Guest post by Emily Ribaudo

Picture this, you’re 18 again and you’re longing to finally do something that symbolizes your independence. What’s the first thing that pops into your mind? If you asked me this question the first thing I would say is travel. As a young adult I find the urge to flee from my parents grasp and to finally stay, eat and see things on my own terms. Don’t get me wrong, Disneyland will always hold a place in my heart, but I’m ready for a new scene.

Chances are if you’re a young adult you’re not going on vacation alone. You’re probably doing just the opposite and getting as many people to throw down on a hotel room as you can. Remember, we’re on a budget! I think it’s important to have options. I already know I won’t be staying at the Hilton anytime soon. Yet I still want to feel safe where I lay my head at night. Having a variety of lodging options – including budget ones – makes it easier to find something suitable for the trip you’re taking.

Growing up whenever my family took a vacation you could always find us eating at a typical steak house. It was always the same. My mom has a salad, my dad has some sort of meat and I always end up with a pasta dish. It made sense at the time. There was a family to feed and everyone wanted something different, but at the end of the night we were all satisfied. I’ve noticed over the years that my family always played it safe when it came to meal time.  Let me tell you when I’m on vacations with friends the last thing I want to do is eat the same as I do when I’m at home.   Our dining recommendations usually come from our own experiences in the area, and are usually very budget friendly. For example, I know a to-die for Mexican restaurant in the Woodland Hills area so if friends and I are around that location chances are you’ll find us at Mission Burrito during meal time.

There is always so much to do when you’re on a vacation, but it’s hard to fit it all in.  In my opinion you have two options. You can either take a really long vacation, or you can fill your days with things you wouldn’t normally do. I think all destinations have more to them than what meets the eye and it’s up to me to figure out what that might be. One thing I like to do when I’m in another area is to check out the local spots where I can meet locals. This opens you up to a whole new experience.

As you reach adulthood you are begin to understand that your experiences are really starting to mold you as an individual. I believe that I travel differently now because I look at the time spent in unfamiliar places as motivation and inspiration instead of just time off with my family.

So what does this mean to you, the DMO?  Budget friendly options are a start.  Not everyone can afford four star quality, especially us young adults.  Embracing what makes your destination unique and showing us why that’s interesting is also very important.  Why would we visit someplace that has the same things as we have at home?  Finally, realize that we can be a loyal bunch, and show interest in us now.  It may pay off dividends later.

Emily Ribaudo is a student at Western Nevada Community College.  She loves to travel.