Does Travel Make You Smarter?

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My friend Greig at Winderlusting recently wrote a post outlining 9 ways travel will make you smarter. It’s a bold claim, but I agree with his assessment.

When we say travel makes you “smarter,” we don’t mean you’re all of a sudden going to become a genius. (If that happens, let us know in the comments.) But traveling will certainly make you more worldly, force you to think in different ways and help you to embrace unique cultural practices. All of which will ultimately create more neurological connections in your brain, making you quicker to react, think through logic and work through problem solving more efficiently.

At the most basic level, my travels have  forced me to learn the correct spelling and pronunciation of various foods and cities, not to mention a much better understanding of world geography!

But it’s been more than that. Travel has expanded my horizons in a way that the first 22 years of my life never did — a wider perspective, a more refined palate, and more confidence in my ability to troubleshoot almost any problems that may arise.

If you’re ready to start doing more travel, here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Figure Out Where You Want to Go
    Create a destination wishlist! Maybe you’re willing to go anywhere, but figure that out now so you can prioritize your time and resources. It’s ok to have a plan that’s “no plan,” as long as it is on purpose. Are you trying to see the places you’ve always dreamed about or are you happiest just embracing the moment? Is it tackling your long-standing destination wish list?
  2. Research Your Top Destinations
    This is where that wish list comes in handy. Does the country require a visa (and how much does it cost)? When is the best time of year to go? What is the ideal amount of time? Pre-planning means you can jump on low airfare when you see it. I had already researched Easter Island so when the cheaper-than-economy business class fares popped up, I knew I’d be satisfied with only 2 days there.
  3. Get a Passport
    If any of your wishlist destinations are outside the country get your passport now! It can take a while to process and you might miss out on the trip of a lifetime because there’s not enough time. When the $300 flights to Sicily happened, several friends without passports missed out.
  4. Track Travel Deals
    Follow sites like Secret Flying, The Flight Deal, Fare Deal Alert, and Exit Fares on a daily basis. And sign up for alerts from Airfarewatchdog to get a daily digest of the cheapest fares from your selected airports.
  5. Be Flexible
    Discard the idea of a perfect trip immediately. Be flexible on dates and be willing to go for a shorter period of time if it means you’ll get to go! You’ll find cheaper fares that way and if you like what you see during your short stay, you’ll find a way to go back. But if you wait until you have two weeks to “really get to know a place,” you may never go.

Full Disclosure: I may receive affiliate credit from links in this post or on this site which will help fund my travels. Thank you for your support!

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Living for the little (and big things) that make life so fun, especially mistake deals and crazy last minute weekend mileage runs across the world. www.twitter.com/klatravel

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