You have a passport, a backpack, a sense of adventure and the world is at your feet. As a young adult, this is the perfect time to answer the wanderlust call. Marvels of the world await you, experiences you’ve only dreamed of can become realities, and life-changing opportunities are only an itinerary away.
Travel is for everyone, no matter what age, but it is especially for the young. Here are 10 reasons why it is a must in your younger years:
1. You have minimal responsibilities. Most likely you’re not paying a mortgage, fighting for vacation time at a high-pressure job, and you don’t have to worry about feeding a family. Now is a great time to save up for that dream adventure that will change the course of your life.
2. You’re ready to explore. Your hometown is familiar and comfortable, but you’re ready to go beyond the city limits. You want to get out there to see, feel, smell, hear and taste what new countries and cultures have to offer. Experiencing Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum is something you want to do first-hand - literary and film representations are no longer enough.
3. You’re in good shape. You can walk all day long, stand in lines, brave steep and crooked stairs, climb ancient bell towers, and cobblestones are a cakewalk (unless you’re wearing stilettos). Your back is strong and with the right pack strapped to you, you won’t have to wait at baggage claim, or lug a suitcase on and off trains, or through busy metro stations. Your health and strength put you at an advantage.
4. You can rough it. Sometimes financial savings win out over comfort, and it’s okay - you’re young. Sleeping on an overnight train, or in a hostel bunk bed with seven other roommates are small prices to pay for an additional day of adventure, bonus tour or (let’s face it) extra beer money. Speaking of that...
5. Your liver is young. So many drinking possibilities exist, whether it’s beer in Germany, uzzo in Greece, wine in France, limoncello in Italy or pint after pint in the UK. Being young, you are equipped to enjoy beverages without losing entire recovery days of travel the following morning. Just sleep in, take a nap, drink some water and before you know it, you’re seeing world-class sights and doing it all over again.
6. You receive youth discounts. Who doesn’t love traveling on the cheap? To attract young travelers, certain attractions, trains and metro systems offer youth rates and fares. If you’re in school, you may qualify for a student discount. This leads to our next point...
7. You can earn study credit. What better way to pair your experiences abroad with course credit that furthers your educational pursuits? Exchange programs, and summers or semesters abroad can help earn your diploma. That is working smarter, not harder.
8. You say “yes” to adventure. Let’s face it, with youth comes feelings of invincibility. You are more open to taking risks than older, more cautious travelers. Maybe you throw your itinerary out the window in favor of spontaneity? Perhaps you check out that after-hours party with the locals you met at the bar? Why not? Like you, the night is also young.
9. You will meet fascinating people. You are in a unique position to meet internationals, discover compatible travel buddies, and develop lifelong friendships. Today’s technology makes it simple to stay in touch across the miles. Who knows? You may even meet your significant other while abroad.
10. Your adventures will shape who you become. Travel will bring a host of benefits. You’ll discover your sense of adventure, your level of resourcefulness, learn how to blend with other cultures, and forever light the flame of wanderlust. It will show you who you are and what really matters to you in this brief lifetime.
The Beginning of Something Amazing
I strongly believe in lifelong adventures. One of the most formative experiences of my life was traveling abroad to Europe as a 21-year-old student. Now, in my 30s, I have journeyed with my family and have written on why and how I travel with my children.
If I play my cards right, I’ll continue to travel well into my golden years. Perhaps we’ll brush elbows in a cafe. I’ll be winding down for the night, eating an early dinner, and nostalgically smiling at you, as you and your friends toast the start of a night filled with adventure. Make the most of it, seize the day and bon voyage!