Traveling in your 20’s is a must. You will learn so many different things. You will find an appreciation for things you did not understand before and you will change every time you go somewhere new. I can’t tell you how you will be changed, because every experience is different. However, I can tell you it will be worth it.
Step out of your comfort zone and learn something new. One of the best reasons to travel young is because it shapes you into the best version of yourself. You find confidence, independence, and clarity in who you are. You will not only learn about yourself, you will learn about the culture you are immersed in. There is no better teacher than experience, and you will get a whole lot of it.
You will learn how to navigate foreign countries and airports and you will learn key phrases in languages you knew nothing about. Traveling gives you a better understanding of the world and the people that inhabit it. You will also acquire a large quantity of useless facts that will be great conversation starters.
2. Cultural appreciation.
Immerse yourself in cultures that are foreign to you. When you walk a mile in someone else’s shoes you begin to understand where they are coming from. Doing this will give you the skills to understand opposing views in everyday life. Appreciating someone else’s cultural views will help you excel in future careers making you more relatable to others. Traveling in your 20’s will give you more experience than the average twenty-something. You will be much better at adapting to change as well as troubleshooting in high stress situations.
3. Respect for our earth.
Spend more time outside and less time indoors. Explore the landscapes of our Earth wherever you go. I can’t stress enough how important it is to see the world from every angle. You will see landscapes that are beautiful and some that are haunting. Everywhere I go I take time to walk or hike the landscape. Some of the most beautiful views I have ever seen come following a 6 mile hike. You will realize how small your troubles are in comparison to the world. Ultimately, we are all just minuscule in relation to the size of this giant rock we cling to floating in space around a hot ball of gas. You will learn to love our Earth, the views, and you will know how important it is to respect her.
4. Find your independence.
One of the best things about traveling in your 20’s is that you will find your independence. You will get lost and you will need to learn to adapt to the unexpected. By traveling you acquire the necessary tools to be independent, making you a great leader, and you will excel in your career. One thing I can tell you is do not rely on anyone else but yourself. If you are traveling in a group, bring a map. Do not trust your phone or your friend’s guide book. When my husband and I were in Hawaii we learned the hard way how easy it is to get lost. We were hiking in an unmarked trail I had read about in a travel guide. What was suppose to be an easy hike turned into a nightmare because I ended up taking us up the wrong trail.
Bring a map and don’t rely on your phone or guide books.
5. You have no monetary ties
If you are in your early twenties chances are you do not have any substantial debt. Without student loans looming over your head use the money you do have to travel. The experience you will gain far out weighs the risk you are taking by traveling. You most likely do not own a home and may not have any car payments, however if you do have these things, you can still take advantage of travel. Fresh out of college and can’t afford a plane ticket? Get in your car with your friends (or solo travel) and take a road trip. You can even map out campgrounds to stop at so you don’t have to pay for hotel rooms.
If you live in the U.S. (or even parts of Europe) there are so many things to see. If you have student loans kicking in within the next year, get in your car now and take full advantage of not having that outrageous payment.
6. you are not promised tomorrow.
Someday you will die. You are not promised tomorrow so make the most of your life now. Traveling in your 20’s is important because there is no promise that your legs will work tomorrow or that you will even be alive. Take full advantage of your young body now while you can. I work in family medicine and see many geriatric patients. One of the more frequent advice they give is this: See the world now before it is too late. We all age, and some of us age better than others, but at some point we all decline to a point we can no longer travel. I don’t know about you, but when I am 90 years old I do not want to regret anything.
Not traveling is the most frequent regret that I hear about. You may not be sure if you should skydive, but if you are at least considering it then maybe you should do it.
7. money is best used on memories, not ‘things’.
Do not waste your money on the latest trend because it always goes out of style. The best thing you can do with your money is to sink it into something that will enrich your life. Culture in the U.S. revolves around brand name items that no one really needs. These things go out of style and end up being worthless. Putting $1000 towards traveling in your 20’s instead of $1000 towards a purse you want or alcohol is a much better investment. What are you investing in? Your future. Being a seasoned traveler makes you more marketable, relatable and knowledgable about things others don’t even know exist.
Traveling will teach you more about yourself and the world than you thought possible, so buy a plane ticket, pack a bag, and be in awe of something.
(Want to learn how to navigate Hawaii for less money? See my blog post here.)