Every day, you stare at your vision board wondering how you’ll travel to all of those places.
You’re armed with an excess of blank passport pages and an inexhaustible supply of wanderlust. But after your first couple of trips, it feels like you’ll never make it to every place on your bucket list.
You wonder how so many people effortlessly take trip after trip while you’re still scouring the web for a late night flight deal.
No matter how many destinations are on your travel wish list, the key to a passport full of stamps isn’t what you might think.
Some people assume frequent travelers have an abundance of money or a dream job that sends them gallivanting across the world.
Luckily, it’s much simpler than that.
Frequent travelers have embodied a set of qualities that make it easier to take longer trips and take advantage of more travel opportunities.
And you can develop these traits too.
Here are ten traits every world traveler has in common.
If you master them, you’ll be amazed at the number of trips you add to your itinerary each year.
The Ability to be Alone
The thought of being alone in a sea of faces that look nothing like yours speaking a language you don’t understand is enough to keep anyone from traveling solo. But for the most breathtaking and unplannable travel experiences, you must be okay with traveling by yourself.
Ask a room of world travelers and you’ll hear stories of missed opportunities and wasted time because they were waiting on others.
Hopping on a plane and crossing borders alone is not only empowering, it’s enlightening. You learn a lot about yourself and this planet we call home when you roam unencumbered by the whims and needs of others.
Besides, you’re never really alone when you travel. The world is full of friends who want to get to know you. Don’t keep them waiting.
Travel early and travel often. Live abroad, if you can. Understand cultures other than your own. As your understanding of other cultures increases, your understanding of yourself and your own culture will increase exponentially. ~ Tom Freston
If you’re creative, you have a knack for thinking up ideas and wrangling challenges.
You need this skill as a world traveler. Travelers run into prickly occurrences that make hearts pound and arm pits sweaty. Quick thinking can be the difference between coming out of your challenge with a smile or a frown.
Frequent travelers come up with a million ways to squeeze as much travel into their life as possible.
They are constantly hunting for more travel. From finding jobs that require travel to finding more travel pals to tag along with, these folks make travel a part of daily life. And their Facebook albums prove it.
My website was the result of my need to travel more often. I realized that by immersing myself in the travel world, I would surround myself with travel opportunities. Sure enough, that move boosted my travel significantly. I went from one international trip a year to more travel offers than I could accept.
If you’re unsure as to how to stretch your creativity, ask the question, “what if?” Fill in the blanks with huge dares to yourself. This is how epic trips are born.
The difference between jumping at the chance of a lifetime and watching it pass by is confidence.
Ten seconds of courage. That’s all you need to reach out, speak up, or raise your hand.
The more you desire to travel and take steps to travel more often, you’ll find that travel comes to you from unimaginable sources.
If you want to see the world, go after it as if you couldn’t fail.
The secret to increasing your confidence is to be open.
Be yourself, share your story with strangers, and give out smiles. These actions build a bridge between you and the people you meet abroad.
Creating relationships opens doors in the present and the future. Not to mention, giving a little of yourself adds value to the lives of others and creates great karma. The value you receive back comes in many forms, including increased chances to experience the world with new friends.
When you listen to different ideas, even if they don’t fit your ideas of right and wrong, your openness increases.
The key is to try to understand by listening without thinking of a response, and by asking questions to take the conversation deeper.
By suspending judgment and listening to understand, you learn how to accept or even embrace different practices and values.
Genuine appreciation for others and their cultures has resulted in some of the coolest people on the planet offering to show me around their country and letting me crash at their homes.
I call that win/win.
Not only does travel give us a new system of reckoning, it also brings to the fore unknown aspects of our own self. Our consciousness being broadened and enriched, we shall judge ourselves more correctly. ~ Ella Maillart
The travelers who’ve been to the most places lack an ugly disease called Traveler Ego. They don’t share their experiences to brag. Instead, they hope to motivate others to get out and explore the world.
If you notice yourself turning up your nose at others who don’t travel, give yourself a gentle reminder to stay humble.
Sharing your love of travel is a chance to positively influence those around you. Remember: someone is always watching.
Traveling will also remind you of your privilege.
While waiting to bungee jump from Orlando Towers in Soweto, South Africa, I struck up a conversation with two guys working there. As they enthusiastically shared business ideas with me, I ignorantly exclaimed that they could find lots of information to jump start their business on the internet.
They shared a knowing look before schooling me on the lack of internet accessibility in their country.
That moment of brief humiliation opened my eyes and reminded me to stay humble.
Listening, asking questions, and showing empathy helps to build better understandings.
When language or culture is a barrier, empathy is an ideal trait to have. And while body language may vary across countries, certain actions and expressions are universal – like the look between the two South Africans.
Building empathy – or the ability to understand or feel what another person is experiencing – is a trait that grows stronger with travel.
World travelers can figure out what others have on their mind without them saying a word because without a shared language, body gestures and facial expressions are closely observed.
And when you’re quickly passing through people’s lives, being able to gauge a person’s mood or feelings in one glance is a handy quality to have.
Not only could you adjust your actions to create better engagements and situations, but you’ll cultivate a better understanding for the people you meet.
This understanding and your transparency, will build trust and create situations for deeper bonding with new friends.
By showing empathy, you leave a piece of yourself wherever you travel.
Road maps don’t exist for those who fight the urge to conform to top ten lists and chart their own courses.
The more you travel, the more you’ll face unknown circumstances. Learning to trust yourself is important.
Those who travel the most have developed a strong sense of intuition. It’s even stronger in those who travel solo.
Intuition is a gut feeling that guides you away from harmful people and situations. Intuition also pushes you towards people and situations that will benefit you.
This video by Patrick Schwerdtfeger illustrates our neat power of intuition and how you can use it to reach your goals.
Before my first solo trip, I couldn’t imagine going to another country alone. And when I saw an eye-bulging flight deal to Abu Dhabi, I almost passed on it because I couldn’t find any friends who wanted to tag along.
Deep inside, I felt a calmness and even an urging to buy the ticket.
I instinctively knew that I’d be okay. And my first solo trip was one of the best I’ve had.
Trust your gut. You’ll be happy you did.
Introvert traveler or extrovert traveler, assertiveness is a must. You’ll run into all sorts of issues when traveling and the ability to put yourself in the middle of a crowd or ask for help comes in handy.
Note that assertiveness differs from aggressiveness.
Assertiveness can open doors and save time as you’re traveling around the world. Master the skill of speaking up and asking for what you want and need.
For a sure way to keep from looking pushy when you’re exercising your assertive muscle, throw on a smile. It’s your best travel accessory, and it is recognized in every culture.
Sense of Humor
Speaking of smiles, the ability to laugh at yourself lowers travel stress by tons.
We take ourselves too seriously and frequent travelers have learned to brush off the small stuff. They don’t let petty annoyances bother them and they know what to give their attention to.
Ask yourself: will this matter next year, in a month, tomorrow? If the challenge you’re facing has no real lasting consequences, brush it off and keep smiling.
An easy trick is to smile even when you aren’t happy. Look at old travel photos, pictures of loved ones, videos of puppies. Whatever image you have to trigger a positive reaction is enough to push you in the right direction.
Use humor to make friends on the road, lessen the tension, or calm down when the going gets tough.
The ability to laugh at yourself will take you far in life, not only in travel but in any endeavor you set out to do.
The more trips you get under your belt, the more travelers you’ll meet who voice opinions about the “right” way to travel. Some shun cruises or turn their nose up at tourist traps. And with all the travel preferences you’ll run into, the truth is that the adaptable traveler travels the most.
Travel opportunities come in all forms with various travel modes and travel destinations.
Luck equals opportunity plus preparation.
If you’re adaptable and prepared to say “yes” to travel requests as they arrive, you’ll experience more travel than you can imagine.
Avoid judging a location or method of travel before you experience it yourself. And even after you’ve experienced it, if you develop a negative opinion, give it a second chance.
Maintain the ability to roll with changes and embrace new experiences. You’ll always get more when you keep your heart open for new experiences.
The best part about these qualities is that you don’t need to master them before you start traveling. In fact, they are boosted each time you set foot on foreign soil.
The more a person travels, the better they develop these skills and the more travel they ultimately have.
If you want to upgrade your travel immediately, cultivate the qualities I’ve shared with you and watch your passport fill up with stamps.