How Travel Can Help Your Career

According to CNN, studying abroad and traveling can set you apart from your competition and provide memorable experiences to share with employers. And if you’re not a student, you can still take time off and travel while actually giving your career a boost. While traveling, take time to reflect on the skills and desires you already have to reinvent your career or find new paths you haven’t explored.

Get out of your comfort zone

Charity Water founder Scott Harrison left his comfort zone, a lucrative but unhappy job promoting nightclubs and fashion events in New York. He decided to do the opposite of what his daily life looked like and volunteered for the floating hospital, Mercy Ships, to help administer free medical care in poor nations. Astonished by the poverty around him, Harrison decided to set up a charity to bring clean, running water to the world’s poorest nations to help combat illnesses and improve health.

You may not feel called to start your own charity like Harrison did, but living life far outside your comfort zone can expose you to situations and ideas you never would have gained otherwise.

Develop innovation

Traveling requires a certain sense of innovation and quick thinking to get out of sticky situations and move forward on your journey. You can also get innovative with your smartphone and use it to to develop employment opportunities or to take advantage of the sharing economy. Offer a ride to someone going across the country, look for odd jobs abroad or volunteer at a farm in rural England in exchange for room, board and a small stipend.

Show future employers your innovation and skills by developing an online portfolio listing your services.

Leverage your devices for paid work as your travel, such as offering online tutoring on Wyzant or recording surfing demonstrations for an online Udemy class. And if you’re worried about damaging your device, use a smartphone such as the Galaxy S7 that’s water- and dust-resistant.

Learn social and communications skills

The people you run into around the world may all hold similar values, but that doesn’t mean the nuances of language and culture are easy to manage. Whether you’re bargaining with an artisan or communicating with a waiter or a new friend, social and communication skills rapidly grow when you’re traveling. You quickly learn how to better understand others and communicate while attempting to respect the cultural boundaries around you. Soon something as basic as a job interview feels like a breeze after spending months tastefully communicating your way through a single adventure to get from point A to B.

Master the art of problem solving

Travel puts you in constant problem-solving mode, whether you’ve missed the last train of the day or cannot find a room in a city hosting a major convention. Opportunities such as these force you to learn to think fast on your feet and deal with tricky situations without losing your cool.

Employers are hungry for adept problem solvers who are able to turn any situation around and thrive. So when an employer asks to describe your problem-solving skills, you can provide vibrant travel experiences with real-world examples while other candidates reference the same tired analogies of cubicle life from their last job.