young woman traveling

Traveling can open up your whole world. You can learn some important truths about yourself just by getting outside of your comfort zone. It doesn’t need to be a world-wide trip to be enlightening, either, although that’s a great thing to try if you can afford it! A simple trip to another part of your state can be equally fulfilling if you look at it the right way. Here are some ideas to help you get the most out of your travels.

1. Learn to Be Alone

In our fast-paced modern society, many people struggle with the concept of silence and being alone. Being in your own company can be highly rewarding if you look at it the right way. If you have developed some gap year ideas and are traveling solo, this is a great opportunity to discover what your preferences are. It is also an effective way to see that you can stand on your own two feet in an unfamiliar situation and do just fine. You can visit the shops and restaurants that you wouldn’t normally be able to if you had company, and you’ll feel free to do the things you want to do when you want to do them.

2. Learn to Be Flexible

Every seasoned traveler knows that nothing goes according to plan on a trip, no matter how thorough your itinerary. If you are a person who needs everything to be scheduled and on a rigid timetable, traveling is a great opportunity to become more flexible and adaptive. If you make a mistake, don’t be too hard on yourself. Make a note for your next trip and know that you’ll do better next time. Every mistake and wrong turn is an opportunity for growth. Be patient with yourself and with others. As with anything, there is a learning curve to becoming an experienced traveler.

3. Learn to Trust Others

Most people harbor a secret fear of becoming lost in a foreign country with no one to help them. You can be prepared, but things do go wrong from time to time. Guidebooks get lost, phones lose power and your carefully prepared phrases might easily be forgotten in a stressful situation. Traveling is a great way to learn that most people are kind and willing to help you if you simply ask for assistance. That being said, always put your safety first. If you feel uncomfortable or a situation seems sketchy, it is probably best to remove yourself from the area and try to find help elsewhere.

4. Learn That Wherever You Go, There You Are

While traveling can be very healing, it is also true that your feelings will follow you where you go. If you are grieving the loss of a relationship, this feeling is not going to go away just because you are in Paris. If anything, being alone in a foreign city may make you feel more grief-stricken than ever. This is a great opportunity to meet these feelings head-on. Try some journaling, call a friend or simply go for a walk and process your difficult feelings. If you can’t deal with them on your own, book an appointment with a mental health counselor when you get back home. Travel has a way of clarifying things, so be sure to make mental or physical notes of the feelings that arise while you are on your trip.


If you are going through a rough time, the thought of travel may be exhausting or overwhelming. Be honest with yourself about whether this is the right time for you to take a trip. If the answer is yes, be realistic about how elaborate of a trip you can handle right now. It may be a worldwide adventure or just a trip to a city you have always wanted to visit. Regardless, treat it as an opportunity for major growth. Enjoy yourself and apply the lessons you have learned to your daily life once you are home again.