Every college graduate knows the question.
Aunts and uncles, friends of your family, ask this question around the time you’re getting a diploma:
What’s your plan for the future?
Often what follows is a detailed description of some new job or intention to enroll in graduate school. Roughly any answer in this situation is acceptable.
But, what if you’re still figuring things out? What if you’re still considering future plans before starting a career?
Solution: travel the world. Experience another culture and figure out some plans for the rest of your life.
Although this strategy is popular, recent graduates often run into the problem of money. If you just spent years getting a degree, how can you afford an immediate trek to another country?
Without breaking the bank or putting off the expedition, here’s a few ways to take a fulfilling post-grad trip:
Choose The Right Time For Your Trip
It’s a tempting proposition to jet off for a foreign trip the moment you get that diploma. But, have some patience.
If you wanted to spend some time touring China, a trip during January or February would be expensive and overcrowded. Spring Festival and the Chinese New Year fall during this time.
Tourists and locals flock to the big Chinese cities to get involved in the festivities. Airlines and hotels take advantage of the madhouse during this time, with prices that can skyrocket.
A trip during the spring or fall would offer optimal weather and far less crowded attractions.
Ideal travel time differs depending on the location.
While you don’t want to visit China between January and April, a perfect time for a trip to Europe. Assuming, of course, that you’re willing to deal with freezing temperature.
The cold weather discourages tourists from visiting and opens up hotels and airlines to cheaper fares. Places like Budapest, Berlin and Amsterdam are prime for affordable visits during this time.
Work Abroad or Volunteer
If you missed out on a chance to study abroad while in school, there’s another way to satisfy wanderlust: find a job in another country.
A temporary or seasonal job abroad would be the best option. You can pad a resume with needed experience while taking in the culture and experiences of another country.
Many companies that hire from outside their country are understanding with each person’s situation. Whether it’s the duration at the company or rate of pay, these jobs can offer flexibility to create an ideal work environment abroad.
Groups like Go Overseas, Go Abroad and Gap Year assist in finding foreign job opportunities in any field.
While it is nice to earn money while you travel, volunteering can offer similar benefits with a wholly different experience.
Finding the right volunteer program can provide encounters unavailable anywhere in the United States. You could tend to elephants in Thailand, study wildlife in Africa or marine animals in Fiji.
If you’re interested in providing some help while traveling, options are vast to aid in impoverished countries. Organizations like Volunteer Alliance can even help choose matching people with programs based on interests.
These programs diversify a resume, but are popular for their once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
Backpacking may seem like the cliche option to “find yourself” after college, but this kind of journey has its merits.
Exploring some foreign country on foot fits into a post-graduate lifestyle for both its price and flexibility.
Fees for cabs and expensive hotels go by the wayside. Costs just come down to a duffel or backpack to carry your clothes and a one-way ticket to some exotic location.
Some do choose to put a return date on this kind of trip with a round-trip ticket that locks you in for a specific return home. This can be an option, but an unspecified length of time allows for more flexibility to explore everything in a country.
This is why places like India and Nepal are so popular for backpacking.
The locations are vast with opportunities to mingle with the locals or admire ancient wonders. Rather than living by a regimented schedule, you can make the decisions and choose what kind of experiences and memories to make.
Perhaps most importantly, backpacking trips are cost efficient.
A journey through Thailand can cost you as little as $20 per day. This makes a stay in some rundown hostel seem far better when you explore a country for weeks or even months without going broke.
Although backpacking does encourage some spontaneous decisions, a little preparation will be needed.
It’s wise to have a soft travel schedule, planning which nights are spent in certain cities. This forethought will provide an idea of an area’s safety and the friendliness of locals.
Your health is possibly the most crucial variable to backpacking. It can be hard to carry your belongings while battling a foreign virus.
Diseases like malaria, yellow fever and typhoid can be hard to avoid when hiking across a country. Vaccines are the most surefire way to stay free of any illnesses.
Curious about those immunizations for an upcoming backpacking expedition? Call Passport Health at or book an appointment online.
Any tips or questions about traveling after graduation? Let us know via Facebook, Twitter or in the comments!
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