Traveling at any age and with anybody can be an amazing thing to do. However, there’s nothing quite like the unique freedom you can get by going solo traveling when you’re young.
Here are just a few of the reasons why everybody should try to travel alone before turning 30.
Do it before you have too many commitments
As you settle down into adulthood, you are inevitably going to accumulate a growing number of those annoying things called commitments. Their unifying trait is that they absorb an increasing amount of your time, money, and energy. The more commitments you gain, the more precious your free time becomes.
Another painful truth is that commitments don’t all come at once. They chip away at your time unannounced, like hungry chickens pecking at the dirt. So when commitments start building up, it can become very difficult to book a continued period of time off for yourself.
Commitments can come in all shapes and sizes. You might have built a demanding career that takes up the majority of your time. You may have a pet that requires you to stay in the country. You will almost certainly accrue an evermore cumbersome burden of bills and mortgage payments. You may even end up with the biggest drain on your time and money of all – kids.
Make the most of your free time while you still can!
Traveling on a budget can make your experience even better
Let’s face it, unless you’re lucky enough to have a lot of money behind you, you’re probably going to be pretty broke if you go traveling before you’re 30. It might sound strange, but being on a tight budget can actually result in some unexpectedly positive twists and turns in your travels. For example, the cheapest hostels and dormitories will always have a lot of other like-minded people staying there. In fact, these are probably the best places to meet people and find new traveling buddies.
When your budget is stretched, you will find yourself being forced to look for all sorts of creative ways to travel internationally such as volunteering abroad. There are many organisations that can help you to find volunteer projects abroad, for example uVolunteer, Idealist and Volunteer Match.
To save cash, you can try all sorts of tactics. One of my favorites is eaty in a cheap restaurants on the edge of town that only locals frequent. It might just turn out to have better, more authentic food than anywhere else.
Because it’s cheaper to stay off the tourist trail, you may find yourself choosing to visit a city or area of a country that most people don’t think of. It’s often the case that the lesser-known places can be the best. These areas are cheaper, there are fewer people to clog up the sites, and you can find some real hidden gems that most tourists will never see.
What better way to experience total freedom for possibly the first time in your life?
A lot of people under 30 have little concept of real freedom and how eye-opening it can be. Sure, going off to college, living alone, or going on a short foreign holiday can give you a taste, but traveling solo is another level of liberation.
Seriously, imagine the feeling of being able to go wherever you want and see anything you feel like. Want to go out on a hike in the mountains? Fine. Want to jump on a bus to a new city? Go for it, nobody’s going to stop you.
You are likely to be more open-minded
It’s an unfortunate fact that as people grow older, they will generally become more set in their ways. They become more and more accustomed to the familiar, and consequently, more and more reluctant to leave their comfort zones.
This isn’t always a bad thing, but it does mean that the chance of you setting off on the trip of a lifetime decreases with time, so don’t put it off. That wide-eyed attitude and hunger to experience new things might not last forever.
Even if you do break the mold and keep that lust for travel as you get older, the chances are you won’t be as open to some of the best elements of traveling like meeting new people every day and trying new things.
Learn to be self-reliant
Jumping on a plane alone is really throwing yourself in at the deep end. You’re going to have to climb a steep learning curve fast. While this may sound like a thoroughly unattractive prospect at first, it means you will pick up a heap of new skills in no time.
Without even realizing it, you can start to learn how to speak another language, effectively budget your limited cash, organize your time, and generally expand your repertoire of useful life skills.
It could shape the rest of your life
It’s hard to comprehend how much of an effect that traveling solo when you’re young can have on your life until you do it. But just try to imagine the sheer number of things you’ll be exposed to and have a chance to pursue for the rest of your life.
You are guaranteed to make a lot of other interesting travelers, some of whom may even become lifelong friends. It’s also not at all unlikely for people to meet their future partners while traveling. After all, travel brings people together, and sharing such profound experiences can help people to bond.
Giving yourself the chance to leave the area you grew up, and even your entire country or continent can make you never want to go back. Seeing beautiful new things and experiencing vibrant cultures can make you fall in love with a place. Many people end up living in areas they only intended to travel through briefly, or at least learn to look beyond what they know.
You may even find decide to forge a new career for yourself after seeing the various inventive ways that people make a living all over the world.
Don’t wait, the best time is now!