Travelling Together: The answer to your teambuilding conundrum

Most employers are well aware of the need for effective team building opportunities – but very few get it right.

In fact, one particular California-based security company was recently sued for subjecting their employees to bad team building activities. During a cutthroat sales competition, teams were pitted against each other and encouraged to haze each other to the extreme: the winners punished the losers with pies to the face, and some employees were even fed baby food and made to wear diapers!

Travelling Together As Teambuilding - The Wise Traveller

Team building is about creating camaraderie, not competition

It’s no surprise that employees took legal action after such a humiliating teambuilding experience. But what is surprising is that this company is not alone in the way they’ve tried – and failed – to engage their employees using traditional team-building practices. The same kind of low morale and legal woes could face a growing number of companies if they fail to embrace alternative, more effective team-building practices that focus on lasting engagement, not cutthroat competition.

So what type of team building activities can truly engage employees without causing them to cringe, withdraw, or call their lawyer? The kind of activities that offer real, authentic, meaningful experiences that are not forced or staged in any way. For many large and midsized companies, the answer to the teambuilding conundrum is team-based travel.

Travel provides an authentic team building experience

Team-based travel creates flexible, real-world team building opportunities without the need for competition, forced socialization or staged activities. The simple (or not-so-simple) act of taking a trip together provides team members with ample opportunities to connect, problem solve, and work together in the real world. Because of the spontaneous nature of travel, team building trips are doubly effective; in addition to specific teambuilding activities, the trip serves as an all-encompassing team building exercise in and of itself.

Travel offers true problem solving opportunities

If teams fail at a teambuilding exercise, there are no consequences. For the most part, a failed attempt at team building can be easily discarded as inconsequential.

But what happens when your team is stuck in the airport in Madrid without a way to get to the hotel, or stranded in the hotel lobby 7 hours before check-in? When that happens, the consequences are real and must be dealt with in real time.

Travel forces teams to solve real problems – the kind of problems that must be dealt with spontaneously yet effectively. When the bus is late, the flight is delayed or the hotel is overbooked, teams have to think quickly and work together. These kinds of lessons are much more impactful than traditional team building because people learn they can rely on each other when it really matters.

Travel vs. organized teambuilding

When faced with the choice between travel as a team building exercise, or cutthroat pie-throwing competitions, the choice is clear: giving teams the freedom and challenge of a real-world travel experience provides valuable opportunities to bond, socialize, problem solve and connect in a way that’s far more authentic – and far more effective – than staged activities and forced trust exercises will ever be.

Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.