10 Reasons We're Thankful for Travel

By Stride Team
November 13, 2018

It’s the holiday season - a time of family and friends, of good cheer, and giving thanks.

Here at Stride we are thankful for travel every single day. We wanted to share with you just some of the top reasons why:

1. Learning About Different Cultures

hmong hill tribe women in traditional dress

When we travel beyond the familiar, we expand our perspective; developing deeper compassion and appreciation for people and places around the world. This broader understanding of cultures and histories - many of which are vastly different than our own - is a key step to making the world a better place.

Most tours and travel experiences have a cultural component. Through folklore, food, traditional music, dress, even crafts, you can begin to develop a deeper understanding of local people and communities.

Even if your trip is more active in nature, you will still gain a sense of how the weather and landscape affect the lives of people in the region. All of this serves to make our travel experiences rich, fulfilling, and exciting.  

2. Expanding Beyond Your Comfort Zone

Young woman in Cuba traveling solo

One of the best things about traveling is having the opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. Travel offers so many wonderful ways to see and do different things - you never imagined you could! The best part is you can tailor your next travel experience to best match where your personal comfort zone is (or just beyond) - because everyone’s different. 

For some travelers, stepping out of their comfort zone might mean visiting rural villages in China, with little to no access to wifi and where no one speaks English. For others, stepping out of their comfort zone may be the act of travel itself - and thus visiting a westernized city in Europe is immensely adventurous, brave, and exciting.

In both cases, a tour and local guide is an essential component to ensuring each traveler gets the most out of the experience.

3. Sampling Local Food and Drink

Traditional Japanese food

If Anthony Bourdain taught us anything it was that food brings people together, and no matter how crazy the dish, laughter and togetherness around a meal is a universal delight. Sometimes a certain food may be intricately tied to a culture's identity. Trying traditional foods can help you connect to the locals on a much deeper level than if you were to stick to more familiar tastes.

Food tours are a great way to learn about how local cuisine is tied to a country or region’s history and culture. It can also be very helpful to have tourmates to cheer you on if you happen to be sampling something not to your liking!

4. Meeting New People

Group of new friends on tour in Europe

Travel has the ability to connect us to so many people. When you travel with a tour group, an instant sense of camaraderie is formed as you explore your destination.

Travel is the conduit through which deep friendships can form. And not just with the other tour attendees! Your tour guides as well can become lifelong friends, as can locals you meet along the way.

Many tour companies have forums or guest areas on their websites where you can chat with past and prospective tourmates.

5. Getting Outdoors

Kayaker traveling

Traveling doesn’t always have to be about historical sites and museums. Sometimes your trip is best enjoyed in the great outdoors. Long distance hiking, kayaking, climbing and mountaineering, even horseback riding - these are all great ways to have an active outdoor travel experience.

While certain destinations may jump out - Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal for example, or the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu - don’t discount Europe. Europe is far more than just cobblestones and castles! Consider the Czech Republic »

6. Nature and Wildlife

Gorilla mother and baby in Uganda

Getting up close with some of the world’s most incredible nature and wildlife is a major highlight for a lot of travelers. The local flora and fauna is a part of the fabric of any destination, sometimes intricately connected to a country or town’s economy or history. And there are so many wonderful trip options!

Of course one of the most popular nature travel choices is an African safari. Top destinations for safaris include South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya, and you can find safaris in a wide range of budgets.

Also in Africa, a wildlife experience that is growing in popularity is gorilla trekking. Not for the faint of heart (or the out of shape!) this once in a lifetime experience involves getting extremely up close to mountain gorillas, observing them as a guest in their natural habitat. Most gorilla treks can be found in Uganda or Rwanda.

You could also consider a trip to the incredibly biodiverse areas of South America like the Amazon Rainforest. Here, nature hikes are on an entirely different level - sometimes literally as you walk through the canopy on a suspension bridge! Be sure to go with a knowledgeable guide who can point out camouflaged species (and stop you from walking though hidden spider webs!).

7. Giving Back

Local Indian woman in small village

A large portion of travel companies today try and design their itineraries with responsible travel in mind - and more and more are transparent about how your tourism dollars affect and help local communities.

Some companies take it a step further, offering tours that incorporate volunteering as a key part of the itinerary and tour outlook. If you enjoy having a positive impact when you travel, consider a tour that keeps interacting with and volunteering within local communities at the forefront.

Another way you can be a responsible traveler is by looking at eco friendly and sustainable tours. Oftentimes these tours visit rainforests where you can stay in eco-lodges and learn about how local communities and initiatives are working together and with tour companies to help improve our carbon footprint. Consider traveling with Discover Corps »

8. Seeing Famous Historical and Cultural Landmarks

Eiffel Tower france

We can talk about going “off the beaten path” as much as we want - and it’s a great thing! - but there is also something to be said about encountering famous landmarks. There might be many tourists milling about, but all there for the same reason.

Could you go to Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower? Or what about traveling to China without visiting the Great Wall? India without the Taj Mahal?

Even if these things feel like a checkmark on the old bucket list, as opposed to an “authentic travel experience”, they are tourist attractions for a reason. And visiting with a guided tour is a great way to heighten your experience, by providing more historical context to their importance.

9. Preserving Natural Treasures

Elephant sanctuary in chiang mai thailand

Sustainable and responsible travel is not only about helping local human communities. Our animal friends around the world also need our help! It may seem counter intuitive to think that you can help protect endangered species and preserve natural landscapes by traveling.

But actually, when you travel with a guided tour and through reputable, eco friendly & sustainable travel companies, you actually help contribute to the education about the area. Tours visit designated areas but some may also have access to less trafficked protected lands - allowing travelers to see the landscape in all it’s natural glory.

Many tours include opportunities to volunteer with wildlife, helping rehabilitate previously abused or displaced animals. It’s a fantastic way to get up close to indigenous species and learn about all the different ways you can help.

10. Great Stories 

Man adventure travel stories

As the quote goes "Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller." While travel opens our minds and hearts, introduces us to new flavors, traditions, and cultures it also provides us with amazing personal stories.  

Stories allow us to connect with friends and family back home. Sharing them is essential for inspiring others, both young and old, to travel themselves. Maybe even to expand their own comfort zones.

As you use Stride to explore the best travel experiences and destinations for your style, budget, and interests, we hope you continue to be inspired to travel the far corners of the globe! And we hope you'll share your stories with us - and your fellow travelers. 


Happy Holidays from all of us at Stride Travel!

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