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Around 38 million Americans traveled abroad in 2017-- and they didn't just travel for the souvenirs and the room service. Sometimes the biggest trips are the most meaningful. With the high cost and higher stress of travel, we have to make our expeditions count. Here are six important reasons people travel.

Destination wedding

No matter where it happens, your wedding is an experience you'll never forget. But many people will go to the ends of the earth to achieve their dream celebration. Recent data suggests roughly 25% of weddings are considered a destination wedding. Of course, not every couple can cover the cost of a wedding in an exotic locale. But when it happens, it's an unforgettable event framed by romantic scenery--and it gives guests the opportunity to experience a place that is special to the bride and groom.

Medical tourism

As healthcare continues to become more specialized, many people have started seeking medical treatment in another city, or even another country. Some travel to esteemed hospitals to participate in special medical trials. Others visit websites like windwardway.com and realize the best treatment options for them are located across the country. There are downsides to so-called medical tourism--like the possible language barrier, and the lack of options for legal recourse in case of malpractice, but this doesn't stop a large number of people from pursuing treatment far from their local hospitals and treatment centers.

Family reunion

There's a reason ancestry DNA tests and family tree websites are so popular. People are taking an interest in their heritage, and learning about relatives they've never met. Many are willing to travel thousands of miles to have an emotional reunion with long-lost kin. This adds an extra layer of significance to any travel itinerary.

Work

Sometimes your trip of a lifetime is a working holiday. It's common for young people to travel overseas to work as au pairs in foreign countries. They get to experience the culture, while their host family gets help around the house. Others travel to teach their native language to a different population. Some people have jobs that necessitate airplane rides and hotel rooms. A work trip can be an adventure, even if there's not much leisure involved.

Volunteering

"Giving back" means different things to different people. Thousands sign on to globetrotting volunteer programs; they travel abroad to get their hands dirty with whatever cause that touches their heart. They help treat AIDS patients, do environmental research, build homes, help with disaster relief, and more. More and more college students are taking "gap years" to volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to pursue your interests while helping those who need it most.

Mission trip

The Huffington Post reports that more than one million U.S. Christians go on mission trips each year. These travelers hope to share the tenets of their faith with others. A majority of missionaries say that the mission trip changed their lives and their perspective on the world. Service trips don't always go abroad; about one-third of them travel within the U.S.

Huge, life-changing trips don't happen every day. They often hold significance beyond snapshots and trinkets. People travel to teach English to kids, to get married in a fascinating location, to reconnect with distant loved ones. When you see strangers on a plane, you can never guess what that ticket means to them.


When a Trip of a Lifetime is More than a Vacation
Digital Mag

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