15 Reasons to Travel Before You’re 30
There are people who believe that the best travel experiences are to be had after one is firmly established in a career and can afford to travel all over the world. These people are wrong.
Your 20s can be one of the most fulfilling decades of your life for travel. It’s often a time when you're between being self-sufficient but still very open to allowing new places to change your world view.
And although travelers in their 20s may not be staying in five-star hotels, they’ll have opportunities that aren’t available to older travelers.
For those debating a trip around the world, we’ve got 15 reasons to give you a push. Youth needn't be wasted on the young.
Your brain is still developing.
Science has shown that our brains are still developing and changing well into the mid-20s. Spend this part of your life traveling throughout the world, and the experiences you have are more likely to shape your brain — and you. One of the biggest changes that happens to our brains in our 20s is the development of emotional intelligence. Those who are able to travel and empathize with other cultures can develop an even more nuanced and global sense of compassion.
Many countries continue to offer student discounts long after you’re a student. Those who want to ride the rails in Europe can get a discounted rate up until they’re 25. And those who want to stay in hostels will find cheaper rates if they’re younger. Some hostels even impose age limits so it won’t even be possible to book a bed if you’re older than 30.
You can go out drinking at night and wake up to sightsee the next day.
The older you get, the longer your hangover.
It’s still socially acceptable to sleep on couches.
Couchsurfing just doesn’t have the same appeal once you turn 31.
You have fewer responsibilities back home.
For many people, your 30s are the decade in which major life changes, like home ownership and family, take over. If you can, travel before you have obligations tying you to your home.
You have plenty of time to recover time lost in your career.
We’re probably going to all be working until we’re (well past) 65. The earlier you prioritize travel, the more time you’ll have to recover any time lost in your career.
It’s easier to learn new languages when you're younger.
If you’re traveling to a foreign country, it will be easier to pick up a new language now than 10 years from now. Although scientists debate the exact reasons why it’s harder to learn a language the older you get, many say that motivation tends to wane with age.
You’ll be way more fun at parties.
Nothing can make a dinner party quite like a lively story from the road. Travelers can regal fellow party guests with stories about being stranded in Barcelona after missing a train or that time they were on safari and almost got trampled by an elephant.
You can use your travel skills in your career.
On the road, you’ll learn how to make a schedule, stick to it and prioritize — among many other life skills. These practices are also highly valued by employers and mentioning them could help you stand out in your next job interview.
You’ll take more chances.
Your brain’s prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain associated with controlling impulses — isn’t completely developed until your late 20s. Those who travel in their early 20s are more likely to take chances and try new things, like eating grasshoppers in Mexico, ziplining in Africa, or dancing on a table in Ibiza.
You could even have the opportunity to make travel your career.
If you start traveling now, you could wind up making travel your full-time career, either working as a tour guide, travel agent, or something even more wildly fantastic.
You can travel alone or with a tour group.
Travelers in their 20s have flexibility to travel however they prefer. They’re independent enough to travel on their own however there are plenty of travel companies who specifically aim to create group trips for the under-30 crowd.
You can incorporate travel into your education.
Those in their 20s who are debating between a masters and a trip around the world no longer have to choose. Tuition abroad is often cheaper than options available in the U.S. — even after international fees. There are also masters programs that offer a semester or even a year abroad at a sister campus.
It’s easier to make lifelong friends.
It’s easier to meet people when you’re young. Hostels and bars often organize events to help younger travelers get to know each other. And thanks to social media, it’s easier to stay in touch with fellow travelers from all around the world.
It will define you.
Psychologists estimate that 80 percent of life’s defining experiences happen before age 35. Those who prioritize travel in their lives will find that the majority of their life’s defining experiences happened while on the road — meaning there will be great stories to tell the grandkids.