Top 5 reasons people travel

Ok, I must admit, I used to be a little bit of a travel snob.

I’d meet fellow Aussies who’d never left Australia and then turn my nose up, poo-poohing them for not having the same desire to explore the world as I did.

Exploring waterfalls near Woodstock New Hampshire Double-Barrelled Travel

Why do I love to travel? Because it allows me to enjoy views like this

I’m ashamed to say that it took me a few years to realise that people have different aspirations in life and wanting to live a nomadic lifestyle is not in everyone’s DNA.

I’ve now come to understand that if people prefer to get a mortgage rather than travel the world for a year, that’s completely normal.

It’s their life – they can live it how they like.

For the non-travellers out there – why do us nomads like living out of a suitcase so much?

This is by no means an extensive list, but here it goes…

Top 5 reasons people travel

1. To get outside their comfort zone.

I’m not talking about people who go on holiday to a foreign country and then stay in an English-speaking area (when the local language is something else), and never leave the resort.

These people are hardly getting outside of their comfort zone.

Kayaking near the Sleeping Bear Dunes Michigan Double-Barrelled Travel

You could say kayaking with me gets Dave out of his comfort zone… as he ends up doing most of the paddling

When I was 15, I went and did a student exchange for a year just outside of Paris. When I arrived, I didn’t speak French and no-one spoke English.


But it was the best year of my life.

Challenging myself like that showed me the world isn’t as scary as we might think.

(And it also gave me a serious case of the travel bug.)

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2. To escape.

Bad relationships, bad jobs, bad family situations… some people travel in the hope of escaping it all to find a more peaceful kind of life.

Just look at novels like Eat, Pray, Love, which tell this exact story.

Hiking in Michigan Double-Barrelled Travel

A good place to escape? Hiking in Michigan has a view like this where you can get lost amongst nature

Travel can certainly heal and if you’ve lost a loved one or just got out of a heart-breaking relationship, sometimes being in a new place with lots to distract you can work wonders.

You can’t run away from your problems though – not even travelling can help you to resolve everything!

3. To explore new lands.

The curiosity that burned inside famous explorers like Christopher Columbus and Neil Armstrong is still inside many travellers today.

We might not be venturing into the unknown but for us the place is new and exciting.

local pub in Woodstock New Hampshire Double-Barrelled Travel

Part of our exploration of new lands includes a trip to the local pub. This was taken in a bar in the tiny town of Woodstock, New Hampshire

There’s nothing like the rush you get when a plane lands in a country you’ve never been before. (Well, I get a rush anyway.)

Why do you think people hike through the Amazon or sail the Great Lakes?

Because they have a sense of adventure.

4. To learn.

One of the best things about travelling is that you learn SO much.

Exploring foreign lands really opens your eyes and makes you appreciate your own life.

Growing up, I never really thought about how lucky I was to live in a free society where where my parents could afford to give me what I needed in a place as beautiful as Australia.

It’s only by exploring other parts of the world that has made me realise just how lucky I am.

Beautiful picnic spot in Wautoma Double-Barrelled Travel

As I learn about the beauty of other countries (this photo was taken in Wisconsin, USA) it makes me appreciate the beauty of my own country

Travelling also makes you open minded about other cultures.

Want to make people less racist? Get them to travel!

Seeing how other countries and societies operate will give you a deeper appreciation for the local people’s culture.

And with this appreciation comes a more harmonised world.

In fact, my aforementioned exchanged programme was called AFS and was actually started after World War II with the hope that if young people learnt more about the way other nations live, there would be less of a chance a World War III would break out.

5. To cross places and events off a bucket list.

I’m not a fan of a bucket list, but I’m not completely against one.

Sometimes it’s good to have a list in mind of where you want to visit, as this might motivate you to get out and see the world.

Unfortunately, some people go to places because they want to be able to say “Been there, got the T-shirt.”

Many of these bucketlist sights are the main tourist attractions of a country.

Think of the Colosseum in Rome.

Statue of Liberty as seen by tourists Double-Barrelled Travel

The Statue of Liberty in New York City – a sight on many tourists’ travel itineraries

While I’m not saying you shouldn’t see these sights (the Colosseum is amazing, I highly recommend it) it’s good to get away from the tourist traps and venture to the neighbourhoods to meet the locals and get a real sense for what life in the country is really like.

Which is one of the many reasons why I love house sitting so much – but that’s for a different blog post entirely!

So there’s my top 5 reasons why people travel.

Do you agree with this list? Do you have any more to add?

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About the author

Carmen has been nomadic since May 2013 and the co-founder of Double-Barrelled Travel. She loves experiencing new cultures and learning new languages. She is having the most fun when skiing down a mountain, scuba diving in the Caribbean or curled up with a good book.

20 comments on “Top 5 reasons people travel”

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Will take a look at your blog! Yeah, I agree with the dying one. I’ve met a few people who’ve had loved ones die and have realised that life is short so they set out to travel. Some people have faced death also are inspired to travel. But hopefully lots of people don’t need these wake up calls before they go travelling 🙂

  1. Ryan Reply

    Love this, totally some of the reasons I travel. I lost both of my parents at a young age…and though I traveled at first to escape, it’s taught me to except their deaths and has also given me a purpose in life that didn’t exist for a long time. Everyone has their own reasons for traveling, but either way I feel like it has some profound affect.

    Thanks, I’ll be sharing this on my Top read in the blog tomorrow!

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Hi Ryan,

      I’m glad you liked the read.
      I’m sorry about your parents and I’m glad that travelling helped you to heal. What a great story about how travel can have a positive outcome. I agree – it certainly has a profound affect.
      I’ve never lost anyone very close to me so I haven’t really travelled to heal, but I know that travelling helped me to grow up and become more mature when I was younger. (My positive experience).
      Thank you so much for sharing – I’ll take a look at your blog! 🙂


  2. Luis (@TravelPlanetGroup) Reply

    This is an interesting perspective. It seems to me that you are only stating your own perception on why people travel. What about a more scientific approach, based on data? I’m running a poll on Facebook asking why people travel. I’m happy to share with you the results once I’ve collected a representative sample.

    Feel free to spread the word about it, after all, the more participants we’ve, the more representative is the survey.

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Yep, it’s only my perception on why people travel – not hard science. I’d be interested to see what your data shows from your polls. Come back and let us know and we might blog about it!
      Thank you,

  3. Hailey Reply

    Im only a 16 years old but already have the overwhelming desire to travel!! I just wanted to let you know I enjoyed reading this post so so much!!
    Thank you!

    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Hi Hailey,
      So glad you’re interested in travelling and glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 I’m sure you’ll have many travelling adventures in the years to come.

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  6. Salma Reply

    I’m 42 a mother of three, I have been travelling since I was 15, first with school and then with parents. Now am travelling with my kids once a year. There is always way out to find cheap flights and cheap stay. just keep looking earlier and try to find the most interesting and attractive places first.
    start when young, don’t wait to get older . you wont regret when remembering friends or people sharing adventure in places rarely seen by others.

  7. Rick Hunt Reply

    I just found your site by googling “Why do People Travel?’—you are #2 on the search–Great!
    My reason is I just finished a two month journey from Moscow to Beijing on the Trans-siberian train and then on by train through the rest of China and Vietnam and then finished off my trip by flying with stopovers in Bangkok and Taiwan back to Seattle. My blog chronicles my adventures. My brother, a history professor sent me an article titled “Transformative Travel”–by Susan L. Ross, ReVision Vol 32. No 1. None of the categories of travel described there really fit how my travel experiences felt to me.

    So I googled and find that you have clearly identified your five reasons for travel that fit into how I feel about the traveling I do. I think I will now be able to reflect on what you have said and then in turn add another entry to my post travel blog.

    Since 2000, I have taken 19 international flights using frequent flyer miles plus another 12 to Mexico. I am a credit card churner!

    I like to do solo traveling about two months or more per year plus some winter stays in Mexico, and my idea is to travel as much as I can and as long as I can.


    • Carmen Allan-Petale Reply

      Hi Rick,
      Sounds like you have the perfect lifestyle – I’m sure many would love to be able to travel two months or more a year 🙂
      We’re off to Mexico shortly actually – looking forward to seeing what it’s like!
      Glad you’ve found our blog of interest – please send us a link and we’ll have to check out your blog.
      Happy travels,

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