Why do people travel? 25 Reasons or is there just the one?

Responsible Travel

Feb 18
Why do people travel - striding across from Sintra - travel writing essay

Why do people travel?

Why do we travel? Why do you? People have travelled since records began. But why?

Why do you travel?

What is it about the human race that makes us want to travel?

I'm often asked about why I travel or what my favourite country is, but although those questions sound straightforward, they're not.

Why do we travel? Any of us?

Are we searching for experiences?

Is it to look out longingly over great landscapes and feel our hearts and minds clear? Is it to meet new people, different people with a secret hope that we'll connect and discover that, actually, they're just like us?

Abigail King at Mleiha Archaeology Centre

At the Mleiha Archaeology Centre in Sharjah: important finds as humans travelled from Africa to the Middle East and then beyond

"Bragging Rights?"

Is it for a suntan or, as advertising companies would have us believe, "bragging rights" on social media?

I don't honestly think so. 

I'm still working on the "right" answer, or my right answer anyway.

Abigail King of Inside the Travel Lab in the desert in Sharjah UAE

People have always travelled since time began...

Practical Reasons Why People Travel

​Cleary, the practical reasons people travel seem easy to work out. 

People travel for work. 

People travel to see friends or family. 

People travel to escape persecution.

But what about when we don't need to travel?

What about when we don't need to travel?

But my thoughts-still-in-progress are that we either travel to rest and recharge when we feel stressed. Or to be excited, if we're not. And that either way, at the end, we want to feel inspired.

Ultimately, do we all travel for inspiration?

Abigail King of Inside the Travel Lab in the Sharjah Rain Room

Do travel to feel inspired?

We want to feel inspired by the world and ourselves. To feel that life has purpose, has meaning, has beauty. There's something about the physical presence of standing on certain land, of looking back to the past or seeing innovation point towards the future that makes us feel more connected to each other. To tap into the spirit of the world at large and feel inspired about our place in it and about what we can and want to do with our one and only lives.

It feels different to stand on the earth where the pilots took off towards Hiroshima. It's something else entirely to gaze at the Okavango Delta from the level of the water itself, rather than through a screen. And perhaps you really can taste history by eating churros in the oldest chocolateria in Madrid.

But what do you think? Why do people travel? Why do YOU travel?


About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more. Find out more.