Both parents and teens alike often find the idea of teenagers traveling abroad daunting and sometimes even scary! It’s easy to let these fears hold us back and prevent us from seeing all of the awesome ways that overseas teen travel can transform teens into amazing young people. These reasons for teens to travel abroad are learned by everyone in their own individual way, providing teens of all ages with invaluable experiences that will last a lifetime.
Travelling is important for youth because it teaches meaningful life skills, provides an opportunity to meet new people, facilitates cultural appreciation on a deeper level, and teaches the ability to adapt to new environments. Travel is a fantastic way of gaining these unique experiences, and developing youth into more well-rounded citizens, all while having fun along the way! Here are 5 reasons why traveling is important for youth and the benefits of overseas travel for teens:
1. Learn how to save and budget money
This is such a basic principle of life that everyone starts to learn from a young age, but nothing shows true deferred gratification like saving up all school year for an epic trip throughout Europe that you can proudly say that you paid for partially or even all on your own. And once on that trip, it feels even better to be able to budget your money accordingly so that you can enjoy the little things like gelato on a hot day in Rome or bring back lavender soaps from France for your mom at the end of your trip.
2. Ability to make an itinerary
Whether you are joining an existing itinerary or planning your own from scratch, nothing is ever completely set in stone. Everyone will learn this when traveling abroad. No exceptions! Itineraries are just as alive as the places that you will visit and this will reflect upon your travels no matter where you venture next. Maybe you are planning an epic trip to Thailand or joining up with other teen travelers in Peru, but no matter where you go, embrace the power to make and change your itinerary so that you can have the best experience possible.
3. Problem-solving skills
Just when you think that you have planned the perfect budget and the itinerary of champions…BOOM! Everything might not stay so perfect…and that’s okay! International travel wouldn’t be complete without the occasional bump in the road. Dealing with problems like pouring rain when the forecast predicted sun for your bike tour through Amsterdam or your sandal breaking as you descend the Acropolis (good thing we told you about the Poet Sandal Maker!) will make you a savvy problem-solver as you work through your predicaments proactively and positively rather than allowing them to spoil your trip.
4. Become an independent and responsible young person
When you’re overseas with family and friends, it’s super easy to follow their lead and let others take care of things like tickets, transportation, meals, itineraries, etc. The list goes on and on. Traveling on your own or with a group without the familiarity of people from home means that you need to take more responsibility of your own actions, as well as look out for those who are with you. This means that you need to show up prepared, make the effort to participate, and be accountable throughout the trip.
5. Break stereotypes and experience new cultures
It is a sad truth that people are so quick to believe stereotypes about other countries and their cultures, especially the negative ones. This is true of Americans and their views of overseas destinations and unfortunately, other countries can have negative perceptions of Americans. When you travel overseas, you have the opportunity to break this often vicious cycle. Show the people of London that Americans aren’t loud or obnoxious, but are curious and excited about life! Show the people of Japan that you are polite and eager to learn about their culture. Conversely, teach your friends and family back home about the people and their cultures that you have learned about. Instill in them the same curiosity about differences and appreciation of similarities across cultures that they might have never thought to consider. Keep an open mind and an open heart and never stop sharing everything that it means to be a global citizen.