Why You Should Travel Young And How to Do It
You know those carefree days when you can live off your parents’ income and it’s perfectly normal and perfectly acceptable? Well, I don’t mean to burst your bubble, but those days will end. That’s one thing you must understand well about growing older and earning your own money: you’ll begin to be responsible for every facet of your well-being, and budgeting is a big part of that. Does this mean that you’d never be able to go anywhere anymore, because now you’d have to save for it? Thankfully, no.
I’m 25, and although it’s been almost five years since I graduated from university, I still depend on my parents for a lot of things: emotional support for one, but monetary support for another, when I can’t handle the weight on my own. So it seems that parent-dependent days really have no end: they would always have our back no matter how old we get, and no matter how many mistakes we make. (In the same way that we should always have their back no matter how old or how forgetful they get, but that’s a different story.)
So parent-dependent days may not end, but it’s also inappropriate to have them pay for things when we can do so ourselves.
Are you thinking of traveling but you’re not sure if your meager budget can afford it? Or do you think traveling is something to be reserved for later in life, when you already have a house, a family, three dogs, a cat, and millions of dollars to your name?
Why You Should Travel Young
It’s been said many times and in many ways, but clichés are clichés because they are true: traveling teaches you in ways staying put inside your comfort zone just can’t do. Sure, you know your city by heart and it’s great that you do. But there’s a whole world out there that doesn’t think and live the way you do, and wouldn’t it be nice to see why you’re still alike even though your humanity is your sole common ground?
I’ve always been very vocal about cultural immersion being my favourite part of visiting another city or another country. It’s really a great feeling, being able to understand why people are the way they are, why they do what they do, and in spite of our glaring differences, wanting to embrace it all.
Seeing new places and meeting different people especially when you go out of your way to actually get to know them, opens your eyes to the greyer side of life, more than just the black and white. You become more tolerant of diversity, less judgmental of others’ way of life, just because they differ from yours.
To be aware of all these things at a young age gives you the power to make more conscious decisions as you grow older. When you understand that the world is so much bigger than yourself and your inner circle, maybe you could encourage your schoolmates to be less exclusive and more accepting of others. Or maybe when it’s time for you to choose a major in university, you can work towards a career that will allow you to champion a cause that struck your heart when you were off the grid.
Traveling molds you the way no shopping spree can do.
How You Can Travel Far On A Budget
Here’s my personal travel-planning checklist so that you can travel young. Feel free to alter it to cater to your needs. The key to a successful trip is to do your homework well: research is invaluable!
- Where do you want to go? If you don’t already have one, I suggest making a list of the places you want to see in the next five years. Once you’ve chosen your top three, try to gather as much information as you can about them.
- When do you want to go? Is your travel time optimal? You don’t want to visit Nepal in June if your goal is to trek Mt. Everest’s base camp, because of the monsoon season. Read travel forums to check when it’s best to visit your desired destination. If it doesn’t coincide with your travel time, move on to your second choice.
- Is it safe? Read travel advisories and the latest news to find out whether it’s perfectly safe to visit when you’re planning to. If you have friends who live there or friends of friends who do, it’s best to ask them for the inside scoop. Sometimes the news blows things out of proportion too.
- How much are you willing to spend? When you set a ceiling to how much you can save before your trip and how much you’re comfortable shelling out, it’s easier to look for flights, accommodations and activities that suit your budget.
- What are you willing to let go? The thing about a meager budget is that you have to be precise with the experiences that are not negotiable for you, and let go of the ones you can live without. When I was planning a two-week trip to England in 2010, I knew that I couldn’t do it all, especially because everything is more expensive in pounds. What were my non-negotiables? The Tower of London, the Stonehenge, and because I’m a die-hard Beatles fan, a day trip to Liverpool. What did I have to let go for another time? Shopping at Harrods and seeing a fabulous West End show.
It’s not impossible to go far with a meager budget; it just takes a lot of careful planning and whole lot of research! Always be on the lookout for different deals and promos, but be careful not to book anything right away. Compare and contrast, and until you’re comfortable with the price, don’t commit to it.
The best thing about traveling when you’re young and single is that you only need to plan for yourself. Although it still takes a lot of time and effort if you want to get more bang for your buck, there are less considerations (without a mortgage, three mouths to feed, or limited time off work that needs to be worked around) and ultimately, it still costs less. You only have to ask your parents to know how daunting it is to plan not just for two, but for a whole family.
If there’s one thing that can convince you to travel young, it’s this: it’s never going to be this easy again.
Author Bio: Ria is an eager blogger who works as a freelance writer and a Communications Specialist. In her blog, www.riamacasaet.com, she writes about her weakness for air crash documentaries, getting slapped in the face by a grown Greek man, and the perks of loving where you are.