Now that winter is pretty much here, you’ll see people dreaming of next summer all over social media, posting their elusive travel photos. Pictures of people backpacking in Thailand, surfing down-under and inter-railing across Europe. Travelling is one of the most popular activities for undergrads once the university year is finished with.
Taking the plunge yourself, however, is another matter. It can be scary to commit both time and money to something that is primarily for your enjoyment – especially if graduation is looming, and your mind is clogged with nothing but the thought of what career path you’re going to take.
I’ve been in the exact same position and had the same worries, but I’m here to tell you why you should get booking that trip before you start work, rather than delaying it.
You have more free time
No matter how busy you may think your are as a student, you have the luxury of term breaks. As much as we’d like it to be, extended summer holidays simply aren’t a thing once you enter the working world (unless of course you’re a teacher, but we’ll ignore that point for now).
With no time constraints, you can choose whatever length of an adventure that you want. You want to take a few months seeing the world? Do it. However, if you’re not sure about booking something so long, try out a shorter break. You’d be surprised how much you can do in the space of a few weeks.
I myself went through Trek America, which allowed me to road trip across the northern route of the USA – from NYC to Cali – in the space of just 21 days. This was perfect for me, because I got an action-packed few weeks, but I still had enough time to come back in time for graduation and to apply for jobs.
…plus it was a lot nicer on my bank balance than a six-month excursion!
No commitments to tie you down
It’s not just time that you lose once you start working full-time, there are other things to consider. You may move cities for a new job. That means that if you travel whilst renting, you’d be paying for a property you’re not actually living in.
Plus it can be scary to take a large amount of time off of work. There’s nothing worse than coming back off a break and watching that email count tick up…and up…and up. Sometimes when you’re away, you may also be tempted to check in with colleagues and wonder how the office is possibly coping without you.
But, if you’re still living at home and don’t have a job (and therefore no missed emails) to worry over, then this won’t be an issue. You can go and explore knowing that study time is over, and the only thing you have to think about is where your travels will be leading you.
And an extra piece of advice? Don’t do Skype interviews for grad jobs whilst you’re travelling and meant to be enjoying yourself. Especially if you have a bad internet connection at a campsite, and an eight hour time difference to contend with. Not that I did that or anything…
It can be a career advantage
Whilst yes, your Insta feed will be the bomb by the time the trip is over, this isn’t the only thing travelling is good for. The experiences you have will be so unique that you can draw upon them in interviews.
For example, if you’re travelling by yourself, this shows how independent you are. You’re navigating a foreign country and organising your travel to and from home. This is a lot of responsibility, and you can certainly relate to it!
If you have any quirky stories from travelling, then these are a great conversation starter to show off your personality. Many times I’ve mentioned my unforgettable trip to the Spam Museum in Minnesota and all the facts and merchandise that’s available there.
(Highly recommend a visit, 10/10.)
Meet like-minded people
As I mentioned at the beginning, travel is most popular with students and young people, and many companies market directly to this audience.
One way to reduce the cost of travelling is to look into group trips. Not only is it kinder on the wallet, but it’s also a lot more socialable than backpacking solo. Plus, you may very likely be placed with other young people who you’ll have a lot in common with. Drawing on my own trip, I can attest to this.
During my Trek America adventure I bonded with the greatest bunch of travel buddies, and we went through a lot together. From freaking out over giant spiders in our camping tents, to saving some civilians who fell into a river during our white-water rafting session. I could tell you more, but then this would end up being a dissertation.
We’ve all stayed in touch, and will in fact be meeting up very soon! If you’re looking for people who are similar both in terms of age and interests, then going travelling as a student is definitely a must.
So if you’re still teetering on that decision on whether to travel now or later on life, we say don’t wait. Go see the world, whilst there’s nothing here to keep you tethered!