Is Travel Worth It In Your 20s?

by Martin

Is it worth it to travel in your twenties?

While cramming for exams I have been able to read a few posts here and there. A post that caught my eye (due to the topic) was about discussing whether travel was worth it over at Man Vs Debt.

Do I think travel is worth it in your 20s? For me personally I think it is. However, it isn’t for every twenty-something.

Why travel is worth it in your twenties?

Income flexibility.

When your monthly overhead costs are fairly low (cell phone, gym, insurance, when you live at home) you have an amazing opportunity to go away for extended periods of time without much of an income. If you manage to build up your passive income you will experience the luxury of money coming in while you travel.

When else can you have this much financial freedom to pack up and travel?

No family.

Most of us don’t have children of our own yet. Hell, most of us don’t have much responsibility at all.

Sure you can travel when you have a family but how wild can it be? Take advantage of your lack of real responsibility and go somewhere you’ve always wanted to see.

Perfect time.

The timing to travel in your 20s could be perfect. You could have down time in between jobs, you can have a few weeks of vacation time saved up at work, or you can be experiencing a slow seasonal period with your small business. These “down periods” can be used to travel. Even if you can only squeeze in a week in the winter, it still allows you to escape the bitter cold and try something new.

Easy to plan.

Aside from trying to collect money from broke friends that want to travel with you, the planning is fairly simple. With the emergence of sites like Trip Advisor and Couch Surfing, you can find any information (from wildest clubs to nicest beaches) on traveling that your heart desires.

When travel is not such a hot idea:

I would highly advise you take care of the following areas before getting into travel.

Have a retirement account setup.

You don’t want to make the mistake of waiting until your thirties to start saving for your retirement. I know saving for retirement is boring, but you need to ask yourself, “how long do I plan on working for?” If you want to retire in your 50s then you likely should start saving for retirement ASAP.

Have some minor accomplishments under your belt.

This could include anything from a profitable side business to a Master’s Degree in your chosen field or plenty of work experience. Make sure you don’t decide to get away for a few months before you have reached some of the goals you have set for yourself.

Watch your debt.

Obviously you won’t be able to pay off your debt as soon as you graduate from college. With that being said, just because you have debt it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your life. You should strive to be confident with your road to debt repayment before you decide to spend money on traveling. Once you have a plan in place for tackling your debt, you can spend a little bit of money on travel. Traveling is fun, but the burden of carrying massive amounts of fun can really shift your focus away from having a good time.

Is traveling the world worth the money in college?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Craig

It is worth it. Right after graduation I backpacked the middle east for 3 and a half weeks. I recently just went to the jungle in Guyana for a survival trip. Things I never would be able to do at a future point in time. Travel as much as you can when young.

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2 youngandthrifty

It is 100% worth it. I have a friend who is leaving for six months (on her second six month trip) to Asia and I am jealous. You won’t be experiencing the places that you want to experience the same as when you are middle aged. All the adventure traveling stuff- get that down first. You learn so much from traveling, nothing that can be replicated in a book or a course in school. And when you have kids, it’ll be 10x more difficult to travel.

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3 Austin

If you’re drowning in consumer debt I wouldn’t be zooming around the globe every other weekend, but for the majority of students it’s worth it.

My best memories are of great vacations/road trips and it’s almost always money well spent.

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4 thomas

One thing I regret not doing is travelling throughout my school years.

Lets remember that when we are in college, it is the gateway into the real, so why not have as many experiences as possible.
Plus it works wonders for your resume and career.
And, lets not forget that you can actually afford to travel since your responsibility are very little.

I look at it this way, unless you are ready to settle down, then don’t travel but if you haven’t lived life to the fullest, go travel.

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5 Brian

Travel as often as you can and never have a blank passport. I have driven across the country (twice) and met so many people who have never left their state/town/county. To me thats sad because the U.S. is huge and its only a small part of the world. There is so much to see and experience. Every year I plan a trip to somewhere, be it abroad or domestic, and I go with no expectations other than to have an experience and enjoy every moment of it.

I have been to Auckland, Sydney, Edinburgh, Cabos, Acapulco, San Diego, and Las Vegas all in the past 10 years (I’m only 29). Set a destination and go to it. This year’s destination is Paris for the second time (I went in high school) to really appreciate the country.

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6 Second Chance

Doing it when you are young is the best time. You have the most energy to see things, and you are generally curious and more willing to try new things. Traveling will generally take you out of your comfort zone, and this is easier to accept at a young age before you get into the routine and normality of adult/family life. Most importantly, experiencing new cultures, meeting new people and trying new things does a lot to shape who you are and what you want to do in life both professionally and personally. Not to say that all these these can’t be achieved if you travel later in life, but it is important to learn these things early so you can live with them for a longer stretch of your life.

As soon as I finished undergrad, I jumped into corporate America because I wanted to make money. I always regretted not taking time off for this type of experience. Fortunately, I never lost site of this desire, and I did a good job of saving up money. After I completed grad school (which I was attending part time while working), I decided to change careers and took advantage of that transition period by traveling for 3.5 months to the Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. I experienced some wonderful things and met some amazing people along the way. Unforgettable experience which I think has changed my perspective on life and long term goals.

Fortunately, I was able to save up for this type of trip so it was easier on me financially. I wouldn’t recommend putting yourself into major date to take a trip like this, so plan for it. Make sure you save money, make sure you can put your things in storage you don’t have to pay rent/mortgage, make sure you budget and understand your limits financially. It can get expensive if you do all the things that you want to do, but in my opinion it is worth every penny.

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