Do you ever dream about dropping everything and heading off to a foreign country to explore? Do you ever think about what life would be like somewhere else? Do you think that traveling is just too expensive, too time-consuming, too difficult, and you’ll probably end up waiting until you’re retired to take a cruise or two instead? Well, good news, the best time to travel is actually while you’re young.
There are lots of myths out there about traveling, especially for long periods of time. It costs too much money, it’s dangerous, and it’s nothing more than a vacation. But all of this is completely false. It’s totally possible to travel safely on a budget, even in “dangerous” countries, and you’ll gain so much from the experience that it’s worth every penny. So even if you’re a broke college student, you can make it work. Here are 15 reasons to travel while you’re young:
15 You won’t have to quit your job
Lots of adults work jobs that don’t allow for much traveling. If you’ve been working for a while, you usually get settled into a certain routine, and you need to be at the office for most of your week. Some companies will guarantee that you can return to your job if you take extended time off for travel, but most won’t. If an adult wants to travel for the long-term, they will usually have to quit their job. However, most young people don’t have this concern yet. If you’re not working at a salaried, 9-5 position, you might find it easier to take time off and return to your old position when you come back. You also won’t lose benefits like health insurance if you do have to quit. It’s much easier to balance traveling and working when you’re young don't wait until you’ve started down your official career path to book that ticket.
14 You don’t have kids
It’s definitely possible to travel with kids, even for long periods of time but it’s much more difficult and expensive. You’re not only paying for yourself, you also have to cover your kids’ expenses. You have to take their school schedules’ into consideration. And you’re not just responsible for your own safety, health, and well-being on the road. Traveling with kids takes a lot more effort to plan and execute. If you wait until you have a family to start traveling, it might not be a carefree, enjoyable experience. Traveling with kids can definitely be rewarding, but it’s also a lot more work. When you’re young, you’re only responsible for yourself. You don’t have to worry about taking care of another tiny human being. This gives you so much more freedom and flexibility when traveling. You should try to travel before you have children because it will be a cheaper and more relaxing experience.
13 You actually have more financial freedom
Do you think that you’re too broke to travel, especially if you’ve been living on a tight student budget? Chances are, you’re probably not. And you might be surprised to find out that in some ways, you actually have more financial freedom than many adults. Think about it, you may not have all the expenses that adults do yet. You don’t have to worry about paying a mortgage, and if you’re still in high school or just starting college, you probably don’t pay rent or utilities. The money that an adult would have to put towards daily living expenses can be saved for travel instead. If you make a budget and see where you can cut down on costs, you can start a little travel fund and add to it each month. Eventually, it will really start to add up, and you can plan that backpacking adventure you’ve always dreamed about.
12 It’s easier to take time off from work and school
When you’re an adult with a 9-5 job, you spend most of your time at work. Sure, you have your weekends, but it’s tough to go far away with just two days. And yes, you’ll have some vacation time, but depending on where you work, it may only be for two weeks. It’s harder to travel as an adult because you’ll usually be working a full-time job with very limited time off. But when you’re young, you have school breaks and entire summers. If you work during these times, your job will probably be something more flexible where you don’t have a set schedule or a certain number of hours per week, so it’s easier to work out a plan with your boss to take time off. You may not have this same freedom with your work schedule when you’re older, so it’s best to take advantage of it while you still can.
11 You can have more fun on a budget
The idea of traveling on a tight budget might sound a little intimidating. Will you have to sleep on a dirt floor and eat instant noodles every night? Will you have to skip attractions that cost money and miss out on valuable cultural experiences? Will you have to stay in an unsafe area? Don’t worry, traveling on a budget can be just as much fun as luxury travel, and you will gain a lot from the experience. You can stay in hostels where you’ll meet lots of other travelers your age. You’ll have to be choosy about which attractions you pay for, but you definitely won’t waste time or money doing anything that you don’t really want to do. You’ll learn about how to be smart when it comes to managing money. This is a valuable skill that will help you throughout your entire life. Traveling on a budget doesn’t have to mean roughing it.
10 You’ll be more open-minded
If you wait until you’re older to travel, it’ll be more difficult to break out of your usual routines. You might find traveling uncomfortable because you’re so used to your comfort zone. But when you’re young, it’s easier to get used to new places and new cultures. You’ll be more open minded to trying different foods, living in cities completely different from where you grew up, and experiencing new cultures. It will also be easier for you to pick up new languages. When you travel while you’re young, you’ll feel more carefree. You just won’t worry as much. You’re more likely to be accepting of things that older people might not want to deal with. Whether it’s sleeping in crowded hostels, trying weird street food, or getting totally lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood, it’s easier to embrace these experiences when you’re young. So go out there and get lost don't wait!
9 You’ll make friends for life
The friends you meet on the road can become some of the best friends you’ll ever have. You already have something in common right off the bat, you like to travel and want to see the world. Meeting new travel buddies is always rewarding. They can introduce you to places and people you would have never met otherwise. They can teach you things about the world and about yourself. It’s easy to make friends in hostels, where everyone is young and broke. If you travel while you’re young, you’ll get to meet people your age from all over the world. It’s one of the best ways to learn about other countries and cultures. Plus, these are the kind of friends that will stick around for life. When you bond with people while traveling, those memories can last forever. Meeting new friends on the road can be an absolutely life changing experience.
8 You’ll gain valuable life experience
When you stay in your hometown, you don’t learn as much about the world around you. Your life experience is confined to one general area. But if you make the effort to get out and travel, you can’t stay in your comfort zone. You have to do things that might be uncomfortable and scary at first, but in the end, traveling will make you a more well-rounded person. You’ll have to navigate new cities on your own probably without Wifi to use Google maps. You’ll have to figure out the public transportation systems in countries where you don’t speak the language. You’ll have to communicate with people who don’t speak English, you’ll have to adapt to cultures completely different from your own, and you’ll have to stick to a budget while figuring out fluctuating exchange rates. You will come out of the experience as a smarter, stronger individual with lots of valuable new skills.
7 You have more independence
When you’re young, you don’t have to have everything figured out just yet. You have a lot more freedom in how you choose to live your life. You don’t have as many responsibilities. You have more independence than older people. Think about it, you’re really not tied down in any way. You may not have unlimited spending money, but you can probably put more of it towards travels than adults can. You may still be in school, but you’re not tied to your campus because you get extensive breaks. You don’t have a spouse or children, so you’re not responsible for other people’s well-being. You may have a good idea of what you want to do with your life, but you’re not settled into a specific career path. You probably haven’t formed as many preconceived notions about other countries, so you’ll be open to going anywhere. You’re more independent when you travel at a young age.
6 It can boost your resume
Since you might have to take time off from work to travel, even if you’re young, you might not understand why traveling can actually help your career. But traveling can definitely boost your resume. Long-term travel is the best way to learn a new language, you'll have to use it all the time, so you’ll work it every day and become more fluent. Speaking a second language is great to have on your resume. Furthermore, employers like people who are open-minded and creative when it comes to problem solving. People who travel often have to think on their feet, and this is something that you can use to your advantages in interviews. Many companies also like to hire people with international experience, especially if they do business in other countries. Studying abroad is a great resume booster, and so is working abroad, even if it’s only for a short period of time.
5 You’ll be bolder
Traveling will put you in situations that you could have never imagined before you left. You will have the opportunity to do things that you can’t do at home. Sometimes, you’ll be forced out of your comfort zone, and you’ll discover a whole new side of yourself. You might not have thought you were brave enough to go bungee jumping, to climb all the way up that mountain, to go zip lining through the rainforest, but you are. Traveling can help you find the courage to do things that always scared you before and it’s easier when you’re young. You’ll be more open to doing things that scare you just a little bit. Traveling is the ultimate adrenaline rush, and it’s best to chase that rush while you’re young. Plus, you’ll have all kinds of stories about the crazy adventures you had all around the world that you can tell your kids one day.
4 It’ll give you a confidence boost
Traveling will put you in tough situations. But if you can take it all in stride, you’ll feel so much more confident about your ability to handle life’s obstacles. Getting out of a bad situation on the road is no fun at the time, but when everything goes wrong, it’s an opportunity to learn. And the things you learn while traveling will stick with you forever. You’ll realize just how capable you really are, and that every problem really does have a solution. And when you come home, you’ll be more confident than ever before. If you get lost, you’ll just think back to the time you found your way back to your hostel at midnight in a country where no one spoke English. If you’re nervous about meeting someone new, you’ll remember making friends from cities you’d never heard of when you were all alone in a foreign country.
3 Student discounts
Yes, planning and booking trips takes a lot more planning when you’re on a student budget. But luckily, lots of travel companies understand this and offer student discounts! You can only take advantage of them while you’re young, so don’t hesitate to book those flights! You can find student discounts anywhere you go, from airlines to hostels to restaurants to museums. Lots of attractions will also offer special student rates to make these experiences more affordable for young people. Sometimes, you will have to do a little extra research to find out who offers discounts, but the extra time you spend looking into it can save you a ton of money in the end. Keep student discounts in mind while planning your trip and choosing which attractions and museums to visit, and always bring your student ID with you wherever you go there's never any harm in asking a business if they offer a discount!
2 You’ll learn about history and culture outside of a classroom
History may not have been your favorite class in school. And you might’ve gotten frustrated during language classes. But that doesn’t mean these subjects are boring. Learning about history, language, and culture is much more interesting when you can visit the place that you’re learning about. It’s also a lot more effective. For example, you could sit in a history class, read a textbook, and take lots of notes on topics that you’ll probably forget right after your exam. Or you could plan a trip to Germany, visit the countless memorials and museums focused on World War II, and have an experience that you’ll never forget. You absorb so much more when you can learn about history and culture in person. Yes, it’s more expensive, but you definitely get your money’s worth. You will understand the impact of what you’re learning in a whole new way, and you’ll definitely remember it.
1 It can change your whole world view
Traveling while you’re young can change your life for all the reasons listed above and many more. It can change everything you thought you knew about other countries and your own. It will break down stereotypes and misconceptions. It will show you that we’re all connected and that human beings are more similar than different. The world won’t seem as scary because you’ll see that for everyone out there with bad intentions, there are many more people who are kind, helpful, and generous. You’ll see that there is much more to the world than your own country, and you’ll get to see firsthand how other people live. You’ll learn things about yourself and the world that you simply can’t get from reading a book or watching a documentary. You should take the chance to do this while you’re young and able. The experience will definitely be worth it in the end, and you’ll come back forever changed.