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Why is everyone obsessed with travel?

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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.

Why people travel

Efficiently packed suitcase with neatly organized travel items on soft blue background.

We often get questions asking us why people travel. Honestly, it is not always glamorous for the majority of people. Not everyone gets 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 we can’t always do it.

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.

Flight delays, missed trains, sandwiches at train stations, and pay-to-use public toilets are 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 people.

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The obsession: travel is addicting

Father, Kyle Kroeger of ViaTravelers, with daughter enjoying Hilton Sorrento citrus garden on a sunny day
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Over time, immersing in new cultures and trying new things becomes addictive. People become obsessed with traveling because it constantly changes scenery—their brains always react.

Think about it this way: When you were a kid, you were excited whenever you got a new toy. You probably played with that toy for hours until a new one emerged. 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. These aspects of a city (or town) are exciting.

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.

If you have never eaten that weird vegetable (or a scorpion), you must try it. People become obsessed with travel because it brings new experiences that challenge them as people.

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Being obsessed with travel is good

KLM blue airplane at Split Airport during sunset
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

People are obsessed with traveling for good reasons. These are the top reasons people are obsessed with travel.

Break out of your comfort zone

Travel obsession 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 friends since high school.

Travel forces you to try new things 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

Cheerful visitor in front of Joe's Pizza in snowy Brooklyn
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Travel takes you from one culture to another in hours—sometimes even minutes. For example, New York is different from 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.

Over time, you will know which city has the best pizza (Sorrento), the best sunsets (Assisi), the best museums (London), and the best lip balm (Amsterdam).

Try new foods

Savor authentic Italian Picci pasta dish at Trattoria da Fiorella - freshly made pasta with rich sauce on a ceramic plate
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Each place you travel to has distinct flavors and foods. In Genoa, it’s pesto; in Florence, it’s bistecca al Fiorentina; and in New York, it’s that big slice. In many places, food defines the culture.

In some cities, you get a coffee to go. In others, you drink it at the bar. In some, you take your espresso with a shot of Grappa. It all depends on where you are. Eating can be challenging when you travel where you don’t speak the language (or read it). It can also be fun. One time, while traveling in Beijing, China, I ate in a closet.

No tables were available, and a waitress showed three of us to a closet with a menu without pictures (before smartphones and Google Translate). They did not speak English, and we did not speak Mandarin. I pointed to the menu, crossed my fingers, and waited to see what came 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 calmer and more 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 conversing 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 to converse 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: Reasons Why Traveling is Important

Where people obsessed with travel go

Vibrant scene at Café Les Deux Magots, a traditional Parisian café in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
Quintessential Parisian café experience Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

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:

These cities, among others, are popular destinations for a variety of reasons. Each has an interesting history focused on some type of product or industry, which brings history, culture, and a way of life unique to that region. Another key driver for traveling to major cities is the ease of getting to and around them.

Flights from New York to Madrid can be as low as $200 – 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. You can often fly KLM for a $100 round trip from there to other major cities.

Even if you don’t travel hack, small wins like these 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. Whether you are in the mood for rural, small-town Netherlands or big-city Germany, the train system can get you there.

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Become obsessed with travel

Travel can take you out of your comfort zone and throw you into something 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 take home their experiences and incorporate them into their everyday lives. Try it out for yourself—you might become obsessed with travel, too.

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