Why You Should Travel Internationally

A US passport is valid for 10 years and according to US State Department statistics, 133,959,114  passports issued in the last 10 years. Using the Census Bureau calculation of the 2013 total population for the United States of 316,128,839 and dividing that by the number of US passports issued for the last 10 years, means that approximately only 42% of the American population has  a passport.  I have actually heard statistics that were much lower than 42% but it is still quite surprising to me that less than half of Americans can and do travel outside of the Unites States.

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International travel is such an amazing experience and once you start traveling it is hard to stop.  So why don’t more people travel internationally?  Many people avoid international travel because they have a fear of the unknown or don’t want to experience change  but that is the exact reason to travel, to learn and to experience new things.   By traveling to another country  you can experience new foods, meet new people and engage all of your senses.  You can hear new languages and sounds, smell new spices, taste new cuisines and see new things.

Going to a new place gives you a new perspective.  It also allows you to appreciate what you have and how you live at home and it makes you no longer take many things for granted.   International travel also makes you realize that experiences can have much more value than material possessions.  Sure having the latest Iphone is great and technology is important, but being able to see  international monuments and wonders of the world like the Taj Mahal in person is priceless and something that’s indescribable with words.  It’s so majestic and unbelievable to stand in front of an iconic place and quite different from reading about it or merely seeing pictures of it.

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By traveling you learn not only about the places you visit but also about yourself.  Traveling teaches you how to navigate different places and cultures and how to communicate with others.  It instills confidence and teaches the importance of going with the flow, experiencing new things, living in the moment and being spontaneous.

One of the beauties of international travel is there is no right or wrong way to do it and it is accessible to anyone and everyone.  Sure you need to be able to afford an airline ticket to travel internationally but once you get to your destination the world is your oyster and certain countries are so inexpensive that once you get to them your costs can actually be less than if you stayed at home.

If travel intimidates you, start with somewhere that is English speaking.  You can go to Canada, New Zealand, Australia, England, South Africa and many other places.  You won’t have to worry about making yourself understood but you will experience different foods, see amazing sights and meet different people.

Like live, travel is about priorities.  You can stay in a hostel, rent a room from a local, find a hotel or stay in luxurious accommodations where your every whim is catered to.  It’s up to you to decide what you want to spend your money on.  If like me you love food and wine then trying the best restaurants might be your focus.  Often you can find wine varietals and limited small production producers who are not available back home.   If accommodations are important to you then focus on those.   Overseas you can often find luxury accommodations that will cost you what a chain or mid level hotel might cost you in the US.  If you want someone to take you around, join a tour or hire a local guide or driver.   In many countries because the cost of living is so much cheaper these cost very little.   If you like navigating new places try your hand at using buses, trains and local transport such as tuk tuks in Thailand or rickshaws in India to travel and get to know the locals.

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Whatever you do and wherever you go, you are sure to grow from international travel.  So what are you waiting for, if you don’t have a passport apply for one today and if you do have a passport, pull it out, dust it off and plan your next adventure.  Trust me, once you start traveling internationally, its hard to stop!   And, if you love to travel like I do, please share with me your most unforgettable international travel experience, what gave you the travel bug and where the next international destination is on your list.

Happy Travels!

 

 

 

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