Young students who travel often are more likely to develop good leadership skills, a recent poll by educational tour operators reveals.

According to the poll results, key leadership traits developed through travel, including independent thinking, an appreciation for cultural diversity, risk-taking and confidence, gives young people a competitive advantage over their peers, especially when it comes to realizing success in their adult lives.

A total of 592 American entrepreneurial and business leaders took part in the survey, conducted by Brightspark Travel, a leading U.S.-based educational tour operator.

Approximately 94 percent of the respondents stated that being well-traveled gives one an advantage in the workplace, while nearly 99 percent agreed that traveling as students made them culturally more aware, providing opportunities for success in all facets of life, on both national and international scales.

The surveyors discovered that the majority of business leaders who traveled as students said they were very content with the way their careers and personal lives had panned out.

Student travel provided me with a safe framework to challenge myself and develop lifelong leadership skills, said Matt Wilson, a young entrepreneur, It encouraged me to take risks and test my independence; characteristics that helped me as a student and that I still rely on today in the business world.

The educational tour experts believe that educators should be challenged to connect their classroom curriculum to real life.

This research adds to the growing wealth of evidence demonstrating the value of learning outside the classroom in improving cultural awareness and motivating children to become lifelong learners, said Lisa Curtin, Vice President of Operations, Brightspark Travel.

With the continuing shift towards a more globally informed society as well as new business challenges brought about by a precarious economy at home and abroad, life lessons picked up through student travel will help create more confident and ambitious leaders, both today and tomorrow, she explained.