Young travelers

More people should travel in general, but young people in particular should take a day to vacation or even stay-cation.


Image courtesy of Ella De Young '23

A humid, cloudy day in Grenada is made much better by the view from this cliff. This cliff is actually well-known throughout the small island of Grenada because decades ago, native people fighting for their rights against British colonial powers jumped off this cliff to their deaths as a sign of protest.

The sun shines on your face, while your feet sink into the squishy sand. You look ahead to see glistening waves crashing. All you can do is smile as you’re finally getting a break from the stresses of life at home.

Travel is an escape from everyday life. Everyone, no matter what their age, should be able to experience the joys of travel.

As the world makes more progress in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming more safe to travel again and with summer approaching fast, it is time for people to start planning future trips.

Traveling benefits young people. There needs to be more opportunities made available for young people to travel.

Traveling at a young age helps build confidence because it allows you to get out of your comfort zone and experience something new and unexpected. You learn how to overcome obstacles in unfamiliar situations.

I’ve had the amazing opportunity to travel from the young age of only three months old. I’ve been to 14 countries so far, ranging from New Zealand to Guatemala to Belgium.

I have always been the happiest when I’m traveling. Whether I’m trenching through knee-deep water in a bat cave in Panama or driving on the side of a cliff on the opposite side of the road in Grenada, there’s an unshifting smile etched onto my face.

I have always been the happiest when I’m traveling.”

— Ella De Young '23

I’ve gained confidence and important life skills through my travels. Having to interact with people that speak a different language to navigate my family and I to our destination has tested my brain power in a way that is not possible in Iowa City.

When in a foreign location with unfamiliar people surrounding you, it’s difficult to know who to trust and who not to trust. I’ve learned that the people that come at you at an airport and are overly polite and pushy are not the people you want driving you to your hotel. 

It’s important to look over the taxi cab drivers crowding you to find a driver that has stayed by their car unless you want to get scammed. That’s not being taught to students in school!

You’ll acquire cultural sensitivity from an early age. Being aware and developing a kind perspective about cultures different from your own is a skill that all people need to have and forming it early on in life will make interactions with all people easier.

Colorful celebrations with people dancing around in extravagant costumes and masks/face paint is a common occurrence that I saw in Peru. They are fun events to watch and at the same time, you become aware of what is respectful as a tourist and viewer of these parties.

The younger you are when you travel, the easier it is to catch on and understand a second language. With knowledge, comprehension, and fluency in another language, more job opportunities instantly become available to you.

With globalization taking the world by storm, in almost every industry these days there is international communication in which translators and interpreters are needed. If you’ve developed language skills by traveling or studying abroad, you’ve already got an advantage over your competitors for any job position.

It only takes one day in a Spanish-speaking country and I already recognize my language skills improving. Native speakers of Spanish don’t slow down their speech for tourists, so you’re having to pick up and piece together as many words as possible. It’s a fun, useful challenge!

Travel, especially international travel, is quite expensive. But, if young people work on money management and saving money, or taking advantage of study abroad opportunities offered by their school, the expenses of travel aren’t so great.

Stay-cations can be a memorable alternative form of vacationing as well. You can take a spa day DIY-style or organize a family baking competition.

Travel also takes time and planning, but if you commit to your plans and know that you’re going to have to take time away from your everyday life, traveling shouldn’t be stressful. It will only be relaxing.

Travel is amazing and beneficial for any human being, but especially a young person. 

There are lots of expenses that a parent has to cover to properly take care of their children, but parents should try to set aside some extra money each year for their family to take a trip, whether that be mentally through a stay-cation or physically through traveling. Taking vacations (or stay-cations) as a family allows for the strengthening of family bonds.

Schools need to offer more study abroad programs and travel opportunities for students. Even if it’s just a quick trip from Iowa City to explore Des Moines or Chicago, students can learn lots and make memories that are sure to last a lifetime.