If you've ever considered taking time out from your busy career to travel, whether for a week or a year, you probably assumed that you would have to sacrifice your chances of improving those all important work skills that employers value. You'll be happy to know that there are many valuable things that travel can teach you that will only enhance your career. Here's a list of 7 career skills that will only get better when you travel.
1. Time management
You won't be on the road for very long before you realize how critical time management skills are to travel. Plan poorly and you leave yourself with extended layovers and dead zones with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Or worse, poor time management could leave you running from place to place, perpetually late or even missing important connections.
2. Communication skills
Any seasoned traveller knows that learning how to communicate with people from cultures that are very different from your own and who speak languages that you may have never even heard of takes skill. Being misunderstood is incredibly easy if you aren't careful. It makes you a better listener and a more careful communicator in all of your interactions.
When you travel you may end up having to orient yourself or find your way in a new place using nothing more than a few simple directions given to you by a local. If you're lucky, you'll have a map or a guidebook to work from. No matter what, you will have to rely on your ability to visualize.
4. Stress management
There are few things that we can do to completely cut stress out of our lives. Whether you are on the job or on the road, stress will go with you. It can be overwhelming and disorienting to be in a place that is completely new to you, which teaches you very quickly the value of handling stress in a healthy way.
Travelling with others is a great way to practice your skills as a team player. Even if you travel with just one other person, you still have to deal with all of their wants and idiosyncrasies. You have to figure out common goals and learn how to compromise so everyone gets to have an enjoyable experience.
6. Organization and planning
If your skills at organizing and planning projects are lacking on the job, the worst that can happen is that you find yourself out of a job. If planning and organization aren't your strong suits and you're on a round-the-world adventure, you could end up endangering your health, safety, your finances or well-being.
Travel presents one opportunity after another for you to strengthen your adaptability skills because things rarely ever go completely according to plan. Flights get delayed or cancelled, restaurants may not have the food you want, and that great hotel you booked online may look nothing like you expected. You learn very quickly on the road that if you hope to have any fun at all, you are better off learning how to roll with the punches rather than letting small disappointments ruin your entire day (or trip). Being adaptable and flexible can also help you with your stress management skills.
So, don't worry that taking time off from your career to enjoy life on the road will leave you at a loss when it comes to developing your work related skills. No matter where you go, you are always learning something useful.
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