You might be wondering why a 30-year-old going on 80 feels like she knows what’s best for college students. The answer is that I have the benefit of hindsight. As much as I enjoy travel now, I know without a shadow of a doubt, that college is one of the best times in your life to travel. Here is why.
College students are more tolerant of bullshit
One thing that makes travel a whole lot cheaper is having lower standards for everything. When you’re on your own for the first time, you’re pretty much content to live in a crack den and eat microwavable meals every night. So when you travel, you don’t mind staying in a hostel dorm with 7 other people or eating whatever the local equivalent of McDonald’s is. So when I read about people that are able to spend $10 a day on accommodations in Germany or Japan, I admire that. Because at 30, staying in a shithole really kills my vibe.
But when you and five college friends take a road trip for your team’s homecoming game, you guys can all cram into a double room and sleep on the floor or in the tub and save a ton of money. That kind of thing is only okay when you’re in college, so take advantage.
There’s built-in vacation time
One of the suckier things about adulthood is finding the time to do things you want to do outside of whatever soul-sucking career you ventured into. College is the only time in your life when you will have 2-4 weeks off in the winter, 1 week in spring, and 2-3 months in the summer to do whatever the hell you want. Cherish that. You’ll miss it when you’re trying to figure out what to do with your 10 days of PTO every year.
It’s easier to travel with friends
As people join the workforce and start families, it becomes harder and harder to get together and enjoy things like vacations. People’s time off doesn’t always coincide. Everyone is saving up for important things or just had some financial emergency they’re recovering from. And if someone gets pregnant, forget it, they’re out of commission for at least 3 years. But you and all your college friends have a ridiculous amount of time off all at the same time. So use that wisely. You will never have that much time to enjoy with other people, until you’re all in nursing homes.
You have less expenses as a college student
For most people who don’t have trust funds, being broke AF is an integral part of the college experience. But I also know that living as a working adult is way more expensive. When you’re my age, you’ll be like “I’ve worked 60 hours this week, and I’m still broke as fuck. How can this be?” You have no idea how much money you save simply by staying on your parents’ health insurance until you’re 26. After that, all the money you think you’re gonna have to travel or buy nice things is gonna go toward $300/month premiums, and copays that make you question why you have insurance at all. Not to mention car payments, mortgages, taxes, children, retirement savings, and advance payment on your own burial plot.
If you work for 2 months flipping burgers during your college summers, you can afford to treat yourself to a nice getaway… well, not a “nice” getaway, but a getaway. It’s better than the alternative – spending it on video games and shitty weed.
College students have more energy
I love travel. I will probably always love travel. But I am fucking exhausted. The first trip I ever took out of the country, I went to 5 countries in a span of 16 days. If you ask me now, that sounds like a total nightmare. As the years pass you by, you lose the ability to go without sleep for 50 hours and walk 20 miles a day so you can save on train fare. When I see a group of college students at the airport with 40 pounds on their back acting like they just mainlined a double shot espresso, I wanna kill them. Because who has that much energy? The answer is everyone at 19.
Travel teaches you self-reliance
Most college students are idiots. If you think you’re not, you’re probably an even bigger idiot. At that age, everyone is somewhat coddled by their parents, their teachers, and society in general. No one expects you to be completely independent, so they generally treat you like overgrown children. A useful byproduct of traveling at that age is that you might learn something about real life. If you get a flat when you’re two states away, you can’t call your dad to come fix it. When you get pickpocketed or swindled out of your last 20 euros, it forces you to stop being so naive. It’s a pretty efficient way of learning that you need to stop being an idiot if you’re going to survive. And the sooner you learn that, the better off you’ll be.