Inspirational Travel Quotes and Why We Travel

Travel quotes are commonly used as a source of inspiration when planning an adventure, as motivation whilst on the road and to put reflection on a past experience into words.

A memorable travel quote is inspirational, insightful and relatable.

A travel quote can also help verbalise why so many of us are choosing to integrate travel into our lifestyles, making it part of our reality instead of an escape from it.

A travel quote can answer that recurring question we get from family, friends and colleagues who recognise how happy travel makes us…but don’t really understand why.

Why do we travel?


1. WE TRAVEL to open our eyes, broaden our minds and soften our souls

I SAY:             

The best education is the one taught outside the classroom


  • “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable.  It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” (Clifton Fadiman)
  • “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” (Maya Angelou)
  • “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” (Aldous Huxley)
  • “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” (St Augustine)
  • “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)


2. WE TRAVEL in search of new experiences

I SAY:             

Tourists have holidays – travellers have experiences


  • “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travellers don’t know where they’re going.” (Paul Theroux)
  • “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” (James Michener)
  • “A tourist is a fellow who drives thousands of miles so he can be photographed standing in front of his car.” (Emile Ganest)
  • “The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” (G.K. Chesterton)


3. WE TRAVEL to look at home through new eyes

I SAY:             

The most effective way of appreciating what you have and where you are from is to leave it.

THEY SAY:      

  • “When overseas, you learn more about your own country than you do the place you’re visiting.” (Clint Borgen)
  • “A wise traveller never despises his own country.” (Carlo Goldoni)
  • “No one realises how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” (Lin Yutang)
  • “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land: it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” (G.K. Chesterton)
  • “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” (Dagobert D Runes)
  • “We shall not cease from exploration, And the end of all our exploring, Will be to arrive where we started, And to know that place for the first time.” (TS Eliot)


4. WE TRAVEL to open ourselves up to life-changing opportunities


Overcoming the fear of the unknown is the first step in breaking the rut of discontent.


  • “He who is outside his door already has the hardest part of his journey behind him.” (Dutch proverb)
  • “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference.” (Robert Frost)
  • “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” (Andrew Gide)
  • “When you can’t change the direction of the wind – adjust your sails.” (H Jackson Brown Jnr)
  • “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” (Milton Berle)
  • “The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” (Anna Quindlen)
  • “A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” (Lao Tzu)
  • “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing whilst in pursuit of something else.” (Lawrence Block)


5. WE TRAVEL on a journey of self-discovery

I SAY:             

It’s often said that the best way to get to know someone is by travelling with them and there is no better journey of self-discovery than the one you take as a solo traveller.


  • “I have found out that ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” (Mark Twain)
  • “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” (Sir Edmund Hillary)
  • “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” (Danny Kaye)
  • “The man who goes alone can start today: but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” (Henry David Thoreau)
  • “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” (TS Eliot)
  • “When you are travelling, you are what you are right there and then.  People don’t have your past to hold against you.  No yesterdays on the road.” (William Least Heat Moon)
  • “Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” (Henry David Thoreau)


6. WE TRAVEL to connect with like-minded people and make new friends


The journey is more rewarding than the destination and it’s the people you meet along the way that enrich the experience.


  • “The more I travelled the more I realised that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” (Shirley MacLaine)
  • “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” (Tim Cahill)
  • “The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them.” (Amelia E Barr)


7. WE TRAVEL to live, not just exist


There is nothing more energising than being outside your comfort zone, choosing flexibility over routine and appreciating freedom more than security.  You can always replenish your bank account but you cannot reclaim time.


  • “The greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” (Bill Bryson)
  • “Twenty years from now you will more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)
  • “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go.  I travel for travel’s sake.  The great affair is to move.” (Robert Louis Stevenson)
  • “A good traveller has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” (Lao Tzu)
  • “The further one goes, the less one knows.” (Lao Tzu)


And my personal favourite:

Not all those who wander are lost.” (JRR Tolkien)

 What travel quote best explains why you travel? Is it on this list?  If not, please add it in the comments below.



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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at


  1. One of my favorites.

    “We travel not to escape life but for life not to escape us” – author unknown.

    First time posting. I enjoy reading your blog. I can’t wait to read your post about Antarctica! Enjoy!

  2. Great selection of quotes!! Thanks for sharing.

  3. I can agree with all the traveler’s philosophy, travelers have similar frame of mind, specially those who does it without itinerary and a time frame. 🙂

  4. Great article, I have been traveling all my life and I recognize a few things.

  5. My favorite quote is: “Find out who you are, and do it on purpose” – Dolly Parton

    That is what I feel I do through travel. 🙂 It’s the only way I know to find out who I am and where I belong.

    Thanks for the inspiring quotes. I am sure I will use a few for my own travel blog.


  6. I just came across this and posted it to my Facebook. This past week, so many people have talked with me about travel and why I do it. The simplest reason, it feeds my Soul and nourishes my life! It reminds me to connect with the flow of life, with living as a human being rather than a human doing. And now, I must go pack my pack and plan the next adventure!

    Thanks for the posting!

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Planning for Antarctica (Part 2): Where Am I Going?
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