Subscribe for 50% off
Subscribe

5 Crucial Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Traveling the World

There is a level of personal and business growth that can only come from traveling to new places. Here are five of the most important lessons entrepreneurs can learn while exploring the world.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Any entrepreneur could tell you that the road to success is paved with blood, sweat, tears and many lessons learned. While you can learn some of these lessons from home, there is a level of personal and business growth that can only come from traveling to new places.

According to the Brightpark Edu-Travel report, 94% of U.S. business leaders believe that world travel gives them a competitive edge in the workplace. From opening your eyes to different perspectives to learning how to effectively communicate with people from all walks of life, travel offers a broad spectrum of valuable benefits for entrepreneurs everywhere. Here are five crucial lessons entrepreneurs learn while traveling:

Related: Why Travel Should Be a Top Priority for Every Entrepreneur

1. Traveling teaches you to be open to the unexpected

Starting a new business venture comes with a lot of ambiguity. After all, you're signing up for a truckload of the unpredictable. Will the business succeed? Will this year be a good one? Can I trust this investor? Is this the right move? Embracing the unpredictable can be a tall order, but doing so will afford you a much better chance at success.

Traveling can be brutal at times. You're forced to say goodbye to the comfort of your home and family, you have to trust strangers along the way, and you are constantly off balance as your mind and body adjust to a new time zone, new surroundings and new people.

When you travel, you quickly learn that it's imperative to be open to the unexpected. There are many variables in travel that cannot be controlled, and how you react to those challenges will determine how you can move forward — just like in business. As an entrepreneur, you must be open to the unexpected. Traveling the world is a fantastic way to learn that lesson early.

2. Traveling can prevent burnout

Taking calls or responding to emails when you should be sleeping doesn't make you a better entrepreneur. On the contrary, devoting every minute of your existence to your career can actually prevent you from reaching your full potential and lead to burnout early on.

Sleep deprivation has several adverse effects on your body, including:

  • Decreased productivity and creativity

  • Lack of motivation

  • Increased stress levels

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Mood swings

Lack of sleep will eventually catch up with you, causing you to hit a wall both physically and mentally. The effects of workplace burnout are real and can significantly hurt your chances of success. Likewise, stress and sleep deprivation can be detrimental to your business growth.

Leading a healthy lifestyle is essential for entrepreneurs seeking success, and sometimes this means taking some much-needed time off to avoid burnout. Taking a vacation can give your mind and body the break they crave while allowing you to get a fresh perspective in a new environment. Traveling gives you time to reflect, come up with new ideas and gain focus.

Burnout can quickly become the nail in the coffin for a hopeful entrepreneur, especially since it commonly leads to poor decision-making in the workplace. If you are feeling excessively fatigued, stressed or irritable, it may be time for you to hit the road for a refresh.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Travel Should Be an Essential Part of Building Your Business

3. Traveling gives entrepreneurs new ideas

Traveling to new destinations around the world is an incredible way to benefit from the shift in perspective that can only come from experiencing different cultures and places. As entrepreneurs, we never stop searching for new ideas and business solutions.

When you explore somewhere new, you gain a new understanding of what people in different parts of the world are interested in and what they worry about from day to day. If you're stuck creatively or looking for inspiration, traveling abroad is the best way to form new ideas.

Well-traveled people are more likely to think outside the box since their thoughts and beliefs are constantly being challenged. A curious mind is a creative one, and sticking to your daily routine forever is bound to lead to an eventual drop in productivity and innovation.

4. Travel teaches entrepreneurs how to form valuable relationships

During our daily lives, much of our communication is limited to colleagues, friends and family. When you travel, you're forced to step out of your shell and communicate with strangers in all sorts of situations. It could be the man sitting next to you on the plane to Denmark, the hotel manager in Prague or the waitstaff at a sushi restaurant in Japan.

These immersive experiences cause a mental shift to occur as you converse with people from different backgrounds, participate in new adventures, try new foods and adjust old habits. While it may not seem like much at the time, learning how to connect with different types of people and embrace new connections is a valuable lesson that will prove to be beneficial in the workplace.

Your opinions and beliefs are re-evaluated when you travel. The more you learn about how others live and think, the more open-minded and curious you become. When your mind is flexible and void of rigid ideas about the world, it's much easier to connect with those around you.

As you gain insight into unique cultures and the common struggles of people in various parts of the world, you learn more about how you can support different people through your business ventures. The more you travel, the more you stray from your comfort zone, leading to a powerful transformation into an entrepreneur who is more willing to take risks and try new things.

5. Traveling teaches entrepreneurs how to use body language effectively

You have less than seven seconds to make a first impression. In business interactions, making a positive first impression is crucial. Once someone labels you — whether it's as trustworthy, suspicious, powerful or submissive — everything you do is viewed through this lens.

While it's impossible to stop anyone from making a snap decision about you, you can use effective body language to sway the decision they make in those first few seconds after meeting you. It is widely believed that non-verbal cues are significantly more influential than verbal cues.

Past studies have found that individuals who communicate through active gestures are generally perceived as warm, energetic and agreeable. On the other hand, those who remain still or whose gestures are more likely to come off as stiff or robotic are viewed as cold, dull and analytical.

When traveling to foreign places where you don't speak the language, you're forced to rely more on nonverbal cues to communicate with those around you. By researching the culture ahead of your trip, you can determine how to use body language to your advantage. This knowledge can later be used in the workplace to help form positive interactions with peers and clients.

Related: Traveling the World Is an Adventure That Makes You a Better Entrepreneur

Travel offers a staggering number of benefits to anyone, but entrepreneurs are uniquely capable of turning these benefits into actionable ideas and solutions. Plan a trip — maybe even one without a set travel itinerary — and write down everything you learn during the journey.

You might just be shocked by how many fresh ideas you bring back home. Perhaps you'll even be inspired to start a whole new business. After all, variety is the spice of life, and what better way to discover variety than by exploring the world?

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks