A beginner’s guide to “meaningful travel”

Want to invest your holiday experiences with a bit more emotional charge? Meaningful travel is the way to go

By Charlotte Bean

To the uninitiated, “meaningful travel” may sound like the sort of thing gap-year students talk about when they finally get around to entering the workplace. “Yah, so I went to India and did some meaningful travel, right? It was sooooo am-azing? Like totally life-changing, yah?”

But the reality is that everyone can gain from a travel experience that leaves them with a different perspective on the world.

Done well, meaningful travel involves exploring unfamiliar places and gaining fresh insights. It produces a mental change, garnering experiences that leave you richer in spirit.

    Done well, meaningful travel involves exploring unfamiliar places and gaining fresh insights.  

Meaningful travel has been a part of my life since I was teenager. At 16, I went to India, spending time volunteering in a school and immersing myself in Indian culture. It was awful. I had undiagnosed glandular fever at the time, felt horrendous and ended up being put on an IV drip in Bahrain airport on the way home.

Despite this, my eyes were opened to all the things I didn’t know about the world. That is why, with my A-levels completed, I signed up to three months of volunteering in Nepal. Alone.

It’s now nearly 10 years on and that trip has unquestionably made positive changes to my life. As a teenager with anxiety, travelling alone to a different continent and entirely alien way of life was, quite frankly, beyond terrifying.

But the experience was truly amazing, with the best part of the trip being the friendship I made with the Nepalese lady, Jyoti, who ran the orphanage I stayed at. She showed me what it was really like to live there, rather than simply being a tourist. We still stay in touch.

The trip massively boosted my confidence. Now, whenever I think I can’t do something, I remember that experience and all the amazing, brave things I did: travelling across the world alone at 18, taking part in a white-water rafting adventure, making new friends even when I was way out of my depth.

I also remember the people I met, the kindest people in the world, and the help I was given by strangers, people who had so much less than me.

Giving your travels a purpose can have truly life-changing results, as Ryan Trump recently discovered. He spent a fortnight in Peru, undertaking volunteer work to renovate a rural school before completing a trek along the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu to raise money for a local charity.

“Machu Picchu had always been on my bucket list,” says Ryan. “When I saw the opportunity to go while making a difference by volunteering and raising money for a charity close to my heart, I jumped at it.

“It was a wonderful experience: I made new friends, experienced a new culture and completed the difficult challenge of not only fundraising, but completing the trek itself. It showed me just how much I am capable of.”

These types of experience don’t only affect you personally. They can also help you professionally: at interviews, I am always asked about my experience travelling as a teenager, even a decade on.

Peter Foy, director at Just Recruitment Group Ltd, highlights how these sorts of experiences can make you stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs. “Being able to add details about a meaningful travel experience to your CV shows you are confident, willing to learn and able to take on challenges,” he says.

“Employers are always looking for the applicant who has that something extra to give. An interesting travel experience could be the thing that catches their eye.”

Whether you choose to fundraise, volunteer, take on a physical challenge, immerse yourself in another culture, or combine all of these elements into one trip like Ryan, enrich your life (and employability) by giving meaningful travel a go.

Take it from me: you won’t regret it!

Three tips for meaningful travel

  1. Do your research, particularly if you are planning to volunteer. Of course, volunteering is an amazing thing to do, but it’s important that you do so ethically. Pod Volunteer is an award-winning, ethical company that organises a range of volunteer projects around the world.
  2. Immerse yourself in the culture of the place you are visiting. The best way to do this? Learn the language so you can communicate with the locals. DuoLingo is a free app that can help you learn the basics, with more than 30 languages available. Ask the locals where they eat and how they spend their time for a more authentic experience – you might even get a special invite!
  3. Be prepared to leave your comfort zone. Whether it’s travelling solo, leaving your phone behind for a day, exploring without a map, or trying something you’ve never done before. That’s what will really change you. Which is what meaningful travel is all about.

Published: 5 August 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Fascinated by the 1960s Space Race? Read our brief history to find out more

You may also enjoy: How to switch careers in your 20s and 30s

Jobs currently available

Sector: Transport, Logistics and Shipping
Salary: £18,000 - £22,000 per annum
Location: Chelmsford
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909015
About the role

Just Recruitment is looking for a driver to join a large and well-established business, with multiple branches across the UK.

This position will be based at their Chelmsford branch.

The role involves delivering various items to locations in and around the Chelmsford area.

You must have a full clean driving licence and have experience of driving either transit or LWB vans.

Working Hours:

  • 45 per week Mon-Fri 7:30 - 5 plus 2 Saturday mornings (8am-12pm) per month - paid at overtime rates!


  • Salary Negotiable.
  • Attendance bonus scheme.
  • Company pension scheme.
  • Shared profit scheme.
  • Uniform and PPE provided.

Duties will include:

  • Deliveries in and around Chelmsford
  • Assisting with various warehouse duties
  • Proving a friendly service to customers and other staff whilst out on the road and within the branch as and when required.
  • Working with the team to ensure the branch runs smoothly and customers are delighted with the service.

In order to be considered for this role you must have worked in a similar role, have excellent IT skills and a good telephone manner.

This is a great opportunity to join an organisation that promotes from within, provides extra training and development and further company benefits.

Read more
Workshop Technician/Mechanic
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £17,500 - £27,000 per annum
Location: Hadleigh
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909014
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Workshop Technician/Mechanic on behalf of a leading independent parts specialists based on the outskirts of Sudbury, Suffolk.


  • £17,500 - £27,000 depending on experience.

Great working environment in a high-spec workshop with heating and insulated flooring, to ensure employees are comfortable all year round.

Duties include:

  • Repair and refurbish motors and gearboxes.
  • Stripping down engines.
  • Disassemble and fix parts.
  • Complete root-cause analysis.


  • 23 days annual leave, plus bank holidays.
  • Free parking.
  • Profit share scheme, available after probation.
  • Medical scheme, available after probation.
  • PPE provided including boots and company branded tshirts / fleeces.
  • Training courses.

This is a fantastic opportunity to join a great company offering lots of progression and excellent benefits.

Candidates must drive due to the location of the company, and will occasionally be required to drive company vehicles.



Read more
Business Development & Account Manager
Sector: Sales
Salary: To be discussed on application
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909013
About the role

Are you looking to work for an exciting new start-up business offering a great opportunity for you to grow?

Have you worked to targets, and enjoy selling?

Just Recruitment  is delighted to be recruiting for an Account Manager for our client based in Witham.

The role of the Account Manager is to build and develop relationships with new members, working with them throughout their one month free trial and ultimately upgrading them to a paying member.

There will be no cold calling in this role, all leads have come to express their interest!

If you love working in a team, talking to new people, have worked in sales before and have good verbal and written skills then this could be the role for you!

This is a full-time, permanent role working Monday – Friday.




Read more
Legal Secretary
Sector: Law and Security
Salary: £22,000 per annum
Location: Clacton on Sea
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 909000
About the role

Just Recruitment is excited to be recruiting for one of the East of England’s longest established Legal Firms.

Operating for over 250 years, they are a full-service law firm, which has doubled in sized over the past four years, and they are looking to expand further by hiring a new Legal Secretary for their Clacton branch.

They are looking for someone with experience of;

  • Electronic diary management.
  • Telephone liaison.
  • Front of house/reception duties.
  • Digital transcription systems.
  • Using accounts software.
  • Various other clerical and administrative duties.

The ideal candidate will have experience working as a Legal Secretary, with a genuine passion for building a career within the law.

They must also have fast typing speeds and the ability to multi-task effectively.

In return you will receive;

  • A competitive salary.
  • 20 days holiday + bank holidays.
  • Contributory pension scheme.
  • As well as a whole host of other benefits.
Read more
Wedding and Special Events Sales Manager - Maternity Cover
Sector: Hospitality and Events Management
Salary: £20,000 - £24,000 per annum
Location: Witham
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 908437
About the role

Luxury, grandeur and spectacular!

Our client, one of the finest country house venues in the tantalising Essex Countryside have a fantastic opportunity for you.

They are seeking a full time Wedding and Sales Manager to join their team to support the corporate, wedding sales and planning team on a 12 Month Maternity Cover Contract.

You will be working alongside the Head of Wedding Planning and the CEO in a buzzing environment, that requires you to focus on every little detail to deliver beyond expectations.

You will be responsible for;

  • Hosting all wedding show rounds.
  • Preparing for open evenings and open days.
  • Following up with potential brides or clients to discuss set up and more detailed planning.
  • Working alongside the Operations Team.
  • Work in conjunction with all event staff and catering partners to ensure the function is delivered to the high standards expected.
  • Manage external suppliers.
  • To assist other department managers as and when required.

Please note - this venue will be holding a sensational Christmas Fayre in 2020, along side the normal duties you will also have a heavy hand within the planning and organisation of this spectacular event!

If you have previous experience of wedding sales and managing weddings then we want to hear from you!

Due to the location, you must hold a full UK license and have access to a car.



Read more