So, you want to plan your first trip on your own. Where do you start? Pick a destination and then plan, plan, plan! Here are some travel tips for young adults to help make the process of traveling easier.
Plan and book your next trip with AAA Travel. Our expert travel advisors will be happy to assist you each step of the way.
Saving for Vacation
There are plenty of saving tips and hacks out there, but you have to be realistic about what will work for you personally. If you have a hard time saving money, try using a budgeting app or putting your money into a savings account like a CD that you can only draw from at certain times. Make an appointment at your bank and discuss your finance goals with a bank manager.
Shop deals and sales pre-trip. A lot of essentials like flip-flops and Band-Aids that you can find at a dollar store are double the price (or more!) in tourist destinations, so plan wisely to avoid overspending at the gift shop on items you forgot.
Consider where you’ll be visiting and make a list of all the possible travel necessities you may need to pack for your specific trip. Heading to a theme park? You’re going to need sunscreen and comfortable walking shoes. If you’re visiting a national park and plan to do a lot of hiking, you may want to spare yourself the blisters and invest in a good pair of hiking boots.
A great travel tip for young adults looking to save money is to take inventory and use what you already have. Especially if you plan to carry-on, pouring shampoos, conditioners and other toiletries you have at home into the containers of a TSA-approved travel kit, could be more economical than spending on a bunch of travel-sized items.
AAA Northeast Travel Advisor Emily Sgorbati has another savings tip for young travelers: “Instead of grabbing takeout or eating at a restaurant, put aside the money you would have spent and think about all the new foods you’d like to try in your travel destination. Dinner with a view of the Colosseum? Coming right up!”
This strategy can also be applied to other incidentals that you may spend on frequently. Do you take Ubers often? Consider riding your bike instead. Do you have online subscriptions you don’t use regularly? Consider if they’re worth it and if you can live without them, keeping your eye on the travel prize ahead.
If you plan on studying abroad with your university, there are many aspects to consider. First and most exciting is where in the world will you study? Are you looking to explore your roots or learn a new language? Most universities have study-abroad programs that limit the countries you can visit, but here’s a helpful list that can provide you with some inspiration.
“Try to room share with local students or other international students while abroad, instead of with classmates from your university,” Sgorbati said. “You’ll get the chance to pick up new languages, try new food and have friends to visit all over the world when you’re done.” Imagine having a built-in Parisian buddy to visit for life!
Before you decide on your travel destination, be sure to do your due diligence and research the city’s travel guidelines and current travel restrictions.
Warren Jaferian, dean of the Office of International Education at Endicott College, has some expert tips for young travelers. “From a travel standpoint, when considering a place to study abroad, students must research and monitor the travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, and whether American college students are able to travel,” he said. “Second, students should consult the Department of State website and review the travel warnings for the country, especially regarding personal safety and security concerns for Americans.”
Be careful and research all aspects of the city you finally decide on for your study-abroad program, including the safest areas to live in and any vaccines you may need for that area.
Travel insurance may seem like an unnecessary added expense if you’re a young adult, but it can save you in the end. Travel insurance covers many of the unexpected circumstances that can interrupt or cancel your trip, including missed flights, lost baggage, unplanned illness and weather-related emergencies.
“Insurance is for travelers of all ages, gives you emergency medical coverage while traveling and you can receive exclusive AAA benefits like reimbursement for missed ports of call while cruising,” Sgorbati said.
Renting a Car Abroad
Renting a car abroad can be a bit intimidating. Every country has their own set of driving rules and restrictions you should know about, which sometimes means having to drive on the opposite side of the road.
Some countries will require you to get an international driving permit or IDP to rent a car and drive legally in their country. An IDP is a valid form of identification that translates your information into 10 languages.
You can get an IDP at any AAA branch. All you need to do is bring your U.S. drivers license, two passport-sized photos, fill out the application and pay a $20 fee. This process can also be done by mail; however, start the process early to make sure you receive the permit before leaving. An IDP can only be issued by your home country and remains valid for one year.
If you would like to rent a car while studying abroad, check with your university about any restrictions first. “Our institution, like many others in the U.S., has a policy against study abroad students renting cars when overseas,” said Jaferian. “For those students not subject to such policies, they should consult with their insurance provider in the U.S. to see what coverage may be extended from their local policy and be informed about age limits and restrictions for foreign nationals in the host country (often 25+).”
Consider renting a car with a friend to share the expense. And if you are still uncomfortable with driving in a different country, most cities also have public transportation that you can familiarize yourself with.
Check out this guide to renting a car abroad for more tips.
How to Keep Your Money Safe Abroad
Try not to carry cash when traveling abroad. Cash is something you can’t replace, while a credit card can easily be canceled and replaced. If you need cash, only carry small amounts with you at any given time. Don’t carry all your credit cards at once either; that way, if something happens to one, you always have a backup somewhere else.
There are infamous pick pocketers around the world, and even if you’re aware of this, you can still be a victim of their brazen tactics. Protect your valuables by wearing a secure bag like a fanny pack. Backpacks can be easily broken into and purses with no zippers are also an easy target.
An important travel tip for all young travelers is to always be aware of your surroundings and stay safe on your adventures.
What travel destination do you have your eyes set on? Start planning your trip today.
Do you have any other travel tips for young adults heading out to explore the world? Share them in the comments.