It’s 2018 and it’s time to make your travel dreams a reality. No more putting it off or waiting for someone to commit to a time and location with you. 2018 is your year and your time to explore. Travel solo, with friends or with your partner. The world is your oyster. Here are five reasons you should travel this year (if you needed them…)

The world is so much bigger than the little bubbles we all live in. There is so much to explore and learn. Travel will give you the opportunity to not only learn about other cultures, you will also be able to experience them, which is how you can gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of them. Be prepared for an eye-opening experience as you dive into how other people live.

You’re only young once, and although I intend to continue travelling when I have my own family and through to when I have grey hair I believe the experiences you have along the way change depending on where you are in your life. You only have one opportunity to travel while you’re young and experience “the young persons” version of that country or city. This can also apply to when you are single verses in a relationship. If you are in a relationship don’t sit back and think it’s only fun for singletons and vice versa. The experiences are all different, but they are equally as fun and worthwhile for you to experience.  

You will learn to become super organised, otherwise you may be in for a work of pain. From the logistics of arranging a trip - flights, connecting flights, changing time zones, transfers, booking numbers, check-in times, check out times – to figuring out what to do when it all goes wrong, think - delayed flights, missed connecting flights, changing airport gate numbers or lost luggage. There is nothing more character building than experiencing some of these things, as rising to the challenge and fixing the problem is a sign of your independence and growth. Hello, adult world. Because sometimes you just have to dig deep and make things happen or suck it up and make alternative plans. I can definitely say that from my first solo overseas trip I changed a lot as a person. I found myself and I did a lot of growing up in a very short period of time.

A challenge I always enjoy rising to myself is navigating my way around a city by foot or on public transport. I am a self-confessed geographically challenged person when it comes to directions, but I love nothing more than being internet free and not having Google maps as a fall back to get myself around town. In this digital dependent world, I feel like it is so easy to lose a skill like having a good sense of direction, but without internet it usually only takes a heartbeat to get back into the flow of things and learn to use a physical map correctly and decipher the local underground network. All you need is a map and some effort, and just like that you too can feel empowered and not reliant on your phone.      

Travel will give you a great opportunity to meet new people. Whether you are staying in hostels or five-star resorts, by yourself or in a group, if you make to effort to interact with the people around you, chances are you will make some great friends along the way. If these people are staying in similar places to you and travelling you already have two things in common and will probably find they share a similar mindset to you. When you are travelling alone making these connections is vital, as it’s great to do something's alone but nice to share other moments with people. When placed in the same situation it can be amazing how quickly bonds can be formed. Plus, having friends around the world is great for future travels as they could become your personal tour guide of their hometown or a home to stay in.

It is also a great opportunity to connect with the locals. Finding that deeper appreciation for a culture or even if you just want some insider tips on the best places to eat, the locals have it all! I tend to find people who work in the tourism industry are the best source of information, especially those who run smaller businesses (like boutique hotels or little cafes) as they are grateful for your business and eager for you to have a great time too.

Some of my most treasured memories and highlights of my life came from moments I experienced on the road. Everyone’s experiences travelling are so unique to them and no-one can take those memories from you. How do these memories come about? I believe when you are travelling you are more likely to step outside of your comfort zone and you might take part in activities that you wouldn’t usually, and just like that you have an experience that stands out from the rest.