Woman drinking wine on a cruise ship

Why Travel Makes You Smarter

Global travel exposes you to new languages, places and ways of life, changing the way you think, making you more worldly and helping you understand different cultural practices. As a result, your brain develops more neurological connections, helping you react and problem-solve more quickly.

Ultimately, you can only be as smart as your experience, and by staying in your comfort zone, you may be placing unnecessary limits on your potential. Through new experiences and trying unique methods for thinking and problem-solving, you can sharpen your cognitive skills.

In This Article

How Travel Makes You Smarter

There are plenty of benefits to packing your bags, unplugging from the internet and shaking up your routine with a vacation. In fact, it may benefit your mental, physical and emotional health — travel can improve your creativity, make you more open-minded, help you become more resourceful, expand your network and help you learn a new language. Let’s take a look.

1. You Improve Your Creativity

There are links between international travel and creativity — travel experiences can improve your cognitive flexibility and your ability to make connections between disparate forms. To improve your creativity while traveling internationally, you need to engage with the local culture. Ultimately, multicultural engagement, adaptation and immersion are what help increase your creativity. Even someone who lives abroad will be less likely to get a creative boost if they don’t engage with the area’s local culture.

The new sights, smells and sounds you experience on your travels can all inspire your creativity, so if you want to increase your creativity, now’s the time to take a vacation. When you go, focus on making new connections so that you can see things from a different perspective. Once you return home, you’ll bring the experiences from your travel and consciously or subconsciously engage your creativity.

Further, stress can shrink your brain and reduce the amount of gray matter. This can be harmful to your general well-being and creativity. Fortunately, you can use traveling to lower your stress, which makes room for your brain to be creative.

In order to reduce stress during your travels and improve your mental health in addition to your creativity, follow the tips below:

  • Start healthy habits you can continue at home.
  • Take long walks on the beach or the cruise ship.
  • Embark on a relaxing cruise with a lowkey itinerary.
  • Moderate unhealthy behaviors, such as indulging in alcohol.
  • Schedule self-care activities, such as a yoga class or trip to the spa.
  • Engage in fun activities that inspire your creativity, such as scuba diving.

After just a few days of vacation, you may feel more rested, be less anxious and experience a better mood. These benefits last well after you return home. For a great vacation that can give you a creative boost, take one of Windstar’s Italian cruises, where you’ll visit pristine beaches, legendary cities and charming villages that will serve as your muse.

2. You Become More Open-Minded

Traveling means being exposed to new food, cultures and people, all within a new country. This is what makes travel so exciting. Being introduced to all of this can also help you become more open-minded, which is essential to building emotional intelligence. When you’re more open-minded, you can improve your understanding of different types of people.

The following are some of the ways traveling can make you more open-minded:

  • Step outside your social circle: At home, sticking to our social circle is usually our default. This means you could go years without making new friends, meaning you’re missing out on getting to know great people. When you travel, making new friends is almost a given, especially if you’re traveling alone.
  • Become self-aware of your impatience: It can be easy to be impatient with others for many reasons. Traveling helps you become aware of this quality in yourself and encourages you to leave behind your fast-paced culture that may be causing some of your stress.
  • Recognize priorities in different cultures: Even if you spend only a brief time in another country, you may spot some obvious differences in the cultures. When you see how other cultures do things as opposed to what you’re used to, you can become more open-minded to changing how you approach life.

Travel also gives you the opportunity to try new things that you may not have the chance to try at home. Step out of your comfort zone by keeping an open mind about new experiences. Cross something off your bucket list like scuba diving or visiting a beautiful country.

Opportunities to live these experiences may not arise again, so take advantage of them while you can. Other experiences may make you realize you want to continue having similar adventures. You don’t know what you love to do until you try it, and by stepping out of your comfort zone, you may see positive results you never expected.

You may also be more willing to sample the local cuisines. Try different foods and beverages with ingredients that are both familiar and foreign. Order items off the menu you may have avoided before. You may find a new favorite food, and you’ll delight in new flavors and sensations. For the dishes you love, ask how they’re cooked and try them yourself when you get home.

3. You Become Resourceful

When you travel, you’re responsible for everything regarding your well-being. Traveling, whether with others or on your own, increases your resourcefulness because you don’t have the comforts of home at hand. This can help you develop a self-sufficient attitude and a sense of responsibility, which are both excellent for personal growth. You may not even realize you’re challenging your problem-solving skills and honing your overall decision-making skills, but by the end of your trip, you’ll have bettered yourself.

When you travel, you learn new skills, including how to navigate a public transit system in a foreign city, find new places in a different language and face situations you haven’t dealt with before. With the new skills you gain, you can become more resourceful and apply your new knowledge in the future. Being resourceful is essential for navigating unexpected situations that could arise anywhere.

Travel can be humbling and help you get back in touch with reality to better appreciate life. You’ll learn you can be self-sufficient and don’t need to rely on others to get by. One of the best places to test your self-sufficiency is a remote location like Alaska, and when you choose Windstar as your cruise line, you can fully immerse yourself in Alaska’s wild beauty.

4. You Expand Your Network

No matter where you live or travel, you’re going to meet all kinds of people — people who are inspiring, kind, funny and overall different from you. Each person has a story, and no matter what kind of person they may be, you can keep that in mind before passing judgment. As you travel over time, you’ll likely find that you build up an extensive network of friends you’ve met along the way.

Your interactions with each person you meet will allow you to gain knowledge from their experiences. The knowledge you’ll gain from others can include new or improved skills or learning how you can take the high road in a tough situation. You may even gain confidence in yourself. By interacting with so many people, you can improve your social skills and gain more insights from those you interact with in the future.

Follow the tips below to expand your network while traveling:

  • Download commonly used messaging apps like WhatsApp to keep in touch with people you meet.
  • Learn the basics of the local language, so you can greet the new people you meet and establish a good rapport.
  • Go beyond typical tourist destinations to make more real connections.
  • Join excursions to meet groups of like-minded individuals.
  • Allow yourself to meet new people organically.

5. You Learn a New Language

Traveling to a new area where you’re unfamiliar with the language can be overwhelming. Relying on body language alone can only get you so far, and though you may not master a new language during a short vacation, you can make an effort to speak casually. Most locals appreciate it when tourists make this effort and may be more willing to help you learn the words you’re attempting to communicate.

Before your ship departs, learn the basics of the most common language where you’re heading. While there, you can expand on what you’ve managed to learn on your own. Engage locals in conversation when they speak your native language and request words in the new language you can add to your vocabulary. Some of the basics you may want to know include saying “please” and “thank you” and how to ask for directions.

Learning a new language has several benefits. The more languages you learn, the better it is for your brain in the long term. Several advantages of learning a new language include:

  • Multitask better: Learning a new language could actually influence your brain’s non-linguistic cognitive control. Bilingual speakers tend to have better reaction times while multitasking, so if you learn another language, you may be able to increase your performance while simultaneously performing more than one task.
  • Get more opportunities: A second language can give you more opportunities for success. With the globalization of the world economy, diverse people and communities come into contact with each other more frequently. As such, employers often look for employees who can speak more than one language. If you can become fluent in another language, you can become a stronger candidate in various sectors and industries.
  • Enhance your worldview: A new language in your arsenal can help you understand a different culture. Thousands of languages are spoken today, and each language influences and is influenced by the cultures of those who speak them. By learning another culture’s language, you can better appreciate and understand the shared experiences between your cultures. Your language influences how you interact with and perceive the world around you, and you can understand new ideas and concepts that don’t directly translate to your native language.
  • Change your brain’s neural pathways: Your brain continues to change shape throughout your life in response to learning. Learning leads to the creation of neural pathways in the brain, so when you study vocabulary or grammar in another language, your brain functions differently. Your brain’s circuits are rewiring to respond and adapt to these new circumstances. Learning a new language may even improve your ability to learn new things and improve your memory.
  • Improve your non-verbal communication: Language is about more than spoken words — it includes body language, gestures and facial expressions. Some gestures and non-verbal expressions don’t exist in your culture. It’s important to know when it’s appropriate to kiss a cheek, bow or shake hands when understanding the cultural context of a new language.
  • Increase your understanding of your native language: You can actually better understand your own first language when you learn another. The way verbs are conjugated, for example, may differ between both languages. You can fully comprehend grammar rules and improve your communication skills.

Overall, travel can boost the functioning of your brain and make you smarter than before you embarked on your trip.

Learn More About the Destinations Available From Windstar

Travel can help you learn and give you memorable experiences across the world. At Windstar, we take you beyond the reach of ordinary. We seek the most authentic ways for you to experience amazing destinations worldwide. You’ll travel in small groups, so you can easily get absorbed into the different cultures you come across. We frequently stay late or overnight so that our travelers can experience the destination at all times of the day.

You’ll be one of 148-342 guests enjoying the wealth of freedom, space and time that a small cruise ship experience provides. Learn more about the destinations available from Windstar today.

Great deals happen. Don't miss one.
Sign up for our newsletter!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Scroll to Top

Warning: file_put_contents(/htdocs_20220614/wp/wp-content/easysocialsharebuttons-assets/compiled/2566c291e59e185c12a331fef1e235f3.js): failed to open stream: Permission denied in /htdocs_20220614/content/plugins/easy-social-share-buttons3/lib/core/cache/essb-precompiled.php on line 84