What is the best age to travel? Old or Young? There are pros and cons to each side of the argument. We will try to break down these arguments and choose which we think is the best time in your life to pack your bags and hit the road.
We will start the argument by talking about old versus young for broad titles as to which one is a better time to go traveling. We will then continue on by breaking down four major age groups and crossroads in one’s life where they need to make a decision on whether or not to travel or something else in their life.
How old is “old” and how young is “young”? For the sake of this article, we will say that “young” is someone who has graduated high school, they are in university, or just graduated from university. For “old”, we will say they are the people who are prepared to retire and want to travel.
The reason for this is because in that rather large middle area between the two is when most people begin their careers, buy a house, or start a family. All of which makes them give up the traveling they may want to do. Sure they can go away on two week vacations, but they don’t have the freedom of a “young” or “old” person.
Best Age to Travel
It is extremely valuable to experience as much as you can at a younger age. The older you become, the more responsibilities you have that make it harder to go traveling for as long as you want. When you are young, you may not have these responsibilities yet and this is the best chance you have to take advantage and experience the world. Go out and make mistakes (but not serious mistakes that you will regret), but learn from those mistakes. Your life is shaped by your memories, so go out there and make some good ones. See cultures first-hand and do it without having to worry about making your next mortgage payment or moving on in your career.
Being young could possibly be the best time to travel, if it wasn’t for the lack of money most young people have to spend on traveling. Often times in university you hear people say they are going to travel the world when they are finished with school before moving on in life and beginning their career. Some of them follow through with what they say, but most do not.
This happens because they find a great 9 to 5 job out of university and they take it. They think they will still have the chance to travel the world in the near future. However, this generally isn’t the case because then they buy a house which gives them more responsibility. These choices add up and it doesn’t allow people the freedom they would like to travel for an extended period of time. These decisions all come down to one thing if you think being young is the best age to travel – money.
The older you become, the more financially stable you will be (for some). This allows you to have the financial freedom to go on a lengthy trip in comparison to when you were young. Unfortunately the older you become, the more likely you are to have health problems. This makes it extremely difficult for people to travel.
If you can stay healthy, then when you retire is a great time to go on a long vacation. You may be less willing to do the things you wanted to do when you were young like hiking Mount Everest, but it is a good time to relax on the beach at your favorite resort. Depending on your traveling style, traveling when you are old may not be the best age to travel.
So what is the argument for different age groups…
We are going to start this list from when you are likely first able to travel independently both because you are able to afford to travel by yourself financially and safely.
18 to 22 years old
23 to 30 years old
31 to 60 years old
61+ years old
This is such a great age to travel. Take a year off school after high school to really unwind before you take things a little bit more seriously in university. It is an awesome idea in perhaps another lifetime.
I was not able to do this because I had a goal in mind already that I wanted to accomplish. Doing this would have gotten in the way of that goal and I knew I would be able to travel at that point. That goal was to finish university as quickly as possible to teach abroad. That is when I was going to travel.
Though I think it is a great idea to travel during these years, it is also extremely difficult to make it happen financially. You would have to be working a part time job during your high school years and being really smart with that money to bank it for a trip like this. I do not know about you, but I was not smart with my money during my high school years. I spent that money as soon as it landed in my bank account.
Traveling while going to school is even more unrealistic with all of the tuition bills coming in that need to be paid. It is hard enough to keep up with that let alone booking your plane ticket for your next trip. I did travel once during my university years, but it was the cheapest deal that I could find. I went to Cuba with a couple of buddies for one week at a three star all inclusive resort for a whopping $425 everything included. Best money spent of my university years.
As far as experiencing the world during these years, this is the greatest time to try new things and experience a new culture. Speaking for myself, I was much more willing to try new things during this time in my life than I am now. I think what I am more so trying to say is that I was much more dumber and immature back then and would have been much more willing to make a fool of myself. These days I am a little bit better.
So, 18 to 22 years of age is the best time to travel as far as experiencing the world and having it make an impact on your life, but the worst financially.
Now this is when you truly need to make a decision on what you want out of life. Are you going to go for your round the world trip right after school or try to make it in your desired career. This is where the real decision happens I feel. It is so easy to get stuck in a career that you feel you need to continue in so that you progress your way up the ladder.
Believe me, I have talked to more than enough people that have had it happen to them. They wanted to travel right after school. But, a really good offer came their way, they took it thinking that they would work there for a bit to save up the money to go traveling later, but something happened. They got that first promotion and it felt so good to be acknowledged for something you did.
Not only that, but you were promised another promotion a year or two down the road which would really take you to the next level in your career. This is where things really start to get difficult and you find yourself stuck at this job for the unforeseen future. I mean, how can you turn down that pension? All it takes is twenty-five years at the same company.
No thanks. Not for me. Not the route I took. Instead, after university I went to South Korea to teach English. Best decision of my life. Not only did I get to see another part of the world, I got paid to do so, and I met Natalie.
This is the crossroads time in your life. The decision as to whether or not to make travel part of your lifestyle now. Or, you can always plan for a travel filled retirement while taking advantage of your two week vacations during the year.
Now it is time to stick with the decision you made during the last five years of your life and see it through to the end. Or, make a major change in your life towards the path you think you were supposed to be on. Either way, another crossroad that you must face. An even more difficult crossroad that you need to face.
Because now you really need to start getting serious about saving for retirement. Being able to save that kind of money means having and keeping a serious big boy or girl job with a steady income. This age also means the possibility of kids. Having kids also means a lesser chance to travel unless you have someone that you can leave them at home with or take them with you for an even heftier price tag.
This is the time in your life where life gets real. It is a difficult decision you need to make, which makes this age range an extremely difficult time to travel.
The greatest time to travel. As long as your cards were played right in the past 60 years of your life. If you saved enough for retirement and to have the type of life that you want to have in retirement, including the travel lifestyle, then you are laughing. Book those trips and have the care-free time of your life.
As long as your health is good. As long as the health of your partner is good. As long as the health of your kids are good. As long as you do not have to help take care of the grandchildren. Still so many factors to consider. And these ones are even more out of your control.
Yes, you can take the steps to properly prepare for your retirement. Saving the right amounts of money each pay period. But you never know what could happen to your investments.
Yes, you could take really good care of your health each and every day. But there are some illnesses that do not care about this.
Yes, you could have had the best children in the world and raised them properly. But even they may need help with their kids.
So much time to travel in your retirement, yet so many factors that could be against you.
When I first sat down to start this article, I did not quite know when is the best age to travel. I always thought that the earlier the better and I made choices in my life to reflect that. However, I have also always envied people who are retired and get to see the world on their own time as much as they want.
Still, we believe the best age to travel is early on in your life. Before, after, or during university is the best time in your life to make memories that will last the rest of your life. It is the perfect time to make mistakes and experience the world. Your travels and how you deal with adversity will help shape you into the person you will become.
What do you think is the best age to travel? Leave a comment below to tell us what you think and what decisions you have made in your life to plan for that travel.
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