"What would be the best advice for young adults trying to travel or move out the country? And which countries are best to move to?"
Super questions! My best advice for young adults trying to move out of the country would be to travel while you’re young. Do it now when you don’t mind long bus rides and bad beds and you don’t have a lot keeping you back in the states (or your home country.) Life has a way of anchoring you as you go on, and pretty soon you might have a good job, an apartment lease, car payments, a house, or a relationships or marriage that keeps you grounded. So do it now!
I would also suggest that you form a plan how you are going to fund the trip a good ways out – maybe 6 months? - and work your butt off until that date arrives. You’ll have to sacrifice a lot; eating out, nights partying with friends, the newest clothes or concert tickets, but all of that money will be essential if you’re going to travel. In that time you have to prepare, read everything you can about your destination countries, learn about the cultures, watch documentaries, and read some travel articles and books that will give you a taste of real life on the road, too.
Last thing: be careful. The rest of the world is not a fantasy land and most people have problems that we can’t even imagine in the US. So getting too drunk, walking around alone, messing with drugs, getting in with the wrong crowd, etc. could lead you into situations you can’t get out of. Slow play the partying and keep your eyes open and you’ll be fine.
The other question, "Where should you go?"
That all depends on what you’re looking for, but I’m going to take a wild guess and say you want someplace warm, with a beach, that’s not too expensive, where there are other backpackers? That opens up one set of possibilities, but others want to volunteer, or to experience authentic culture more than partying and lying on the beach. It also makes a huge difference if you’re just going backpacking around or trying to live there for a year and work.
When I chose a country to live in (not just vacation!) I have a rough guide of criteria, based on priorities. Make your own list and then do some research what might be a good fit.
• Cheap – lodging around $300-$500 a month, total budget around $1,500 a month.
• Nice beach – a beautiful white sand beach goes a long way in balancing out all other factors!
• Friendly people – Then again, I don’t care how beautiful a country is, if the people aren’t warm and friendly, I’ll keep it moving. I’m not down with snobbery or arrogance.
• Safe politically – don’t be freaked out by one news story in a country (if we judged the US by that same standard we’d never want to visit!) but also don’t mess with places where a coup or political violence is occurring. Same thing goes for countries with terrorism, religious radicals, or drug cartel problems.
• Good WIFI (no kidding – I write/work as I live abroad so I’m screwed without a serviceable internet connection)
• City, town, or village? There are pros and cons to each as you balance amenities, convenience, laid back vibe, nature, etc.
• Healthy, cheap food – I want to say “Yummmmm,” for $3 a meal, not for $7 a meal and up.
• Culture – things to do like visiting temples, ruins, archeological sites, natural wonders, etc.
• Night life – of course you want a little bit of fun, but are you looking for mellow beach bars or clubbing all night long?
• Safety walking the streets
• Ability to get work –teaching English, teaching yoga, or working at a hostel or bar are some of the best possibilities for local employment
• Some tourism, but not overrun – the problem you’ll encounter is that the places you want to go, everyone else in the world wants to go there, too. The trick is to find a place that is ahead of the curve, not way behind it when it will be too crowded/too expensive/soulless.
• Diversity of population – I like a place that has a healthy blend of backpackers, expatriates, vactioners, and plenty of locals who still live there – not just work there. That’s harder to find than you’d think!
• Speak some English – you should attempt to learn the local lingo but it really helps when they speak a few words of English.
• Proximity – The southern tip of Patagonia in Argentina is amazing, but don’t think you’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from main cities. It’s fun to be in a city/country where you can get around easily, hopping buses and even small flights around the country or region easily.
• Good gym – since I’m living in these countries I want to go to the gym every day and especially love boxing or muay thai, etc., but maybe you just want to surf or do yoga, etc.
• Family friendly – I like locations that don’t just have a bunch of 20 year old kids but a cross section of real life, including families and people who are old (my age.)
Based on those criteria, some great spots I’d suggest: Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Cuba (I’m dying to go there!), India, Sri Lanka, Israel, Jordan, Ghana, Senegal, Vietnam (good one,) Cambodia, Thailand (a little too touristy for my liking,) Laos, Mynmar, the Philippines, and Bali in Indonesia. That’s a short list. You can do the Caribbean and Europe when you’re older, plus they’re a little too expensive.
I hope that helps, and happy travels!