You should never be afraid to explain a period of travel on your CV. Traditionalists might argue that travel will damage career prospects but I beg to differ. Travel puts you outside your comfort zone and exposes you to all sorts of new and foreign experiences. Here are the ways travel can enhance your CV.
If you’re not organised and capable of keeping to a schedule you’re not going to even catch your departure flight. Perhaps that is a bit simplistic but travel, especially a prolonged period of travel, requires you to be capable of organising and planning your time, often in complicated surroundings. Depending on your particular choice of travel you may have fitted a lot into a short time, which can demonstrate your ability to prioritise and plan your activities.
Stress managementTravel, because it puts you outside your comfort zone, can be stressful. Having had the courage to leave what you know and explore new places means you will have also had experience of decision-making, making an effort to understand new things, perhaps getting stranded somewhere unfamiliar and not knowing the language.
TeamworkWhether travelling solo or with friends at some point you will share travel arrangements with others. Cooperating with others to reach a common goal, especially if they are strangers, proves your ability as a team player.
CommunicationsDid you learn another language on your travels? That’s something to boast about on your CV. Even if you haven’t, communicating with people who do not share your mother tongue and who are from different backgrounds hones your communication skills such as negotiation and improves your confidence.
VisualisationWhenever you visit a new place a map tends to be involved. Checking maps and navigating from them strengthens your ability to interpret text and images.
Creative thinkingDifferent locations make new things available to you and sometimes mean things you are used to having become unavailable to you. There are some things you can find substitutes for but for others you need to get creative. The necessity of creative thinking that travel provides makes you very resourceful. Of course, you will also see things done differently abroad and when you return home with that knowledge it enhances what you bring to the table.
Problem solvingWhen you’re in a new environment you develop a greater awareness of your surroundings. You become more observant and flexible, and learn to adapt more readily to change.
Self-knowledge and managementEach and every travel experience teaches you something about yourself. You become more aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, the new experiences have increased your maturity, accountability, self-discipline, and you are better at managing many aspects of your life.
While I believe travellers learn a lot from their experiences on the road it is worth remembering that there is a difference between meaningful travel, and being a bum. How meaningful an experience is really depends on individual perspective but on your CV it is always wise to explain how you learned from your experiences.