From discount rail fares to working vacation visas, we’ve rounded up some of the best travel experiences and adventures only available to travelers under 30.
There’s no deadline on traveling the globe – strapping on a backpack and heading out to explore new destinations is an activity that should be open to everyone.
But if you’re still in your teens or 20s, it’s worth knowing about some of the amazing discounts, experiences and adventures only available to those under 30.
From discount air fares to working vacation visas, we’ve rounded up some of the best travel experiences to enjoy while you’re young.
Traveling through Europe by rail
Spending a summer traveling Europe by rail is a pretty incredible experience. From hopping on a train in Paris and rolling through the European countryside to Berlin, to wandering the canals of Venice before jumping on a train to admire the history and beauty of Florence.
The Eurail pass (designed for travelers hailing from outside of Europe) and EU Interrail pass (for Europeans) have been around for decades and originally, these passes were only available for under 21s.
Today, there’s no longer an upper age limit, but it remains significantly cheaper to while away afternoons on European trains before you hit your late 20s.
Travelers under the age of 27 can enjoy a 25% discount – with prices for young people starting at 194 euros for the Interrail pass and an equivalent $211 for the Eurail pass for travel to up to 33 countries over four travel days within one month. There’s also the option of buying a single country pass.
Kofi Landon traveled Europe by rail using the Interrail pass in 2022. Here he is outside the Dancing House in Prague in the Czech Republic.
Kofi Landon, 20, from Manchester in the UK, traveled Europe by rail in summer 2022. Landon actually won a free multi-country Interrail pass via competition online (Eurail runs these kinds of draws relatively regularly, so it’s worth keeping an eye out) But even if he’d had to pay, Landon reckons the experience would’ve been more than worth it.
“It’s 100% worth using the pass whilst you can get the youth discount,” Landon tells CNN Travel. “Who doesn’t love a bargain?”
For Landon, visiting Lake Bled in Slovenia was a highlight of his month interrailing, he’d seen so many photos and the beauty spot lived up to his expectations.
“I remember the first morning I walked down to the lake to see the turquoise water surrounding the most picturesque church in the middle of the lake, with people paddle boarding and swimming around it. I remember, in that moment, I thought I was dreaming,” he recalls.
At the end of the trip, Landon calculated that he’d saved some £700 (about $890) on flights by using his Interrail pass.
“I wish I knew about this sooner,” he says, adding that he also used the pass to get discounts on certain tourist activities, including museums and sightseeing tours. You can check out all the Interrail partner discounts here.
Landon is already planning future Interrail trips, planning to maximize use out of the scheme before he hits his late 20s.
Working holiday visa
Brit Tammy Thurman applied for a working holiday visa in Australia. Here she is exploring Tasmania.
If you’re dreaming not just of a summer getaway, but a longer-term, far-flung adventure, a working holiday visa could be the perfect option.
The clue is in the name – holiday is the UK term for vacation, and this visa scheme offers both work and leisure opportunities for young people with wanderlust. Some 50 countries across the globe – from South Korea to Portugal to Iceland – allow people between the ages of 18 and 30 to apply for a 12-month visa program, permitting young adventurers to live and work in a new country.
In order to be eligible for the scheme, your home country and your destination country have to have an agreement, so it’s worth doing some research before you set your sights on a particular place.
Also, if you’re currently reading this and wishing you’d known about the visa before you entered your third decade, don’t immediately give up hope – while the scheme is largely for under 30s, there are a few exceptions. In Australia, for example, citizens of Canada, France and Ireland are eligible to apply until the age of 35.
Tammy Thurman, from the UK, first heard about working vacation visas five years ago, when she was in her mid-20s. Her friend jetted off to Sydney via the scheme, leaving Thurman enviously scrolling through social media updates from her London office desk.
Thurman absentmindedly Googled working working holiday visas, and to her surprise, realized the scheme “was so straightforward to apply for.”
“I realized that the only barrier was me and my decision whether or not to apply,” Thurman recalls.
Thurman tells CNN Travel that the visa appealed to her because although she was desperate to travel to fend off what she calls a “quarter life crisis” – she was also “career-driven” and worried about the long term impact of stepping off the corporate ladder.
“The working holiday visa seemed the best solution – I could work and not have a gap in my resume, but also travel and experience a lifestyle overseas.”
Thurman applied for the Canada and Australia based schemes, noting the paperwork was slightly different for both.
If you want to follow in Thurman’s footsteps, research is key – every scheme is slightly different in terms of requirements and application process. Plus, it’s worth bearing in mind that you need a bit of cash in your backpack – most countries have an application fee (Australia’s is AUD$510, around US$345) and some countries require proof of savings before granting entry.
Thurman also advises researching the types of jobs you can do on your chosen visa (“some countries have restrictions,” she explains) and familiarize yourself with the country’s current cost of living.
“It’ll help you check it’s feasible so you don’t spend all the money you earn just living, so you have something to take home with you,” says Thurman.
While Thurman arrived in Australia expecting her stay to be temporary, it’s now five years later and she’s officially left London behind for good. Thurman’s time in Australia was so transformative that she moved to Melbourne permanently, charting her adventures on her blog, Traveling Tam.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Thurman recommends the work vacation visa wholeheartedly – with only one caveat.
“Just be warned – you may not be the same person you were when you left!” she says.
OK, so being a student has no age limit, so consider this section useful for anyone who’s currently enrolled in college.
If that’s you, you’re probably aware of the discounts offered in your college town, or even in your country more broadly, from reduced cinema tickets to retail store discounts.
But while there’s no harm in giving it a shot, your university-assigned card may not be accepted internationally. That’s where the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) – a globally recognized proof of student ID – comes in. The card costs between €4 ($4USD) and €25 ($27USD).
Students with valid ISIC cards can currently enjoy discounts at Walt Disney World Resort, reduced airfare with Emirates and Cathay Pacific and deals on car rental. Discounts are always subject to change, so check the ISIC website for any terms and conditions.
If you’re not enrolled in college but you’re still under 30, the International Youth Travel Card could be an alternative. The IYTC card offers similar benefits to the ISIC, including hostel discounts and Booking.com deals.
Anyone under 24, student or not, can enjoy a discount entry rate to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
Some attractions also offer discount entry to young people, regardless of whether you’ve got an IYTC card or not. For example, as long as you can prove you’re under 24, you can admire panoramic views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower for a discount price, while if you’re under 30 or a student you can save 2 euros at Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia. Meanwhile, EU residents under 25 can admire the paintings in Florence’s Uffizi gallery for just 2 euros (around $2).
If you’re a student who doesn’t have an ISIC card but is traveling with your college ID card, it’s still worth seeing if you can still get student discounts while visiting an attraction. At the Tower of London, for example, full-time students and those aged 16-17 can enter for the reduced rate of £26.80 (around $33).
Of course any student and youth discount is subject to change. And it’s worth reading the fine print – there may be exceptions depending on your country of origin. And while some attractions advertise their discounts on their websites, others are more hidden. Your best bet? Ask when you’re buying your ticket, the worst outcome is the seller will say no.
Discount airplane tickets
Swedish carrier SAS is among several airlines offering discounts to young people.
While airlines like Emirates and Cathay Pacific offer discounted airfare to valid ISIC or IYTC cardholders, there are other airlines that offer youth tickets to any young travelers with proof of ID.
Norwegian and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) offer exclusive discounted rates to travelers aged 12-25. The only requirement is a valid ID upon check-in or boarding, and that any travelers over 26 in the same party book their tickets separately.
Norwegian and SAS both fly internationally as well as across Europe, so these discounted tickets offer plenty of scope for adventure.
Gideon Hagström Lung, 23, is based between Helsinki, Finland and New York City. He’s been buying SAS youth tickets since he was a teenager, recalling first hearing about the offer via some Swedish friends.
Hagström Lung tells CNN Travel that SAS’ discount fare makes his transatlantic lifestyle doable, saying the youth tickets are “extremely easy to book” even though “none of my friends believe me and they say it sounds too good to be true.”
“The discount is valid whether you book tomorrow or for six months so it’s enabled a lot of impulsive trips,” says Hagström Lung.
Traveling from Helsinki to New York involves a layover in Stockholm or Copenhagen. While some might balk at the idea of changing flights, for Hagström Lung, that makes the deal even sweeter.
“I choose seven-hour layovers so I can get an extra little adventure on the way,” he says.
Traveling when young can be a great platform to diversify your experience early in life and discover what your purpose is in life. What is this? Each country, each city, even each restaurant you might visit is an opportunity to experiment something different.What can you say about your travel experience? ›
Travel also gives me a sense of being free and independent. It makes my mind open to new experiences all the time. Even during a flight, I get to taste new food, hear a new language, see new ways of dressing and listen to new kinds of music. This is very exciting and I thoroughly enjoy my life during these moments.Why traveling is a great experience? ›
Travel provides a learning experience like no other. It inspires people to seek out new places, keeping their pool of knowledge constantly topped up. It's a great way to not only learn new things and immerse yourself in a new culture – but it also provides a constant urge to continue learning.How do you travel when you're young and broke? ›
- Plan around off-peak travel times.
- Stay in hostels.
- Take free classes.
- Fill up on free hostel food.
- Venture off-the-beaten-path to save money.
- Treasure experiences over material things.
- Work in a hostel.
- Check visa costs before you travel.
Numerous studies published over the years have shown that younger people like to travel more than older people.What is the best age to travel with? ›
EARLY SECONDARY age 11-14
Here's why we believe travelling with kids aged 10 -14 is the perfect age to travel and adventure: They learn so much while travelling – kids are like 'sponges' and at this age they're learning and remembering it all. Our boys have learnt so much from their travels around the world.
In the first paragraph, introduce the place where you traveled and the person you traveled with. Also, mention what your feelings and expectations about this trip were. In the second paragraph, include an exciting experience you had there. In the third paragraph, you can write what you learned from this experience.How would you describe your passion for travel? ›
My passion is learning about life through travelling and exploring new things. It excites me when I visit new places, learn about different cultures, and see other people live a life that is different from mine.How do I feel better about traveling? ›
- Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. Beyond travel, there are numerous reasons to stay hydrated. ...
- Choose Fruits & Veg When You Can. Airport and airplane food are...not the best. ...
- Find Gentle Movement. ...
- Stay Mentally Stimulated. ...
- Skip The Booze.
- To challenge themselves. ...
- To learn new things. ...
- To understand yourself. ...
- Building quality relationships. ...
- Having an adventure. ...
- Relaxing. ...
- Celebrating. ...
Travel helps people shed their reservations and shyness, and bring a change in their otherwise dull existence. Travel makes travelers gain patience wisdom, perspective, appreciation, and relationships. When you go to new place, you have to deal with a lot of unexpected things.Why travel makes you a happier person? ›
Whether you're travelling for business, on a one-week family holiday, or have sold everything to pursue a life on the road, travelling can make you a happier person by building self-confidence, providing new experiences and memories, breaking routine and allowing you to meet people from all over the world.How do you travel the world when you are young? ›
- Start to research countries you want to visit. I used to do this all the time as a teenager. ...
- Get a job. ...
- Open a savings account. ...
- Get a driver's license. ...
- Talk to your family and friends about your dreams. ...
- Sign up for class trips and/or study abroad programs. ...
- Take advantage of family holidays. ...
- Volunteer with immigrants.
When you travel in your twenties, you burst the bubble that you've been living in for the first two decades of your life and realise that there's more to life than what you know. You find out that your place in the world is ever so small and with that comes an overwhelming, calming sense of humility.Does traveling keep you young? ›
You can experience and learn new things at any age, and travel is the perfect way to do so. Whether you're looking to relax and rejuvenate or be active and challenge yourself, travel has the power to enliven the senses, ignite inspiration, and make us feel young again.Are people happier when traveling? ›
Going to new places helps you improve your mental well-being by experiencing new places, people and cultures and breaking your routine. A recent Washington State University study found out that people who traveled several times a year-even for just 75 miles from home- were 7% happier than those who did not travel.Would it be easier to travel to the past or future? ›
You likely don't realize it, but when you're done reading this article, you will have traveled perhaps 90 seconds into the future. The truth is that it is easier, theoretically speaking, to travel forward in time than it is to travel backward, and that's partly because we're all moving forward in time naturally.Why you shouldn't wait until your old to travel? ›
\With a greater risk of health problems comes more expensive travel insurance for older travellers. On top of that, you'll likely crave more comforts as you get older, and these all add up. When you start travelling when you're older, it's harder to compromise on certain standards.What age is hardest to travel with? ›
12-18 Months Old
One year olds are often highly mobile yet totally uncontrollable, making for a potentially dangerous travel combination. At this age, children are still too young to understand and follow instructions, so discipline is ineffective. Distraction and maybe bribery are really your only tools!
You are NEVER too old to travel. Because getting old IS just a number. There are, however, plenty of other things that enter the equation that come hand in hand with age. It is THESE things that you should take into account before you buy that plane ticket.
Experienced traveling families already know this, but in most cases the hardest time to travel with a child is from when they become squirmy and mobile by about 9 months old until they hit the age of reason bargaining/cartooning/snacking at about 18 months.What is the value of traveling? ›
We observe things and think from a broader perspective when our mind is open to the outside world. The benefit of travelling helps us embrace cultural and social differences more when immersing ourselves in a different environment with new people and perspectives.Why is travel important in life essay? ›
Travelling is an experience that can teach us so many things that you cannot possibly learn while living at home. Firstly, it teaches you how to make new friends. The world is full of people who love interacting. You get to make friends when you travel to new places and spend quality time with them.What is travel writing in your own words? ›
The definition of travel writing
Travel writing, by definition, is writing that describes places the author has visited and the experiences they had while travelling.
Wanderlust: n. A Strong Desire For Or Impulse To Wander Or Travel And Explore The World.How do you say traveling is your hobby? ›
“My favourite hobby is travelling because I love discovering new cities and places around the world. I often save up for months to plan a trip every year. I love friends' trips and family outings but solo travelling brings me the real adventure and thrill to venture into new places all by myself.”How do you feel when you go travel? ›
- Travel teaches us to be flexible. ...
- Travel allows us to trust the world. ...
- Travel allows us to trust ourselves. ...
- Travel makes you fall in love with learning. ...
- Travel makes us more social. ...
- Travel puts our lives in perspective. ...
- Travel challenges us.
Traveling promotes happiness and helps you take your mind off stressful situations. This leads to lower cortisol levels, making you feel more calm and content. “It also helps us reflect on our personal goals and interests,” adds Greenberg.What are the three main reasons for travel? ›
There are three main reasons for travel. These are: o Leisure tourism o Visiting friends and relatives o Business tourism Most tourist trips can be placed into one of these groups.What are the 3 factors that influence travel? ›
Among the factors that influences travel characteristics are location, land users and distance. Thus, these factors are very important to people who choose their travel characteristic because their home and workplace are at two different locations.
Travelling gives you an amount of exposure that is rivaled by nothing else. When you go to a foreign country, you gather so much knowledge about the customs of that country and learn so much about their culture and heritage.Is travelling a passion or hobby? ›
It is travel for business, not for fun. You live a nomadic lifestyle – This one depends upon WHY you live that lifestyle. If you chose it because you love travel, then it could be that travel IS a hobby for you. But in most circumstances, travel has simply become a lifestyle choice.Does travel make you more interesting? ›
Travel inspires creativity and a-ha moments.
Getting out of your routines, meeting new people, and viewing novel sights all encourages your creativity and revelatory mind to come out to play.
Travel connects people and provides opportunities to learn about new and different cultures, which can help increase your empathy towards others. It can also help improve your overall tolerance, reduce biases and even decrease frustration.What is a good travel quote? ›
- “Travel is my therapy.” ...
- “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ...
- “Dare to live the life you've always wanted.” ...
- “Adventures are the best way to learn.” ...
- “I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list.” ...
- “Have stories to tell not stuff to show.”
Young people's goal of traveling is entertainment, but older people want to relax and get away from their busy lives and problems. How can you make sure you get the most from your travels? It depends on where I am going, if I go somewhere during the summer I will relax by swimming and sunbathing.How do you make a life of travel? ›
- Change your spending habits. ...
- Find Affordable Things to do. ...
- Downsize. ...
- Get Rid of Debt and Wasted Expenses. ...
- Keep All Options Open. ...
- Nothing is Waste of Time When Searching for your Purpose. ...
- Focus on Strengths. ...
- Do Something Epic.
Chou did the math, and it turns out that frequent fliers actually age the tiniest bit more quickly than those of us with both feet on the ground. Planes travel at high enough altitudes that the weak gravitational field speeds up the tick rate of a clock on board more than the high speeds slow it down.Why your 20s are the most important? ›
Facts and figures aside, your 20s are the time in your life when you learn how to be an adult. You'll get a job, make friends, pay bills, take care of yourself, have relationships, and generally gain an understanding of what those previous two decades were trying to teach you about life.What are the life lessons from the youngest person to travel to every country? ›
Alford told INSIDER the three most important lessons that helped her were, "Never take no for an answer, have the courage to pursue what you're most passionate about, and problem-solve like it's nobody's business because where there's a will, there's a way."
Travel takes us out of our comfort zones and inspires us to see, taste and try new things. It constantly challenges us, not only to adapt to and explore new surroundings, but also to engage with different people, to embrace adventures as they come and to share new and meaningful experiences with friends and loved ones.Why do young people love to travel? ›
Traveling is important as it teaches meaningful life skills, provides an opportunity to meet new people, facilitates cultural appreciation, and teaches the ability to adapt to new environments.What are the benefits of traveling young? ›
While traveling with a child at any age may seem like a daunting prospect, experts claim that it can significantly boost development. They say travel can expand a kid's world, making them more empathetic toward cultural differences and helping them adapt to changing situations.Why your late 20s is a good time to travel? ›
You'll get to know yourself better! One of the best things about travel in your 20s is that you'll get to know yourself better. It's the best time to figure out your strengths and weaknesses, what you like and what you don't. You'll get to explore your passion and indulge in learning new things.Why you should travel before 30? ›
- You have Stamina. Before 30, your bones are strong and you have great stamina. ...
- You have Good health. ...
- Best Experiences of Life. ...
- Makes you Tough. ...
- You have Fewer Responsibilities. ...
- Easier to Learn a New Language. ...
- Fun at Parties. ...
- Mood Booster for Stress.
The 20s are the vital formative years in the life and career of a person. In their 20s, a person discovers more about themselves than at any other time. In the course of their professional life, a person depends on what they learn in their 20s.Why 20s are the hardest years? ›
The 20s are a time of transition and change, and this can be a difficult and stressful time for many people. The pressure to succeed in career, relationships, and finding a sense of identity can take a toll on mental health. Many young adults experience feelings of anxiety and depression during their 20s.How should you spend your 20s? ›
- Make a plan—but be willing to change. Setting goals is great. ...
- Make a budget and stick to it. ...
- Learn how to set boundaries. ...
- Take care of your mental health. ...
- Save up an emergency fund. ...
- Embrace the season you're in. ...
- Pay off all debt (especially student loans). ...
- Get out of your parents' house.
It's a new landscape, a foreign language, a different culture and new people. You'll never be more exposed to new things. As a result, you'll have to adapt to your new surroundings. This will broaden your perceptions and force you to become more open-minded.Is 40 too late to travel? ›
You are NEVER too old to travel. Because getting old IS just a number. There are, however, plenty of other things that enter the equation that come hand in hand with age.
Travel takes us out of our comfort zones and inspires us to see, taste and try new things. It constantly challenges us, not only to adapt to and explore new surroundings, but also to engage with different people, to embrace adventures as they come and to share new and meaningful experiences with friends and loved ones.Why are people travelling more than before? ›
Nations are able to understand more about other nations' culture, language and customs from near. The tourism industry has become a lucrative business for many countries. Increasing employment opportunity for the host country. Citizens have less stressful lifestyle by travelling more.