5 Steps to Become an Expert Traveler at Any Age
Travel and adventure aren’t age specific.
Contrary to what some might say, it isn’t just for the young backpacker or college graduate. While they tend to make up the majority of individuals exploring the world, that doesn’t make it an activity exclusively for 20-somethings.
In fact, you can start experiencing the many amazing things this world has to offer and get into traveling at any age – and there are plenty of reasons to do so.
All you need right now is to get your hands on some of the best travel hacks out there and have a bit of an idea of what to expect from the unknown adventure.
1. Think about what kind of travel experience you’re looking for
Some individuals rarely travel because they aren’t really sure where to start looking, or what it is they want out of a travel experience. One of the most rewarding things about travel is the fact that you will have the opportunity to witness life from the perspective of someone different than you.
Where you will go will ultimately depend on several factors (time, budget, environment, culture, etc.) and once you narrow these down, the momentum will move you into planning and ticket purchase.
You’re already on your way!
2. Get your departure and packing rhythm down.
Maybe the most intimidating part of traveling is organizing the actual travel part. No matter what mode of transportation you choose for your first (or next) trip, if you develop and adopt a travel ritual you’ll begin each excursion feeling prepared and ready for what will be thrown at you.
For example, if you’re heading to the airport, make sure you find the perfect carry-on to suit your needs and all airline requirements (I stress all because depending on what carrier you are flying, these can vary, so look for one that is universal). You can even master the art of travel early on if you learn some quick and simple airport hacks. Possibly one of the best, is the option of TSA Pre-check, which speeds up and simplifies your trip through security – the worst part of flying.
3. Be open to new things
Your first trip can be a bit scary – all of the unknown and unexpected. In fact, a 2012 study showed that only five percent of the American population traveled abroad, an insanely small number of its 311 million citizens.
Don’t let fear and anxiety make you a part of that statistic. Instead, take a step back and look at the unknown from a different perspective. It gives you an opportunity to learn and experience brand new things, make connections and meet new people, and ultimately make you a better person.
4. Embrace the idea of self-discovery and growth
Another discovery you will find once you start traveling is that you will begin to learn a whole lot about yourself. This will also be a bit intimidating – especially if you do some solo travel, which I highly recommend.
While it is a bit scary being with only yourself, you’ll begin to grow and change in ways that you never even believed possible.
Being vulnerable to others is hard, being vulnerable to yourself takes even more courage, and traveling can unlock that for you at any age.
5. Connect with people.
Travel not only makes you more generous with yourself, but it allows you to make connections with people easier. This might be difficult for you to do at first, but adjusting won’t take very long. Once you begin traveling, you’ll soon discover that the people you meet on the road are fundamentally the same as you are, and those parallels and similarities will pave the way for both of you to reach new understandings.
It is a seriously beautiful thing to be a part of and witness, and it is almost a guarantee that once you have had a taste of the experience – the beauty of wanderlust and friends in new places – you won’t ever be able to stop. Travel is addicting in the best way. It breaks down barriers and prejudices. It builds empathy and compassion.
In many ways, the best decision that you can make in order to help this world become a better place, is to travel. It isn’t difficult to do. Truly. It may take you a bit to get moving in the beginning, because beginning anything is always the hardest part. But the inertia will keep you moving, and you will find that you don’t want to stop.
Remember, it is never too late dive right in to travel. Once you take the plunge into becoming an expert wanderer, you will be able to share yourself and your experiences with those around you, and who knows, maybe you’ll never want to come back.