You’ve taken your midterms, you’re back from spring break, and now the end of the school year is just around the corner, right? Well, not quite! You still have to study for and pass all of your finals, if you’re an athlete you need to keep training for champs, and of course you’ll want to spend as much time with all of your friends as much as humanely possible before the end of the school year. And if you’re a senior, maybe start pre-shopping for that awesome new college hoodie. We know the end of school drill. We also understand the notion that you need the summer to “get ready” for the next academic year.

Think again! We want to talk to you, the seniors, juniors, sophomores, freshmen, and even middle school students, about that one something that is so crucial to preparing you for both high school and college, yet is so often pushed to the side to make room for everything else. That something, you ask? Travel! Here are the top five reasons that we know travel will do for you to get you more than ready for high school, college, and beyond!

1. Make New Friends

The number one excuse we hear from everyone (especially graduating seniors) for not wanting to travel during the summer is that they want to spend more time with their friends. And we completely get that! Your friends are awesome (that’s why they’re your friends) and you will most likely be parting ways with some of them come semester time. Whether you’re going into another year of high school or are starting college, you’re going to be presented with the daunting task of making friends in your new classes, and so is everyone else! When you experience traveling, you learn to make new friends around every corner, making it that much easier to make equally awesome friends during the school year. Plus, you’ll have tons of stories to share with your friends (both old and new) when you get back and to reminisce about until you seen them again.

2. Build Amazing Confidence

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and traveling will give you more confidence than anything else that you will ever do in your entire life. Guaranteed. The confidence that you gain when you try something new (and maybe a little bit scary) for the first time will make everything that you do in college seem like a breeze. Worried about meeting your new dorm roommate? Not after you’ve been welcomed into the home of a Fijian family for the entire day. Anxious about giving your first big class presentation? After going shark cage diving, there are bigger things to be anxious about! Whatever new challenges come your way during the school year, your experiences while traveling will have you more than covered.

3. Learn New Life Skills

Building confidence and becoming comfortable far outside of your comfort zone are just a few of the necessary life skills that traveling will prepare you with as you go into high school, college, and into your adult life. The list of other skills that traveling will give you is literally endless! You will learn so much from real world experiences, like navigating the metro in Paris, haggling at the night markets in Thailand, learning how to cook paella in Barcelona, and playing new games with high school students in Tanzania, just to name a few! These cooking skills, people skills, whatever skills, will enhance both your academic experiences, as well as your life well into adulthood.

4. Develop Eclectic Tastes 

As you encounter different cultures and understand everything that makes them so wonderfully unique from one another, you will begin to develop your own taste for the beautiful crafts and artwork associated with each new place that you journey to. From handblown glass from the island of Murano near Venice to your very own portrait painted by a practicing artist in the Place du Tertre of Paris, there is no shortage of artistic treasures to discover during your travels. Be sure to make some extra room in your luggage to bring back your new keepsakes that represent these life changing experiences to put up on the walls and display on your desk. Not only will it look amazingly unique, but it will always be a point of conversation for people who see your room and will also act as a reminder to your travel adventures until the semester is over and you can travel again.

5. Expand Your World View

Throughout your life and especially in college, you’re going to be exposed to a lot of new experiences, new people, new beliefs, and new ways of doing things in general. You will have new classes with new teachers and if they are good, they are going to challenge you like you’ve never been challenged before. Luckily you will already have travel experiences under your belt and with these experiences, you will be able to contribute more to your classes and bring more to the table than many of your lesser-traveled peers will be able to do. Not only will this make you stand out and shine like the rock star that you are, but your teachers are sure to thank you too!

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