Sunday morning, slightly groggy from the night before, you open instagram and BAM…another travel post – why is everyone obsessed with travel? Past friends, that random person from high school you follow, your cousin, and your ex’s bff are all out and about traveling the world.
Do you ever scratch your head and wonder why? Why are so many people going through the pain of airport security, crammed airlines, taxis, buses, and dirty clothes in suitcases?
You may think people travel just to post pictures on Instagram (many do) but it is much more than that. These are the reasons people are obsessed with traveling.
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Why people travel
We often get questions asking us why people travel. Honestly, for the majority of people, it is not glamorous. Everyone doesn’t get to travel first class to 5-star hotels in top cities.
We saved a lot of reward points to use at the Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam. It was a great experience, but something that we can’t do all the time.
Reality is something closer to waiting in line at TSA for a regional flight, connecting in a major city, and hopping across a body of water for 9 hours to get off a flight tired, slightly hungover, and smelly, to a cheap hotel just outside the city center.
There are flight delays and missed trains, sandwiches at train stations, and pay-to-use public toilets involved. So why do people travel? What’s the big deal?
Cutting through the bulls**t – no, it’s not culture, food, and sightseeing – people travel because they grow as a person.
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The obsession: travel is addicting
Over time being thrown into new cultures and trying new things becomes addicting. People become obsessed with traveling because it is a constant change of scenery – their brain is always reacting.
Think about it this way: when you were a kid growing up you were excited every time you got a new toy. You probably played with that toy for hours until a new toy came along. That’s how people become obsessed with traveling.
Every time a person travels it is like getting a new toy. A new city brings new people, language, culture, stores, food, streets, and transportation. All of these aspects of a city (or town) are exciting in their own way.
You never know what’s around the corner until you look. And traveling is a constant challenge. When you’re thrown into a new culture or scenario, it challenges you in different ways.
If you are thrown into a new country that doesn’t speak your language you are challenged to cross a language barrier to get to where you need to go.
Never eaten that weird vegetable (or a scorpion) well now you have to try it. People become obsessed with travel because it brings new experiences that challenge them as a person.
Being obsessed with travel is good
People are obsessed with traveling for good reasons. These are the top reasons people are obsessed with travel.
Break out of your comfort zone
Being obsessed with travel is good because it breaks you out of your comfort zone. Life is too short to be stuck in a rut going to the same few restaurants and hanging out with your same friends since high school.
Travel forces you to try new things that you would have never considered at home. It also helps you check off those bucket list experiences that you’ve always wanted to see.
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Experience new cultures
Travel takes you from one culture to the next in a matter of hours. Sometimes even minutes. For example, New York is clearly different than Paris. There are differences in language, continents, culture, history, and food.
But New York is also different from Chicago or Los Angeles even though all three cities share the same language, continent, and (pretty similar) history. Once you travel you can see how each city or region differs from the other.
Try new foods
In some cities you get a coffee to go, others you drink it at the bar, some you take your espresso with a shot of Grappa. It all depends on where you are.
When you travel where you don’t speak the language (or read it) eating can be a challenge. It can also be fun. One time while traveling in Beijing, China I ate in a closet.
There were no tables available and a waitress showed three of us to a closet with a menu without pictures (this was before smartphones and Google translate).
They did not speak English, we did not speak Mandarin. I pointed to the menu, crossed my fingers, and waited to see what came out.
Turned out it was one of the best dishes I’ve ever had. Eggs and tomatoes. Sound awful? That’s what I would have thought if I could have read the menu and I would have never known how fantastic it was.
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Become more flexible
Frequent travel actually makes people more calm and able to handle anything that comes their way. Over time you’ll realize that missing a bus isn’t the worst thing, flying on that rickety plane was empowering, and talking to that old man in the bar was inspiring.
All of these experiences will change who you are as a person.
Meet new people
People become obsessed with travel also because they meet new people. There is something about sitting in a hostel bar and striking up a conversation with whoever is next to you. Being an introvert is not an excuse.
Traveling forces you to talk to people from all different walks of life. Even introverts learn how to strike up a conversation with the bartender, receptionist, or janitor. You will learn how to find a connection with someone who barely speaks the language.
While traveling you’ll realize how addicting it is to meet and converse with people from different backgrounds. And once you start talking you may meet your next best friend.
See Related: 13 Reasons Why Traveling is Important
Where people obsessed with travel go
Today it seems like people travel wherever Instagram models are. (Tulum, Mexico anyone?).
Major cities are also popular. The top cities we see people travel to include:
- New York, NY, USA
- Paris, France
- London, United Kingdom
- Dublin, Ireland
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Rome, Italy
- Amsterdam, Netherlands (check out our guides on Amsterdam, including the hidden gems of Amsterdam, things to see and do in Amsterdam, and best weekend trips from Amsterdam)
- Madrid, Spain
- Chicago, IL, USA
- Tokyo, Japan
These cities, among others, are popular to travel to for a variety of reasons. Each of these cities has an interesting history focused on some type of product or industry. This brings history, culture, and a way of life unique to that region. Another key driver to travel to major cities is the ease of getting to and around when you get there.
Flights from New York to Madrid can be as low as $200 – that’s less than New York City to Chicago most days! As a result, getting to major cities is cheap and usually pretty fast.
Once you get to a major city it is easy to hop around. For example, if you can find a cheap flight to Amsterdam you can fly to just about anywhere in Europe for under $100 – many times you can fly KLM for a $100 round trip from there to other major cities.
Even if you don’t travel hack, it’s small wins like these that help you get around for little to no cost. Or if flying isn’t your thing you can always hop on a train. Major cities are connected to a wide variety of trains that can take you anywhere.
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Become obsessed with travel
Travel has the unique ability to take you out of your comfort zone and throw you into something completely new. This challenge forces you to try new things and experience new ways of life.
Some people travel to expand their view of the world. Others travel to grow as people and challenge themselves.
Most people travel because they can bring home their experiences and incorporate them into their everyday life. Try it out for yourself – you might just become obsessed with travel too.
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Alex is a contributor of ViaTravelers. She has lived in three countries, 4 states, and traveled the world. She enjoys top-tier restaurants, old books, and uncovering historic sites around the globe.