Traveling in your 20s is marvelous. You (probably) don't have a house or a ("real") job or a family or "real" adult responsibilities, allowing you to embrace the youthful, carefree, bohemian culture of the globe-trotting vagabond armed only with your passport, small backpack, and ample trust fund. But hindsight has its benefits, and the wisdom you get from your traveling experience is better than a bottomless bank account (I assume). All those things people say about "If only I had known this when I was 22"? Well, we collected all of that accumulated wisdom from grown-ass adults very much no longer in their 20s to present to you here, dear readers, so that you can take advantage of this knowledge from your elders to have the best post-college/pre-adult-life travel experiences EVAR.
One thing all of our over-30 travelers agreed on unanimously is that you should make like Nike and just do it, and not just because you're young and (relatively) carefree, as outlined above. It's also a great -- possibly even essential -- way to experience the people and cultures of the world outside of your personal bubble.
"You're much better off traveling when you're young and your perception of yourself and the world is still malleable," said one correspondent. "If you're lucky enough to be able to travel in your 20s, don't think twice. Career, family, and all the other trappings of adulthood can come later, and they'll be richer experiences informed by a broader worldview."
Our responders widely agreed you should embrace traveling solo. You meet new people -- and natural introverts are forced to -- and gain the ability to talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, in any situation. Friends and security-blanket acquaintances (i.e., those people you travel with to avoid solitude, ever, at all costs) can hold you back. They don’t necessarily want to do the things you want to do; they can potentially bum out your trip by being profoundly irritating; and talking only to a companion prevents those spontaneous interactions that make traveling so unexpected and delightful (even if they are just single-serving friends).
And yet! You should also travel with your closest friends, because you will have the absolute best times of your life bonding, making memories, and finding fodder for those "remember that time you did this incredibly stupid/funny/amazing thing?" reminiscences. And that might sound cheesy, but it’s a fact. My dearest friends are the ones I travel well, and often, with, and those are some of my best times ever.
And you can’t truly consider a relationship serious until you stress-test it with a trip together. "Travel with someone you plan on being with for a while,” one of our observers said. “You'll find out very quickly if you are actually going to be together for a while."
I've broken up with a few boyfriends after a vacation when it became painfully clear that things just weren't going to work out. Still had a nice enough time. But better to learn that sooner than later.