We all know that traveling is an expensive hobby to keep. Take into account airfare, food and accommodation and you’ve pretty much hit the debt tri-fecta. While this may be true, there are always ways to travel smart and on a budget, if you research and remain diligent. Unfortunately, traveling on a budget is not today’s topic of discussion; we’ll save that for a later date. Instead, we’ll discuss and offer a myriad of reasons why we should make time to travel; like, increasing our ability to be creative, our willingness to try new things and challenging/ elevating our independence. Does a well-traveled you sound like a better you? We thought so, too. If those benefits don’t sound like enough for you though, here are just a few more:

Traveling forces us to be a little more open-minded. If you’re traveling to a country with different cuisine, cultural practices and languages than your own, trying new things is essential to fitting in with the locals, experiencing new sensations and communicating with those around you, too.

When we travel, we become better problem solvers. Even the most well-organized and seasoned travelers’ deal with surprises. Whether your flight is delayed, you’ve run out of gas in the middle of no-where Tuscany or your wallet just got stolen, there are just some things we can’t plan for. Solving these problems gives us the opportunity to utilize our critical thinking skills and the confidence to make better decisions. Furthermore, this movement in body causes a movement in thought. The problems that felt mentally close to us at home suddenly seem distant and fairly relative to our new location and its problems and challenges. The closer you are to your problems, the harder it is to contemplate them. So not only do we learn to problem solve a little better, we learn to more thoroughly contemplate and challenge our problems at home. (The Guardian wrote a pretty cool piece about how traveling develops different thought processes and will even make you smarter. Check it out here: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/2010/mar/14/why-travel-makes-you-smarter)

Solving these travel related problems boosts our self-confidence. Sometimes, taking care of ourselves is challenging. Add a geographical and language barrier to that and handling sticky situations is even harder. However, each problem has a solution and it is good to feel that we can take care of ourselves during tough times. Not to mention that traveling (especially alone) requires a fair bit of bravery and knowing you can take care of yourself is exciting and encouraging.

Traveling teaches us to be grateful. Whether we’re traveling to a lesser developed nation or a more developed nation, traveling somewhere new allows us to acknowledge and be grateful for the many wonderful things in our lives. Whether its friends, family, fortune or education, we can all find something in our lives to be grateful for and traveling helps us acknowledge and share those things with others.

When we travel we get to meet new people. Sometimes making friends at home is hard; riding the train or standing in line, people are a little less inclined to make small talk with the people next to them. When you’re in a new place though, many people are just as eager as you to discuss their travels, make recommendations and find someone to share a taxi or grab a drink with. You never know who you’ll meet and that’s exciting!

Of course, the vitamin D and time alone aren’t bad either! While this isn’t a comprehensive list of reasons to travel, we hope they’re enough to get you planning your next trip because as you can see, a well-traveled you is a better you.