The world is a big place.
And it’s hard to resist the temptation to take a look around a bit before life’s responsibilities build up and it becomes difficult to do more than escape to the nearest big city over the weekend. That’s why it’s worth considering taking the time to travel internationally after you walk the stage to get your degree and head outside to breathe in the fresh air of the real world again.
There are numerous benefits to traveling the world, but doing so right after college is particularly helpful for several reasons: gif source
Perspective and Independence
For one thing, pure academics do not make for a well-rounded life. Traveling the world is an excellent way to break away from those cloistered days spent in classrooms and dorms. Seeing the diversity of lifestyles and cultures throughout the world is one of the best ways to round out your perspective and bolster your independence as you prepare to launch into a career.
Low Costs and Minimal Responsibility
Whether you travel alone or in a group, doing so right after you graduate is wise, as your costs will be minimal while your flexibility will be at a maximum. While globetrotting with a loved one or even a family is always possible, it becomes harder to manage logistics and afford the costs when you’re trying to move two, three, or even more people from place to place.
The Health Factor
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’re often at your healthiest as you finish college. Your body is typically done growing, and your ability to weather all sorts of traveling and living circumstances is at its best. Whether you’re cramming onto a hot, overfilled bus in Fiji, bunking on a friend’s floor in Kazakhstan, or holing up in a hostel in France, you’ll be at your peak to take the wear and tear of travel after graduation.
Life Experience at Its Best
The life experiences that traveling abroad can give you are numerous and invaluable. For example, traveling allows you to learn how to handle money and currency exchanges. You can also develop a deeper appreciation for communication and culture as you navigate the challenges of talking in different languages and learn about various traditions and practices that vary from your own personal experiences. The various benefits of exposing yourself to international life experiences are hard to overstate and will continue to impact you for the rest of your life.
The Modern Remote Working World
Another factor that has made traveling straight out of college possible is the abundance of freelance and remote jobs available. If you find yourself tight on cash, consider hopping onto a freelance site and picking up some work “on the go.” It can help you stay afloat financially and can facilitate your ability to travel for much longer.
But Where Should I Go?
Of course, once you’ve decided to travel, it’s easy to suffer from a case of analysis paralysis. The options are endless, and choosing a destination can feel overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions for popular places to consider as a starting point:
One of the hottest travel spots at the moment is the tiny island nation of Iceland. Not only is it extremely friendly to tourists, but airfare costs are very affordable. In fact, if you book a flight from the U.S. to Europe through Icelandair, you can even take advantage of a free stopover in the country for up to seven days, allowing you to turn a single destination trip into a double.
Another great place to visit is Peru. From paying a visit to places like Lima and Cusco for a hefty dose of South American culture to a dazzling hike up the slopes of Machu Picchu, the Peruvian experience is one of the best all-in-one travel options out there.
If you’re looking to put as much distance as possible between yourself and those college halls you’ve walked one too many times, you might want to head halfway around the world to Thailand. The Land of Smiles is packed with experiences including unique foods, beachside resorts, and jaw-dropping sights like the ancient city of Ayutthaya near Bangkok. Once again, the Southeast Asian paradise is a must-see spot for any ambitious traveler.
Tips for Traveling Internationally
If you’re thinking an international trip sounds great, but you’re not quite as experienced as you might want to be, here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind as you pack your bags, buy your tickets, and prepare to set out in search of some post-academic adventure.
Visa or No Visa? That Is the Question
One quick and easy thing that’s always worth looking for is whether or not you’re going to need a visa to visit a country. This isn’t a set in stone thing, either, as governments are constantly changing the rules on if and how a visa should be obtained. For example, Laos is implementing a new electronic visa system in June of 2019 which will streamline the process for visitors to get the proper documentation before stopping in for a visit.
Watch for Pickpockets!
One sad fact about being a tourist is that, well, it’s really hard not to look like a tourist. While it may be a harmless circumstance for the most part, it can also make you a tempting target for pickpockets no matter where you are. One easy way to minimize the threat is to use credit cards rather than cash whenever you can. This provides several extra layers of protection. However, make sure that you let your credit card company know where and when you’ll be traveling so they don’t flag any suspicious charges and lock your card when you need it most!
Do Your Airline Research
With so many things that can go wrong, there are many strict rules that have been set in place for airlines to follow in order to keep airborne travel safe and secure, and accidents can result in severe damages for those affected. However, not every country has the same standards or oversight. That’s why it’s important to do your research before you simply buy the cheapest plane tickets available. Make sure a particular airline is safe, dependable, and has good reviews. From packing light to capitalizing on offseason prices and crowds, there are several other travel hacks that can help your journey go as smoothly as possible.
Travel: The Missing Piece of Your College Experience
While getting that degree may seem like the center of everything at the moment, once you graduate and the college pressures fall away, you’ll find that there’s quite a bit more to life than academia and building a successful career. Taking the time to travel before you launch into the busy responsibilities of life can be a great way to round out your experience and help you prepare for the adventures that lie ahead.
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