20 Biggest Advantages and Disadvantages of Travelling Abroad

To travel or not to travel? That is the question. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of travelling abroad may help you find the answer. Here are 20 of the pros and cons.

In the first three months of 2024, around 285 million people travelled internationally. That’s 20% more than in the same period last year.

Those are crazy numbers, but they don’t surprise me! Whether you go for a week or a year, traveling has so many benefits I think everyone should do it.

However, the rose-tinted travel snaps on Instagram can be misleading. Contrary to what they suggest, the experience isn’t all sunshine and stunning views.

Thankfully, the pros far outweigh the cons! But if you’re trying to decide whether or not to go away, it can help to know what to expect. With that in mind, here are what I consider the main advantages and disadvantages of travelling…

Tourist visiting the Alhambra in Granada, one of the best cities in Spain.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Advantages of Travelling Abroad

Travelling is a bucket list activity for millions of people around the world. And for good reason. It’s awesome. Nothing beats the feeling of leaving what you know and going somewhere new. Personally, I feel at my best when I’m on the road, and I recommend it to anyone.

The list of advantages of travel is long and wide-ranging. Here are what I consider the main ones:

1. You Meet Incredible People

Whether you travel solo or in a group, the people you meet while you’re away make the experience extra special. You bump into guys and girls from all walks of life who have totally different values, stories, and aspirations.

They’re often people with whom you’d never usually cross paths, too. But personal differences don’t matter as much on the road. You’re all doing the same thing: having an adventure and seeing the world. You can make lifelong friends in seconds on that foundation alone.

2. You Explore New Places

For me, the biggest reason to travel is that you explore countries you’ve never been to before. It’s almost surreal. You grow up hearing about these world wonders and the intrepid adventurers who explored/discovered them. Then you go traveling and see them with your own eyes!

Without travel, your world is limited. It’s just your house, friends, family, and local area. Going overseas bursts that bubble. You step outside the norm and realize how much there is to see..

3. You Have an Adventure

I’ve yearned for adventures since I was a little kid. It’s a huge reason why I love travel so much. It’s about personal agency, independence, and doing something cool with my life. 

For me, travel gets to the heart of what it means to really live. It shakes you from a state of apathy. You get out into the world, push yourself, and make memories.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

4. You Witness Immense Beauty

Another benefit of travel is that it takes you to some of the world’s most beautiful places. You don’t have to travel thousands of miles to find beauty. But there’s no denying travel lays it on a plate. You find yourself in places so stunning and sublime they defy belief.

Honestly, it gets to a point where you lose touch with it. Like, “Oh, another waterfall”, or, “Ah yep, another snow-capped mountain.” In other words, you get spoiled!

5. Make Unforgettable Memories

I’ve mentioned this already, but another big advantage of travelling is that you make amazing memories. Go away for any length of time, and you’re almost guaranteed to get home with stories you’ll never forget.

That’s a big deal. I’ve heard it said that all we really are is a system of memories. Our very identity is built upon what we’ve seen, heard, read about, and committed to memory. Thus, the process of making memories is fundamental to learning who we are and/or becoming someone new.

6. You Do Something Different

Life is short. It feels clichéd to write, but you really never know how much time you’re going to get. One of my favourite quotes is from Tecumseh, who said:

“So live your life such that the fear of death can never enter your heart.”

Who’s more likely to be scared of dying? The person who spends life behind a desk, or someone who takes a leap of faith and explores the world? Life’s purpose isn’t to take the less-trodden path. But the less trodden path can most definitely help you find purpose in life.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

7. You Become More Confident

One of the benefits of travelling is that it’s hard. I’m not talking about “spending a week on the beach” kind of travel. I’m talking weeks, months, or years away from home, far from loved ones, living on a budget, and so on.

It’s natural to experience hardship when you travel like that. You get lost, lonely, homesick, and question what you’re doing. Yet, one way or another, you get through it all. Overcoming that adversity can give you a major confidence boost.

8. Learn About Yourself

You also become more self-aware. It’s another of the biggest benefits of travel.

There’s nothing quite like stepping out of your bubble to realize who you actually are. It’s a lifelong journey, but I always come home from travel feeling far more aligned with who I am.

It’s difficult not to. All the new people you meet, ideas you encounter, cultures you explore, and experiences you have lead to self-discovery. You get home from travel feeling different from the person who left months before.

9. You Unwind, De-Stress, and Heal

People travel to explore the world, learn and see new things, and have adventures. However, I think the drive to travel is often driven by some sort of pain and the need to escape from it.

If you need an opportunity to have a break, move on from something, recover your energy, and lick your wounds, then consider travelling.

You don’t need a plan. You just need time. You don’t need a goal. You just need to be open to the experience. I don’t know how it works, but travel helps you turn life’s lemons into lemonade.

10. Expand Your CV

One of the practical benefits of travelling abroad is to do with getting a job. Many people balk at the idea of travel because it creates gaps on their CV.

Yet travel can actually make you more employable. After all, it requires and hones maturity, tenacity, problem-solving, independence, language skills, time-keeping skills, people skills, and many more. What employer wouldn’t want a team member with those qualities?

Remember, we don’t live in the 1950s. Travel is so common that most employers expect it. Secondly, the way we work is changing, too. More and more people are challenging the typical “career-for-life” mentality.

Gaps, random roles, periods of unemployment, and travel go hand-in-hand with that! If you can articulate the value of your time overseas, then you can justify it to a future employer.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

The Disadvantages of Travel

As much as I love travelling, there are disadvantages worth considering before you hop on a one-way flight! The pros outweigh the cons, and I hope none of the coming drawbacks dissuade you from going away. But it’s about setting realistic expectations.

Knowing about the potential problems you can face should make it less of a shock if/when you encounter them. With that said, here are what I think are the disadvantages of travelling.

1. It’s Expensive

There are ways to travel on a budget, and having limited funds doesn’t make it impossible. But there’s no denying that it costs money.

No matter how long you travel, the experience depletes your bank balance in record time. That nice nest egg you’ve built? It’ll shrivel before your eyes! Unless you can make money online as you go, there isn’t always much left when you get home.

Speaking from experience, this isn’t easy to handle. Your mates have been working while you’ve been away, so they’re buying cars and houses while you barely have a penny to your name! You might have to live back with your parents and/or get a menial job to pay the bills/rent.

2. You’re Out of the Loop

Unless you travel locally, hitting the road can take you thousands of miles from home. You soon get used to the distance and become immersed in the experience. But you’re so absorbed in what you’re doing that you almost forget life goes on at home without you!

You don’t go to the parties, you miss out on the school reunions, and you lose touch with the general goings-on with family and friends. When you first get home, it can be easy to feel alienated and on the outskirts – like you no longer have a place there.

3. You Miss Special Events

A related disadvantage of travel is that you miss out on important events and occasions back home. For example, I’ve missed family holidays, several Christmas celebrations, my Dad’s 60th birthday, friends’ weddings, endless impromptu get-togethers, and so on.

You’re doing cool stuff all the time, which is a silver lining. But missing these events never gets easier. They’re some of the loneliest times on the road, and (if you’re anything like me) they may make you question if travel’s even worth it.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

4. You Feel Homesick

Almost everyone gets homesick on the road. After all, you’re miles from loved ones, missing those big events and milestones, often feeling both lonely and out of your comfort zone.

Feeling homesick is entirely understandable. That doesn’t make the experience any easier, though. It can sap the enjoyment from any trip for as long as it lasts.

5. You Fall Behind

Travel can actually be good for your CV, as we’ve seen. But, assuming you want to follow a certain career path, you definitely get home and have some “career catch-up” to do.

After all, your peers have had a decent headstart. While you’ve been travelling, they’ve been working. They’re getting promotions, raises, and progressing up the ladder while you start from the bottom.

The longer you travel, the wider that gap gets. When you eventually come home, looking at your friends’ success can make you question your decision-making.

6. It’s Exhausting

This is one disadvantage of travelling I always forget about before a trip: it can be surprisingly knackering! You expect it to be relaxing. But then you’re on the go non-stop, seeing the sights and moving from place to place, eager not to miss anything.

Thankfully, this disadvantage is fully in your control. If you’re not careful, you can easily burn out. But if you take your time, travel slowly, and have chill days, you can have the rejuvenating experience you’re probably hoping for.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.

7. There’s (Potential) Danger

Potential harm is a common reason people are wary of travelling. Say there’s no danger out there would be a lie. Every year, there are awful stories of people going missing and getting mugged while overseas. They’re frightening, and they fuel the idea travel is dangerous.

However, with appropriate precautions and general common sense, you have to be unlucky to come into harm’s way. Most travellers come home with nothing but positive stories from their trips – even when they’ve been to traditionally “dangerous” destinations. You realize the media often blows things out of proportion.

8. You’re Forced to Confront Your Issues

Nobody’s perfect. We all have insecurities, weaknesses, prejudices, and vices. But at home, surrounded by what we know and people who love us, it can be difficult to confront them. There’s often no opportunity or incentive to look your issues in the eye.

By contrast, changing environments can shine a spotlight on them. Remember how you learn about yourself while travelling? Well, sometimes, those insights sting.

I’ve realised a lot about myself through travel that would have been easier to ignore! Like how ignorant I am of world events and history, how insecure I can get, how anxious I am, and so on…the list goes on. Put simply, travel can humble you.

9. It Can Be Lonely

I was born and raised in cities. One thing that always struck me is the irony that you can feel so lonely while surrounded by so many other people.

The same is true when you travel. While there are times when you’re genuinely alone, it’s common to be surrounded by other travellers. Nonetheless, loneliness develops anyway. You’re with people but don’t know anyone, particularly on shorter trips and/or at the beginning.

If you ever develop the travelling blues, this post might help.

10. Coming Home Is Hard

The hardest part of travel is often coming home. It’s ironic. Saying goodbye at the start of your trip is hard. Then, returning to that same place with the same people is even harder.

Coming home can be a shock to the system. You end up mourning your time away.

You feel different, but everything else is the same. The same bed, the same conversations, the same evening meals, the same concerns…It’s hard to wrap your head around. How has nothing at home changed when you’ve had this profound experience?

I’ve found that you never want to travel more than in the weeks following your return home. It can take time to readjust.

Remember the Advantages and Disadvantages of Travelling Abroad

Hundreds of millions of people travel in some shape or form each year. And for good reason. It’s a life-giving experience that blesses you with lifelong memories and friends.

If you’re thinking of going away, then I highly encourage you to take the plunge! It’s a big call, though. Hopefully, reading these advantages and disadvantages of travelling has helped you recognize if it’s right for you.


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Author: Danny Newman

Title: Writer and Content Creator

Expertise: Travel, Digital Nomadry, Outdoors, Blogging

Danny Newman is a writer, content creator, and digital nomad from the UK. He founded the travel and lifestyle blog What’s Danny Doing, a popular resource for people seeking more adventure, self-discovery, and purpose. A nationally syndicated writer, Danny’s work features in dozens of online publications, including MSN.com and news sites across the US.

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