5 Business Skills That You Can Learn From Traveling

Traveling can be enlightening and enjoyable. Since the pre-Victorian era, it has been common for young people to take time to travel and broaden their horizons; indeed, in the Victorian era, travel, especially to Continental Europe, meant that the youth was officially welcomed into society as an adult. These days, study abroad programs are offered at many colleges and universities across the world, encouraging students to take advantage of opportunities to learn in unfamiliar settings and embrace foreign cultures.

However, travel is not merely pleasurable; it endows the voyager with irreplaceable and enduring skills. In the modern business world, being well travelled can give you a definite competitive advantage (think networking opportunities!), and can even help you develop your own leadership talent. Here are five business skills that traveling can help to instill!

1. Communication

Being in an unfamiliar place, especially one with a foreign language, forces the traveler to really develop a great set of communication skills—written, verbal, and pictographic. Perhaps you’re using elementary charades, or perhaps you’re using a shared common language in order to find the nearest bus station—either way, you’re figuring out a way to communicate with someone that you wouldn’t normally. Great communication skills are essential in almost every of business, so learning how to convey your message in a non-traditional way can be incredibly useful to you in your career!

2. Adaptability

With constantly changing public transportation schedules in unfamiliar places, unforeseeable actions of other people, and environmental uncontrollables such weather, traffic, or cultural events, travelers learn the utter importance of adaptability. This is a skill that translates well to the work place, where clients or customers can change their minds constantly and accepting new regulations and figuring out a viable solution is imperative. Similarly, businesses themselves are constantly evolving and growing in response to cultural shifts, and so adaptability is necessary in order to succeed.

3. Inspiration

Visiting other cultures and meeting new people with different view points is not only interesting, but can be exceptionally influential. Embracing different cultural perspectives while traveling can allow you to think “out of the box” when back at your job, and can encourage you to explore new or different opportunities that you may have previously overlooked or misjudged.

4. Problem Solving

Problem solving is essential when traveling, as unexpected difficulties can arise at any moment. Between missed flights, stolen or lost luggage, natural disasters, or even unexpected injuries, traveling introduces a variety of scenarios that would not be issues in everyday life at home, but that can present serious difficulties when in a foreign place. However, the adept traveler will use well-honed decision making skills along with time and stress management in order to not only identify and asses the issue at hand, but to resolve it in a timely manner so as not to disrupt the entire trip. Those same decision-making and time and stress management skills are incredibly useful in the workplace. Exceptional problem solving skills allow you to identify pros and cons, recognize goals, create ways in which to achieve those goals, and do all this by a certain deadline with a minimal amount of stress.

5. Networking

Meeting new people in different cultural environments can force you to truly think about what you have in common. Perhaps you share the same religion from half a world away, or perhaps you both speak a common language. Maybe you both love the same author or musician. Finding shared threads between cultures can help you develop your business networking skills. Additionally, when you’re back in your native country, speaking about your voyages with others can help you to forge a common bond and connect over shared travel recollections.