It's impossible to totally prevent making mistakes throughout our life, but we can try to minimize as much regret as we can. Most of what we now know is through trial and error, so instead of learning the hard way, I asked POPSUGAR editors to tell me what they most regret not doing in their 20s. To my surprise, person after person replied with the same answer: not traveling enough.
With travel becoming the new grad school, Instagram accounts dedicated to wanderlust photos, and FOMO fueling our desires to see the world, it makes sense. Travel isn't a recent trend, but you have to admit that social media has put much more pressure on us to plan our next vacation. There are of course benefits to travel also. You're exposed to unfamiliar cultures and surroundings, and you return with a new perspective on the world. It is in fact a life-changing experience and arguably more valuable than a textbook education.
Instead of making the same mistakes, learn from the following people and travel, dammit.
"I regret not traveling more! I always flirted with the idea of studying abroad but never made it happen, and both during and after college I spent money on a bunch of stuff I didn't need (and have no idea what happened to now) when I could have been saving for trips. Your 20s is the time to go everywhere you possibly can! There's nothing holding you back, and there's no better time to be a little reckless, hold off on planting roots, and instead explore the world while you're not tied down or committed to anything. Travel as much as you can!" — Hilary, 29
"I definitely would have traveled more, and particularly solo! I travel now with my husband and we don't yet have kids, so it's still doable, but I would have had more energy and probably been more adventurous than I am now!" — Cynthia, 39
"I regret not traveling internationally more. Yes, it's expensive, but let's just say in your 20s you have a little higher tolerance for inexpensive hostels, crashing with friends, etc. They say travel is the only thing you won't regret spending money on, so I just wish I had done it more!" — Shannon, 36
"Live abroad! Or at the very least, travel way more. I didn't study abroad in college, which is really my only life regret, but I guess that could translate into something I should have done in my 20s, too." — Lisa, 40
"Living abroad. I went to NYU and didn't want to leave my friends and new city life so soon and experience major FOMO. It didn't occur to me that I'd never get the chance to live in another country again. Sure, I've taken a few days or a week here and there to travel, but as someone who worked all through college and immediately afterward, it's been impossible to take a big chunk of time off to see everything I want to see." — Joanna, 36
"I regret not studying abroad when I was in college! I was so focused on graduating a year early to avoid extra loans, but I really feel like studying abroad is a valuable and life-changing experience that I missed out on. Hindsight is 20/20, so I encouraged my younger brother and now he's headed to Korea for a year!" — Brinton, 24