Traveling as a young adult can be one of the most exhilarating experiences in life. Whether you’re embarking on a gap year, backpacking through Europe, or exploring your own country, travel can broaden your horizons, expose you to new cultures, and help you develop independence and resilience.
However, traveling also comes with its own set of challenges, from budget constraints and language barriers to safety concerns and cultural differences.
To help you make the most of your travel experience, here are 20 travel tips for young adults:
Planning ahead is crucial when it comes to travel, especially if you’re on a tight budget or have limited time. Research your destination, including visa requirements, weather, local customs, and recommended vaccinations. Book your accommodation and transportation in advance, and create a rough itinerary that allows for flexibility and spontaneity.
Part of planning ahead is to book your accommodation way before your trip. Booking accommodation in advance can help you save money and ensure you have a place to stay when you arrive. Use websites like Booking.com, Hostelworld, or Airbnb to find affordable and safe options. Consider the location, amenities, and reviews when choosing your accommodation.
Packing light is one of the most important skills for any traveler, as it can save you time, money, and stress. Choose versatile clothing and shoes that can be mixed and matched, and consider using packing cubes or compression bags to maximize space. Leave unnecessary items at home, and pack only the essentials.
Staying safe is a top priority when you’re traveling, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar environment. Typically, young adults will choose locations known to be safe for travel, but sometimes remote work may take you to areas you are unsure of.
Be aware of your surroundings, avoid dangerous areas or situations, and carry your valuables close to your body. Consider purchasing a money belt or neck pouch to secure your cash, passport, and credit cards.
If travelers feel that they are in trouble while traveling, they should immediately reach out to local authorities, such as the police or emergency services, for help. It’s important to research the emergency contact numbers for the country or region you are traveling to before you depart so that you can quickly access help if needed.
In addition, travelers can also reach out to their country’s embassy or consulate in the destination country for assistance. Embassies and consulates can provide a range of services to citizens traveling abroad, such as emergency travel documents, assistance with medical or legal issues, and information on local resources and services.
Young adults from the United States can always find an embassy near them.
It’s also a good idea for travelers to stay in contact with their friends and family back home while traveling and to share their travel plans and itinerary with someone they trust. This way, if something goes wrong, someone back home will know where they are and can help to alert authorities or provide assistance.
Being flexible is key to enjoying your travel experience, as unexpected delays, changes, and challenges are bound to arise. Embrace the unknown, be open to new experiences, and adjust your plans accordingly. Consider using travel apps like Skyscanner or Google Maps to help you navigate through places when lost and try to stay organized.
Learn the local language
Learning the local language is a great way to connect with the local culture and people and can also make your travel experience smoother and more enjoyable. Learn some basic phrases and vocabulary, and practice speaking with locals whenever possible. Consider using language-learning apps like Duolingo or Babbel to improve your skills.
Take care of your health
Taking care of your health is important when you’re traveling, as changes in climate, food, and lifestyle can affect your physical and mental well-being. Stay hydrated, eat nutritious food, and get enough sleep. Carry a basic first-aid kit with essential medications and supplies, and consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical emergencies.
Be respectful of the local culture
Being respectful of the local culture is essential when you’re traveling, as it shows that you value and appreciate the local customs, traditions, and people. Research the local etiquette, dress appropriately, and avoid behaviors that may be considered offensive or disrespectful. Consider participating in local cultural events or volunteering with a local organization.
Ranking on top of the list in my travel tips for young adults is to control your spending. When you are traveling, it is easy to forget what you can afford, as you will run into many nice things and what seem to be necessities. But budgeting wisely is important when you’re traveling, especially if you’re on a limited budget. Create a daily or weekly budget, including accommodation, transportation, food, activities, and emergencies, and stick to it as much as possible. Look for deals and discounts, and consider using a travel rewards credit card to earn points or miles.
Connect with locals
Connecting with locals is a great way to gain insider knowledge, make new friends, and experience the local culture in a more authentic way. Strike up conversations with locals at cafes, bars, or markets, or consider participating in a homestay or cultural exchange program. Use social media or travel apps to connect with locals before you arrive.
Keep an open mind
Keeping an open mind is crucial to any travel experience, as it allows you to embrace new perspectives and overcome cultural barriers. Be open to different ways of thinking, eating, and living, and avoid judging or stereotyping others. Travel with an open heart and mind, and you may discover a new world of possibilities.
Use public transportation
Public transportation is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to get around when traveling, especially in urban areas. Use local buses, trains, or subways to explore your destination, and consider purchasing a multi-day pass or city card that offers discounts and perks. Use transportation apps like Citymapper or Moovit to navigate the local transportation system.
If you particularly love travel and plan to stay in the United States, check out this post, I wrote earlier on the 11 Fun vacation spots for Young Adults in the United States.
Staying connected with family and friends is important when you’re traveling, as it can provide emotional support and reassurance. Use messaging apps like WhatsApp or Signal to stay in touch with loved ones, and consider purchasing a local SIM card or a portable Wi-Fi device to stay connected on the go. Use social media or travel apps to share your travel experiences with others.
Staying hydrated is crucial when you’re traveling, as it can help you avoid dehydration, fatigue, and jet lag. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially in hot or dry climates, and avoid drinking tap water in areas with poor water quality. Carry a refillable water bottle or hydration pack to stay hydrated on the go.
Be mindful of your environmental impact
Being mindful of your environmental impact is important when you’re traveling, as it can help preserve your destination’s natural beauty and resources. Avoid using single-use plastics, recycle whenever possible, and use eco-friendly products like biodegradable toiletries or reusable shopping bags. Consider participating in eco-tourism or volunteering with a local environmental organization.
Get off the beaten path
My favorite of the travel tips for young adults is to encourage exploration. Getting off the beaten path is a great way to discover hidden gems and authentic experiences. Explore neighborhoods or towns that are less touristy, and visit local markets, parks, or museums. Consider taking a walking or bike tour to get a local’s perspective on the destination.
Staying active is important when you’re traveling, both for your physical and mental health. Go for a run or walk in a local park or along a scenic trail, or take a yoga or fitness class. Consider renting a bike or participating in outdoor activities like hiking, swimming, or kayaking.
Taking breaks is important when you’re traveling, as it allows you to rest, recharge, and reflect on your experiences. Take a day off from sightseeing, spend a few hours reading or relaxing in a park or cafe, or take a short nap during the day. Listen to your body and mind, and take care of yourself.
Keep a travel journal
Keeping a travel journal is a great way to document your travel experiences, reflect on your emotions and thoughts, and create a lasting memory of your trip. Write down your daily activities, take notes on interesting sights or sounds, and include photos or drawings to illustrate your journey. Use a notebook, app, or blog to create your travel journal.
Embrace local cuisine
Embracing local cuisine is one of the most enjoyable aspects of travel, as it allows you to taste and savor your destination’s unique flavors and ingredients. Try local street food, visit local markets or food halls, and take a cooking class or food tour to learn more about the local cuisine. Be adventurous and open-minded, and you may discover a new favorite dish.
Take care of your belongings
Taking care of your belongings is important when you’re traveling, as losing or damaging your valuables can ruin your trip. Keep your valuables in a safe place, like a hotel safe or a locker, and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or expensive items. Use luggage locks, anti-theft backpacks, or RFID-blocking wallets to keep your belongings secure.
Staying active is important when you’re traveling, as it can help you stay energized, healthy, and focused. Walk or bike instead of taking a taxi or bus, take a yoga or fitness class, or go for a hike or swim. Use fitness apps or travel guides to find local activities or workouts.
Be prepared for emergencies
Being prepared for emergencies is crucial when you’re traveling. Purchase travel insurance that covers medical emergencies, theft, or trip cancellations, and keep a first-aid kit with essential medications and supplies. Research the location of hospitals or clinics, and carry a list of emergency contacts.
Reflect on your experiences
Reflecting on your experiences is important when you’re traveling. Take time to process your thoughts and feelings, and write down your reflections or lessons learned. Consider volunteering or giving back to the community, or starting a travel blog or vlog to share your experiences with others.
If you choose to travel as part of your career, see this post on 13 Best Traveling Jobs for Young Adults.
Take plenty of photos
Taking plenty of photos is a great way to capture and share your travel memories with others. Use a good quality camera or your smartphone to take photos of the places you visit, the people you meet, and the food you try. Consider creating a travel journal or blog to document your experiences and reflect on your journey.
Having fun is the ultimate goal of any travel experience, as it allows you to create lasting memories and enjoy your trip to the fullest. Don’t take yourself too seriously, be spontaneous, and embrace the unexpected. Try new things, meet new people, and have fun!
A Few Final Words
In conclusion, traveling as a young adult can be a transformative and rewarding experience but it also requires careful planning, preparation, and flexibility. By following these 20 travel tips, you can make the most of your trip, stay safe and healthy, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy travels!