What We Learn Through Travel– With Tips and Inspiration

Travel is one of life’s greatest teachers– in this article we will explore what we learn through travel and how to make the most of those powerful lessons. Travel offers us a deeper exploration of our own self-awareness, cultural understanding, and an appreciation of our planet and the people we share it with. 

I’m the founder of Trip Scholars and a travel education consultant. As an internationally certified travel coach and advisor and a published author on worldschooling, I am dedicated to supporting curious people who want to get the most from their travels. I’ve combined my love of travel with over 30 years in education to find the most inspiring and actionable ideas and activities to help curious people learn about the world and themselves through travel. 

Who am I in relation to myself and the rest of the world? Travel helps us understand ourselves from a unique perspective of time and space. It also invites us to discover what we are drawn to, what brings us joy, how we manage stress when we are outside of our comforts and daily habits, and how we relate to others– both strangers and those closest to us.

To truly unlock the transformative power of travel, consider approaching it with intention and thoughtful travel planning. Below, I’ll guide you through the LEARN Through Travel framework:

Listen, Educate, Advance, Revitalize, and Nourish.

These are steps you can take before, during, and after a trip to help you dive deeper into the enriching experiences travel can offer. 

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!
Photo by Trip Scholars

Listen to Yourself

In the early stages of planning a trip, it’s very helpful to tune into the WHY behind your travel. Ask yourself: What are my intentions for this trip? What do I hope to discover or experience? Also reflect on your travel companions, location, budget, as well as your physical and mental health to ensure your trip aligns with your personal values and circumstances.

Travel in many ways has become performative, which is no surprise since 35% of travelers say they get their inspiration from social media. But what does this do to our actual experience of travel if we are ticking off a list of the most popular sites and getting photos to show we were there? 

When I work with clients, we spend a lot of time exploring what they hope to get from their travels and it is a privilege to watch these thoughtful people settle into their own personal trips. That often means not visiting the most popular destinations and instead spending time on a farm with animals, doing some volunteer work, going on a backpacking trip, or picking a local neighborhood to relax into. I personally love visiting museums and historic sites, but that doesn’t mean the best choice for you. Each trip is unique and personal and it is worth spending time defining it for yourself.

**Tip:** Read this article and ask yourself, Why do I Travel. It includes questions to ask yourself and reflections from other travel writers about why they travel. Then incorporate practices like meditation, conversations with loved ones, or journaling to clarify your own travel intentions. 

Burke Museum Shop, Seattle, Washington, USA |Photo by Trip Scholars

Educate Yourself About Your Destination

Travel is a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge and curiosity about the world. Dive into the nature, culture, and history of your destinations while you are still at home and you can extend the joy of your trip far beyond your time on the road. 

Use resources like Trip Scholars to find books, films, games, online classes, cooking or craft activities, and more that are tailored to your interests and learning style. Have fun with kids and teens by leaning into their favorites to learn more from home while creating great memories together.

As a long-time secular homeschooling family, we used travel as a fundamental part of our approach to education. Many of our favorite travel memories that we still talk about were enhanced by diving in deep beforehand and then having real life experiences on the road. 

This approach will allow you to more deeply understand and appreciate the places that you visit, creating life-long memories and sometimes, even peak experiences. You will also be a more respectful and engaged traveler because you will understand these places as much more than tourist destinations. 

**Tip:** To make time for learning in your busy life, look for overlap between your interests or hobbies and your destination. Get your free copy of The Curious Traveler’s 5 Step Guide to More Meaningful Trips. This is what we specialize in at Trip Scholars. If you are traveling with others, engage with your travel companions in this educational journey. This collaborative approach not only deepens your travel experience but strengthens your relationships.

Our travel trailer|Photo by Trip Scholars

Advance Your Travel Planning Skills

Travel planning is an art that, when mastered, can significantly enhance the quality and enjoyment of not just the trip you are currently planning, but also all of your future trips. 

Learning through travel often requires that we travel more– and travel better. You will find many articles on this website focused on learning about travel skills to help you. We highlight the biggest barriers and challenges to travel and help people overcome them. I also focus on these skills in interactive workshops and private coaching

If you are doing this on your own, write out your challenges, fears, and obstacles to your travel plans. Then brainstorm solutions for each one and highlight the best options as your long term goals. Break these down into short term goals with actionable steps you can put on your calendar and make those travel dreams come true!

Throughout this site, you can get guidance on how to decide where to go, how to plan your itinerary (including budgeting tips), packing tips, finding travel deals, and even tips on how to be your own tour guide. 

Many people find travel planning to be overwhelming and frustrating, so you are not alone. The sooner you learn these skills, the easier it becomes for all of your future trips. 

**Tip:** For the most part, we have not been taught travel skills, but you can be learn and master them just like learning to cook or play an instrument. Remember, the happiest phase of travel often occurs during the planning stage so have fun while you are advancing these skills.

Finding a quiet place at the Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal |Photo by Trip Scholars

Revitalize Yourself

Being fully present during your travels allows for genuine connection with yourself, your companions, and your surroundings. Practice mindfulness and embrace new experiences to foster this connection. Engage all your senses, leave your phone in your pocket, and be open to the lessons each moment offers.

Research shows that we experience more happiness from our experiences than our possessions. Beyond that, travel also places us in new situations that force us to grow and create memories because they are unique and not part of our daily routine.  We are pushed outside of our comfort zone and inspired to challenge our past beliefs and also see what we are capable of.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Mark Twain

On this site, you will find many suggestions for making the most of your travel experience.  Cultivating gratitude can enhance your travels– and your life. Get tips on visiting museums (and visiting them with kids). Some of your richest travel experiences can be visiting your ancestral homelands through heritage travel and connecting with your deep personal past. Consider activities like nature journaling, nature photography, stargazing trips to center yourself through nature on your travels. 

**Tip:** Use travel as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Encourage discussions, share experiences, and remain curious. This not only enhances your travel experience but promotes a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

“Dream” by ICY & SOT, MOCO Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Photo by Trip Scholars

Nourish Your Growth

Upon returning home, take time to reflect on your journey and integrate the lessons learned into your daily life. Whether it’s a new perspective on culture, a renewed sense of purpose, or a deeper understanding of yourself and your companions, travel has the power to transform. 

If you are looking for thoughtful ways to remember your trip with your travel companion(s) here are meaningful travel gift ideas.

If you are so inspired that you want to create a lifestyle or business around travel, learn more about becoming a travelpreneur.

**Tip:** Create a plan to reflect on your travels, such as sharing stories with friends, creating a photo album, or writing about your trip. This not only keeps the memories alive but helps you to see the lasting impact of your experiences.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA |Photo by Trip Scholars

Learn From Travel

Travel is a powerful catalyst for growth, understanding, and change. By following the LEARN Through Travel framework, you can transform your travel experiences into profound journeys of discovery. Embrace each trip as an opportunity to listen, educate, advance, revitalize, and nourish your growth, and let the world teach you its endless lessons.

Remember, the journey doesn’t end when you return home; it’s just the beginning of integrating those rich experiences into your life, shaping a more informed, connected, and compassionate world view.

What have you learned about the world and yourself through travel? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear.

Safe travels, and may your journeys always lead to deeper understanding and joy.

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