When we think of backpacking or taking a gap year we generally think of students and young people who are setting off on their first adventure around the world – people who don’t have the cares and responsibilities of that come with later life. However, that’s not to say that there’s a limit to the age you should be when you go travelling. Is there really a perfect age to travel the world?
Of course, work and family responsibilities can come into play. It is much easier for someone who doesn’t have these kinds of pressures to simply jet off to somewhere exotic. They might, however, be limited by financial constraints. As a young person, you might not have had as much time to save up and do all the things you want to do during your trip.
In fact, more and more people are choosing to take a ‘gap year’ later in life. If you have an understanding boss who will grant you the time off work and still ensure your job will be there when you get back then great! Others are simply choosing to quit their job entirely and do the travelling they never had chance to do when they were younger. With more money and more experience in place, travelling can be a whole lot easier.
Having the money saved up also means you can actually enjoy all the places you visit without having to worry so much about being able to afford it all. Of course, that’s not to say that you need lots of money to have a good time travelling but at least it’s one less thing to worry about.
However, for some people, taking long periods of time off work simply isn’t an option particularly if you find yourself in a well-paid, highly qualified job. If you are a young person with high aspirations for your career, think about whether you can afford to put off your travel dreams. Going travelling before you settle down to focus on your career may be a better option – a few years down the line it might not be worth putting your career on hold.
Travelling can actually be an experience which will help your career prospects. It shows that you are independent and enthusiastic, especially if you work or volunteer while you’re travelling. These are all things which can stand you in good stead when you return to start your job hunt.
In conclusion, no, there isn’t necessarily a perfect age to go travelling. Certainly there are particular conditions which can make it much easier to be able to travel, such as having time and financial stability on your hands. However, the most important thing when it comes to travelling is not to have any regrets. So, whether you feel the pull of travel when you’re 21 or when you’re 61, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go for it.
Photo credit: Paula Reedyk