally aware – meaning you understand the cultural norms, values, customs, beliefs, and behaviors of different groups or societies.

Even if they are from the same culture as you, your coworkers will have their own values and beliefs, and they won’t all align with yours. Recognizing and respecting that shows you are empathetic and willing to learn and will promote inclusivity.

15. Empathy

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Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Being exposed to more diversity and gaining cultural awareness develops empathy for those different from ourselves and helps us understand them. Traveling forces interaction and allows us to develop that empathy, which is critical for successfully working with different people in the workplace.

16. Listening

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Active listening involves making an effort to hear, understand, and retain information given to you. When traveling, you need to listen to navigate your trip successfully. Not listening could mean you miss that can’t-miss attraction or put your safety at risk.

Active listening is also vital in the workplace. It allows you to get all the information you need and better understand your colleagues and clients. There is nothing better than feeling like someone is listening and understanding you.

17. Creativity

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If being outside, exploring new landscapes, unique architecture, vibrant cultures, and diverse people doesn’t spark your creativity, I don’t know what will. Those spontaneous conversations with the locals can really ignite creativity in unexpected ways.

Travelers are well-known for taking lots of pictures and, of course, trying the local cuisine. It may not seem like you are learning a valuable skill, but flexing this creative muscle makes you a better employee. Innovative thinking, problem-solving, and finding new solutions lead to increased productivity and success for yourself and the company.

18. Risk Assessment

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Not all destinations are safe. As a traveler, you might come across several unsafe scenarios ranging from natural disasters and political unrest to food poisoning or twisting your ankle on a hike. You have to evaluate your situation and determine what to do next to mitigate the risks.

At work, risk management skills involve assessing situations and addressing unsafe conditions. Similar to travelers, this means developing backup plans, setting up safety measures, and making well-informed decisions to keep everyone safe.

19. Networking

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The more you travel, the more people you meet. Often, these people become lifelong friends or close connections that could be useful later on.

The ability to network will be helpful and perhaps even essential in both travel and your career. The more connections you build, the wider the network of people available to you should you need something.

20. Negotiating

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Savvy travelers know how to get those deals, typically through negotiating or haggling. The more you negotiate, the better you become at being persuasive. This will undoubtedly help you in your career.

When it comes time to ask for a raise or negotiate your salary with a new job, you want the upper hand. Being an experienced negotiator will give you that advantage. Plus, employers will appreciate your negotiating skills when it comes to making favorable deals with clients.

21. Storytelling

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Along with persuasiveness is storytelling. If you can captivate an audience through writing, photography, or public speaking, imagine what this communication skill could do for you in the workplace.

Travelers learn how to be strong storytellers by sharing their adventures, insights, and unique anecdotes with each other and their friends and family back home. Every time they retell their story, they become better at making it more engaging and interesting.

While you probably don’t sit around exchanging these tales at work, you do have to give presentations, talk to customers, and inspire your boss and coworkers to go with your suggestions. Your storytelling abilities can really influence others.

22. Patience

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Dealing with travel delays, language barriers, and cultural differences teaches patience and tolerance, even if you don’t realize it in the moment. This underrated skill can make a stressful trip a little easier, just as it can reduce stress at work.

You can’t control everything. Accepting that sometimes you just have to wait makes life much more enjoyable.

23. Global Perspective

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As a traveler, you are exposed to different worlds beyond your own community and country. You see the challenges and triumphs of communities around the world, giving you a global perspective.

If you work with international companies or clients, it’s clear why having this skill would work to your advantage. But it can also help you work with your community’s diverse stakeholders and customers.

Growing on Your Time Off

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Our world is becoming increasingly interconnected and location-independent. Aside from being fun, traveling helps you learn and practice critical job skills that make you a highly desirable candidate in the workforce. And with more jobs involving travel becoming remote, travel experience may just give you a leg up when applying for your next position. 

From learning to think on your feet, honing the ability to plan and organize, or becoming more culturally aware and diverse in your thinking, these skills will help you become a more balanced and better person.

Where will your travels take you next?

The Skills You Need to Work Remotely

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Today, technology has allowed more and more employees to work wherever they choose. Whether you’re looking to live in a lower-cost-of-living area, travel the world, or simply skip the daily commute, there are many great opportunities for virtual jobs. But there’s also a lot of competition for these roles.

To set yourself apart, you need to have the right skills for the job. These are the 25 skills that every digital nomad and remote worker needs to be successful.

What Are My Talents?

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You have a lot of skills, but it can be hard to define them, particularly when it comes to writing a resume or doing a self-evaluation at work. So how do you identify your skills? Not only will we show you, but in the end, you’ll have a long list of all of the things that you excel at.

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.

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