It is not unheard of for employers to question gaps in employment history. Not long ago, I was at work when a department manager approached me to discuss an applicant. The applicant they were considering had quit her last job to travel. They were very concerned about this choice, and at her lack of skills after missing one year in the workforce. They might not offer her the job because of her choice to take a year off to travel.The applicant’s choice didn’t seem odd to me at all. Hooray for her is what I thought! While this is not uncommon, it got me thinking about travel, work, and life, and maximizing those transferrable skills somewhere in between. I disagree with employers who do not feel those who travel possess incredibly valuable skills to be used in the workplace.
Personally, I think travel is one of the best forms of education a person can get!
Readers of this blog know that we are a couple who work full time and maximize our travels each year. We do not believe people should be forced to be absolute slaves to the workforce. Instead, we believe in balance. Because of my professional background in human resources recruiting and workforce training, I figure this is a great opportunity to shed some light on this type of issue and provide a few tips too. When I considered the scenario of a well-qualified applicant being disqualified for a position because she chose to travel, I was bummed out. But, this happens more often than many of us would like to admit. So, where does all of this meet and how does it all mix together?
Surely there are more than enough skills people obtain and master while they are traveling which translate perfectly into the work world. Traveling is an engaging experience where new things are always being learned and practiced. Exploring the world can be very challenging – forcing people to think on their feet, step out of their comfort zones, and expand their horizons. Employers should want a candidate who brings that to the table!
With that in mind, here are 20 travel skills you can add to your work resume right now!
- Problem Solving
- Interpreting Information
- Creative Thinking
- Math Computation
- Time Management
- Decision Making
- Language Acquisition
- Cultural Diversity
- Operating Technology
- Risk Management
- Following Directions
- Ability To Function Independently
There truly are so many ways travel skills turn into work skills
Lets face it, travel is one of the most customer service oriented industries out there. There’s a reason it’s interchangeably referred to as the “hospitality industry”. When you travel, spend some time observing the professionals you encounter on the road. Its amazing to watch the standards they set which you can learn from and can easily take these examples with you to your job. Really, I don’t know of many industries where employers want their customers treated poorly by their employees. So travel, watch, and learn!
In addition to that, many employers today struggle with employees who are dependable. By consistently arriving at the airport on time or checking out of the hotel, you are learning what it’s like to show up on time and being ready to go. If you think traveling doesn’t involve math computation, think about all the times you’ve had to exchange currency, calculate your mileage, or work on your travel budget.
Travelers learn to communicate not only through language, but also non-verbal communication methods and gestures.
You learn to function as a team and independently. And between electronic boarding passes, requesting rides through Uber, or using Google Maps, technology is always present in travel. There are so many ways travel skills can translate into work skills. Really, unless you spend your entire time lounging on a beach doing absolutely nothing else, travel gives you invaluable work experience. Heck, even the beach scenario can translate into stress management techniques.
So the next time you decide to update your resume, be sure to include some of the skills listed above. Even if you have been traveling for awhile and its time to return to work, always remember you have acquired plenty of skills on the road.
Many millennials are changing the workforce. As a millennial myself, I truly believe in finding better work/life balance than generations before me. If you want learn about ways you can travel more while still maintaining a full time job, we have plenty of ideas on that too:
How to travel more with a full time job
What travel skills have you learned on the road and applied to your day job? Tell us about them in the comments below!
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Excellent post! Very interesting to read the many things involved in traveling – things most folks likely do not think about.
Glad you enjoyed the post!
This is so important and helpful – it’s about time employers recognize the enriching value a new skill set acquired when traveling for long periods of time. Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome – thanks for reading and commenting!
This is great. I am convinced that I got my most recent job because of my blog and travels. It truly helps you be a better employee. 🙂
Isn’t that cool! Both things help me in my day job too!
Great post, I love the idea that travel can help the skills you need for work. Win win!
It certainly is a win-win!
I have had a few gaps in my CV/Resume over the years due to travelling, and always ensured this was written on my CV, but never actually considered writing any skills as well. It never occurred to me that an employer may not consider me for a role because I had taken a “gap year” or whatever, so this is excellent advice, thank you so much for sharing. Pinned! #feetdotravel
Unfortunately, some employers just don’t like when people are out of the workforce. But, they still are learning so much!!
I think this is my favorite blog post ever ☺️
I think this is my favorite comment ever!
I never thought to add my travel skills to a job resume. What a great idea and your suggestions are perfect. You’re right that traveling teaches us so many skills and affords us lots of learning opportunities. Pinning this in case I need it later. #WeekendWanderlust
I’m so glad you found the post helpful! Thanks for pinning!
I agree with your 20, and we could probably add so many more. I saw my 20-year-old daughter blossom as we traveled through Europe and she got more comfortable talking with people on the train, in restaurants. And she navigated us through undergrounds and train stations. So many skills were honed in a 2-week trip!
This is a great post; love the idea to add all your skills aquired through travel to your work resume. I agree with you, you learn so much from travel; and adding all of it to you rresume is the best idea I’ve seen in a while. Thanks for sharing.
This is so true and something that is often overlooked when travelling!
Haha this is a great idea!
At first when I started reading I did not realize it, but you are absolutly right!
What a great idea for a post and so very true. To see all the skills it takes to oraganise travel is very impressive and I think we somethimes forget it doesn’t just happen, it takes a lot of skill and effort to arrange the perfect trip.
I keep telling my non-traveling friends, “it’s not as easy as it looks”. There is a lot of work that goes into traveling and many skills that are put into place.
I just come back from a long trip around the world and I had the problem of finding a new job. This is so usefull! thanks for sharing.
I’m so sorry to hear you too faced this challenge. There is plenty to learn from traveling that applies to the work world!
This is an excellent post which really highlights some of the great benefits of travel. Although I’m long past an age to be in the workforce I found this helpful as it clarified for me the enormous amount I’d honed my skills by being on the road. My husband and I travelled continuously and independently for years and we sure learned about time management, and being organized. Oh and really really paring down to the absolute minimum that was needed.
I think these skills are taken for granted by employers. They should capitalize on this instead of turning their back on it!
Same thing happened to me. I went traveling for a year and it took me ages to get a job. So many companies are reluctant to take a chance on employees who have gaps in their resume. When I became a manager I made sure to give people who’d gone traveling a chance to reenter the workforce. Travel has some fabulous life skills as well as practical skills.
I love that you had the opportunity to turn the tables and give people a chance!
Yes to all of this! I find it incredible and so narrow-minded when potential employers can’t see this point of view. It seems so obvious to me that travel is educational and skill-building. Great idea for a post.
Agreed! I’ve never understood this mindset!
Great post! There are so many opportunities that we overlook which can move us to the next level.
I couldn’t agree more! In my years as a manager in a big corporate company I would seek out employees who had shown initiative & independance which travel can give you in abundance. As you point out so eloquently it’s how you frame your experience that makes all the difference!
I love that you sought these skills out instead of running from them. Thanks for giving those travelers/workers a chance!
These are all great skills. Traveling can help us improve our decision making skills, problem solving, time management and organizational skills. These can really be helpful for future jobs
Traveling really does help build a wide variety of skills!
This list is SO HELPFUL. Coming from a corporate background, I’ve really struggled with how to present myself as a travel professional now that I’ve started my full time travel business. Thanks for the great buzz words 🙂
You’re welcome – I’m glad you’ve found this helpful!
a lovely idea shared to add & empower the resume for travel lovers, bever thought of this
thanks & am gonna start by adding to my resume, yeah!!
Glad you found this post helpful!
What a great idea for a post! My international experiences have been so beneficial to my professional life and its great to get more ideas about how I can explained the benefits I’ve gained from these.
Glad you found it useful!
Nice idea on what we need to build on even in these times
Agree – many people will be looking for work. These skills can be applicable for travelers and non-travelers alike.
I love this! I’m lucky I work in a place that is supportive of time off for any reason. The problem I still have to learn is how to not return with a mountain of issues that have been left for me to solve!
That’s a struggle for sure! I have a post in the queue that discusses this very issue and am hoping to publish it once thing return to “normal”.
“Personally, I think travel is one of the best forms of education a person can get!” I couldn’t agree more! So, SO true!
So glad to hear you agree!
So true! I wish more employers recognised this! When I came back from a year of travelling it took me 2 months to get my first interview as no one wanted to hire a travelling teacher even though it had given me so many skills!
That feels so unfair to me! I hope you finally found an employer who values your skills!
I hope for every potential employer who pauses because she took a gap year, there are two who pause when someone doesn’t! Thanks for this post. Every traveler should read it and update their resume!
This is so helpful! I’m so thankful that I’m in a very supportive work environment. Now I know what I could put on my skills when I search for new opportunity again.
I love this post, such a useful and practical list of skills to add to your resume based on travel. I definitely have learned more through travel than I did in some of my classes. I always have added my blogging skills, but a food reminder to add my travel skills too.
I loved this post. I would have never thought of associating these skills with travel, but you are absolutely right! Travel is the best teaching facility there is. I’ll be updating my CV to include some of these.
This is such a good read, thank you for sharing your knowledge and suggestions. I’m literally in this situation now. I have taken nearly a year off and looking for a remote job. 🙂
These are really great suggestions. I have taken a year to focus on traveling and my travel writing and I was worried about how that would look on my resume but you give great tips. Thank you so much!
I agree — as travelers we learn to adapt and there is no greater skill than being able to fit in and figure out!
I can vouch for this because I KNOW my study abroad experience got me a job and my TESL work abroad got me a job, too.