Getting away from home and seeing exciting new things, having fascinating new experiences, and meeting a vast array of different people can have an enormously positive and lasting effect on not just you, but the others you encounter along the way.
Now, it’s fine to travel at any point in your life. There are plenty of people in their 70s, 80s or even older who enjoy traveling. However, this is inevitably going to be a different experience to what somebody in their teens or 20s is going to have.
When you’re young, you can take full advantage of the fact you have more freedom, your physical health, and the fact that the lessons you learn will benefit you for the rest of your life.
So, here are a few of the top reasons that I think everybody should do everything they can to try to travel while they’re young.
It doesn’t have to be scary
A lot of people have put off the idea of travel entirely because it scares them. And it’s reasonable to be scared of taking a leap into the unknown if you’re young and haven’t got a great deal of life experience. You may not have spent a lot of time away from your home and family before or met very few people from different cultures.
However, regardless of how daunting you find the prospect of jetting off and living from a backpack, I think everybody has an adventurous spirit deep down, and that it should be indulged.
There are many ways to make travel less intimidating, such as joining an organized tour group, traveling with a friend or partner, or volunteering. The list goes on.
Broaden your mind
It’s an old cliche, but I do honestly feel that travel broadens the mind, in so many different ways. For example, visiting countries where people live in a vastly different way to those in your home country can teach you an enormous amount about acceptance and appreciate the cultures of others.
Traveling to countries where poverty is prevalent can also teach you a lot about how you view money and material items. Many people come back from an enlightening trip with a completely different outlook on their careers and attachments to expensive things. They are often far more appreciative of their lives than they were before they left.
Overall, being exposed to so many different cultures and experiences seems to help people become more well-rounded, perhaps understanding themselves and the world a little better. By making sure you gain this life experience while you’re young, you can apply it to the decisions you make throughout the rest of your life, and it will have a greater positive effect.
Meet all kinds of interesting people
This is one of the most amazing benefits of travel. Back home, you are usually quite limited to the number and type of people that you can meet. On the road, however, there is a virtually endless supply of people from different countries and walks of life - not just locals but also other travelers.
Getting to know so many different people is always a massively eye-opening experience and it’s not at all uncommon for people to build lifelong friendships with people they meet traveling.
See new, exciting things every day
The feeling of waking up every day knowing that you’re going to have a fresh, exciting experience that you’ve never had before is hard to beat.
Imagine how exciting your life is when you have so much to see and do every day, compared to the drudgery and repetitiveness of life at home.
Even on a short trip, you can cram in a huge amount of new experiences that will stay with you forever.
It can be a lot more affordable than you think
Many people write off the idea of traveling due to the perceived expense - especially young people who may not have had a chance to build up a lot of savings. However, the more you look into it, the more you’ll realize that traveling is actually probably a lot cheaper than you expect.
Of course, if you’re insistent on staying in luxury hotels, getting taxis everywhere, and dining out every day then you might need an enormous budget. But where’s the fun in that anyway? If you’re willing to be smart about the way you travel, you can get by on very little.
Some brief examples of ways to save a lot of money are things like staying in dormitories, self-catering, hitch-hiking, traveling and sharing accommodation with others, volunteering, or getting a job abroad.
Countless people have traveled for years on budgets that you would scarcely believe, you just need to think a bit differently about your approach.
It can give you the opportunity to make a difference
What good is it going to countries and meeting people with less than you if you aren’t able to give something back?
Well, a great way to do this while still getting all the benefits of traveling, and more, is to become a volunteer. For example, if you want to see Southeast Asia and give something back, why not try being a volunteer in Thailand?
Not only do you get the chance to help a good cause of your choosing, you also get to meet other travelers and local communities, you get an authentic insight into a country’s culture, you can save money, and you get to explore a new destination.
Don’t wait to get out there and travel
While you’re never really too old to travel, I believe the earlier you get out there and do it, the better.
So what are you waiting for? Travel now while you’re young to get the most you can from it, and make a positive impact on the world.