If you’re in your twenties, you may feel that there a lot of unsettled variables in your life. Maybe you just graduated college and are still looking for that first job that will set you on the path to accomplishing your career goals. Maybe you’re living on your own for the first time and trying to manage your finances while paying off student loans. Most likely, you’re experiencing a combination of these things as you experience your first taste of true independence- it can be both exhilarating and exhausting.
With so many new responsibilities in your basket, you may feel that you missed your opportunity if you didn’t get the chance to study abroad in college. You’ve surely read articles or been told from others that you should travel abroad while you’re young before being tied down by even more obligations like marriage, kids, and a mortgage. I may not be the first to argue the merits of traveling abroad in your twenties, but I hope that I can be the one who spurs you into action. Here are my top three reasons for why traveling abroad should be a top consideration for anyone in their twenties with the finances to make it happen.
It solidifies friendships
While there is something to be said for traveling solo and “finding yourself” in new places, so to speak, if you have an opportunity to travel abroad with close friends, you should take it. It’s been said that the friendships you form as a young adult, most likely in college, are the ones that will last the longest. It can be difficult to keep in touch with your college friends once everyone goes their separate ways, so use an international vacation as an opportunity to bring everyone together, make memories, and solidify your relationships.
It teaches financial responsibility
There will probably never be another time in your life, after your twenties, where you have the same amount of financial freedom. Even if you’re not making a lot of money early on in your career, if you’re smart about your finances, cutting out extraneous expenses like coffee and lunches out, and allocating 10-15% of your paychecks to cover the cost of the trip, you can afford to take full advantage of this time of financial flexibility.
On the other hand, being in a situation where you will inevitably be putting out a lot of money trains you to be prudent about your finances. You will quickly realize how easy it is to burn through your hard-earned cash, so investing in a trip abroad will help you appreciate the value of your money and the experiences that money alone can’t buy.
It broadens your perception of the world
The most obvious reason for traveling abroad, at any time in your life, is to see new places! You simply won’t have the same perception of the world staying in your hometown your whole life and reading about the diversity of places and cultures in the world as you will getting out and experiencing them for yourself. Traveling abroad allows you to learn about, experience, and engage with new cultures, opening up your understanding of the world beyond your own little corner of the universe.
If you’ve read this and are still not convinced that traveling abroad in your twenties is the right choice for you, it may be time to take a hard look at your finances and just take a chance. You never know when you may get that chance again and if you’ll reach a point, later in life, when you’ll look back and think, “What if?”