Travel Improves Educational and Career Success

October 10, 2013

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Adults who took educational trips when they were 12-18 years old earn an average of $5,000 more in annual income and are more likely to be college graduates than their peers who did not travel, according to a new study by market research firm the Wagner Group.

Most of the 400 adults who took the survey, part of the Travel Effect Campaign, admitted that educational travel -- either a school or family trip that was at least 50 miles from home -- made them more “intellectually curious” and had a positive impact on their education and career success.

Regardless of gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, those who traveled as adolescents achieved better grades than those who did no educational traveling. And while 57 percent of those who traveled as children and teenagers went on to achieve college degrees or do post-graduate work, only 33 percent who did not travel achieved the same level of education.

The most well traveled (in terms of educational trips) had the greatest educational success. Almost all (95 percent) of adolescents who traveled five or more times were more likely to graduate from high school, and two-thirds of that group were graduated from college.

Most who experienced educational travel said that trips sparked engagement, greater interest and added depth to traditional classroom discussions. Of those, 83 percent said the travel experience influenced their career choices.

The results reflect a 2011 study by educational tour company Explorica, which found that most respondents who went to a school-sponsored educational trip outside the U.S. or Canada from ages 12-18 reported that they were more marketable to colleges and employers. Most who traveled also reported higher rates of employment, even in “tough economic times.” Sixty-one percent were full-time employees, versus 40 percent who had no educational travel experience.

Such surveys provide valuable insight for educators looking for ways to engage students outside typical classroom settings, particularly in light of a new study indicating that U.S. literacy and math rates are behind the global average.

Various educational groups, such as the Student & Youth Travel Association (SYTA) and USA Student Travel help connect students and youth with learning-based trips and tours around the country.

If you’re involved with a student travel association or know of any valuable resources, share them with us in the comment section below.

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