I’ve only been to Asia once, but I promise you I’ll be going back. I’ve always been big on traveling (and have seen quite a bit of Europe) but Asia is a utterly different world. I can describe it as vividly as humanely possible with descriptive and flowery words, but I will never be able to do it justice.
So you can read about it, you can look at pictures, and you can hear stories your friends will tell you… or you can simply pack your bag and jet off to the other side of the globe.
Backpacking, which is a growing trend amongst the youth, is incredibly popular across many Asian countries. You can even backpack in Southeast Asia for only $20 a day! It’s truly a place that could change you forever, and needs to be high up on your bucket list.
Not sold? Let’s start with some of your apprehensions because we all know that, as twenty somethings, we’re likely incredibly busy and incredibly broke. Thing is, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the trip of a lifetime happen in this decade of your life.
If you’re nervous about the insanely long flight, there are plenty of tips from travel experts (like bringing lumbar support and staying hydrated). My biggest tip? Avoid the middle seat and bring a couple of great books to read.
If you’re worried about paying for the trip, you can rest easy knowing that things got cheaper during 2015, and that even the more modern cities are affordable. The key is to plan ahead and budget prior to your trip. In the end, I promise the trip will be priceless.
As for flights, use some easy tips like: breaking up your flight, flying from LAX, use budget airlines, fly into big cities, consider ground transportation, look for deals, and use frequent flier programs. Research also shows that fares were cheapest 318 days in advance.
If you’re concerned about how to pack for something like this, use this advice to help you organize. Just know you should absolutely pack light and leave most things behind.
This is the type of place you go to detox and not to worry about materialistic things. My opinion? Leave your iPhone in your bag, but bring a real camera to document the trip. Collect these quality memories without thinking about your next Instagram caption.
And maybe you’re still anxious because you can’t find someone to travel with. While it would be a trip you’d always remember traveling with your best friend or partner, Asia is actually one of the best places for solo travel with plenty of reasons why.
So leave your apprehensions to the wayside and start getting excited about all the adventures that await you. Make sure some of these things are on your bucket list:
- Hanging out in Buddhist temples
- Standing in awe of the Taj Mahal
- Intensifying your yoga practice
- Flying over the Himalayas
- Trying Asian cuisine and street food
- Discovering a lost city (Angkor Thom)
- Bathing an elephant and hugging a panda
- Dancing under cherry blossoms
- Marveling at temples and sculptures
- Visiting one of the floating villages
- Finding genuine peace
- Meandering through a bamboo forest
- Eating sushi for breakfast
- Walking the Great Wall of China
The list could go on and on, but the longer you read this the more time I’m taking away from you booking and planning your own trip. So let’s continue.
Some of the cities that should be on your itinerary are: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Bali, Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Hoi An, Siem Reap, Taipei, Phuket, Kyoto, and so many more. You can even be extra adventurous and travel to one of these hidden gems instead. Not sure where to go? There’s a quiz for that!
So what are you waiting for? Start planning the trip you’ll never regret taking in your twenties, and one you’ll regret missing in your thirties or forties (although it’s never too late to see the world). Take advantage of your youth, and go discover yourself on the continent that is sure to change your life.
“Southeast Asia has a real grip on me. From the very first time I went there, it was a fulfillment of my childhood fantasies of the way travel should be.” – Anthony Bourdain