Over the years, I have met my fair share of young travelers. We have bonded, shared stories, and discussed how we were each able to travel so young. Out of all those I have met, I have yet to meet one who is wealthy enough to travel without care.
I think this proves that there is a growing realization that traveling is not (and never was) for the rich. It has always been for the curious.
I’ve jotted down some notes here and there, of what I’ve had in common with other adventurers, what they did that I realized I should adapt to, and how many of them manage to balance a full-time job or schooling.
Here are a few noteworthy travel concepts I have compiled:
We question every purchase
Is the hamburger worth it? What about that t-shirt? Would we rather spend $10 now or in Norway? Do we really need the newest iPhone? How about that cliché coffee mug with “wanderlust” written in cursive?
We work 2-3 jobs
We fund our travel with our money and don’t rely on someone else to carry us through. Knowing the hard work funded your exploration is way better than getting it handed to you. We go to school full time and work full time, or we work full-time and then work some more. I’d love to tell you travel is free, and although you don’t need much money to do it, you do need some.
We love the journey
Many time more than the destination.
We don’t go out for drinks (except in cool places)
Drink are expensive and frankly a waste of money. A bottle of beer can cost over half of what an entire 6-pack is worth at a store. We save our drink money to spend at a bar in a mountain town near the Alps, not the local Irish Pub.
And we don’t buy expensive coffee
Tasty? Hell yeah. Waste of money? Hell yeah.
We know how to research
When we aren’t at school, or working, or studying, or debating whether to be a hobo; we research. Frankly, there is very little free time in the world for a college student to travel or adventure travel. Deals rarely pop up right before your eyes, and it takes some digging to make anything look remotely affordable.
We enjoy the little things
A sunset over a field, a nice warm fire, a good ice cream cone.
As college students, we don’t take out student loans for travel
AKA “A horrible idea that will leave you drowning in debt 5 years from now.”
We are frugal
Money is valuable (shocker), so treat it as such. Coupons, discounts, dollar stores, etc.
We don’t buy fancy gear
Sometimes price and quality are not equally balanced. Before going to Iceland I needed a raincoat and the cheapest I could find from a name-brand was $60. That was until I stumbled upon a humble off-brand selling one for $20. Score.
We embrace nature Hiking is free, mountains are free, oceans are free, forests are free, bouldering is free, cliffs are free, caves are free, and the experiences are free. Nature isn’t only cheap, but it teaches you a thing or two about life and materialism.
We enjoy meeting new people
It’s learning life stories and respecting their journey. We learn real travelers are not concerned with being the best, going the furthest, or seeing the most. It’s about doing what makes us smile the biggest. We all had to jump at some point, and we can all understand that feeling.
We throw Paris out the window
Along with Miami, London, Los Angeles, Milan, and every other annoyingly expensive city. Buh-bye.
We realize less is more
You can spend a lot of money in one weekend (hotel, spa treatment, nice dinners), or little money on a lot of weekends (camping, shitty coffee, Little Caesar’s Hot-N-Ready’s).
We understand that it is important
In blunt honesty, travel is the only thing that can save the world. Not because it’s a soul-searching-hippie-meditating-Instagram-jealousy journey. When we travel we learn to understand different cultures, accept other’s values, and understand that not everything or everyone is the same. When we are together, we talk of the silliness of news channels, the sadness of misguided society, and the hope for a future of explorers.