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What to Decide Before You Go Traveling After University

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Planning on seeing the world after graduation? Holly Read shares her travel tips.

There’s nothing quite like that end-of-university feeling. No more studying, no more stressful presentations, and no more counting down the days until you need to hand in that super important essay.

This new-found freedom can be exciting but having the safety net of university life pulled out from under your feet can be unnerving. If you haven’t already, suddenly it’s time to start making some important decisions about your future.

I graduated from university in May 2016 and spent several months working in a part-time job until I decided to go traveling. It’s now been nearly three months since I returned from my post-uni backpacking adventure and it’s undoubtedly been the best thing I’ve ever done. Before leaving, I felt overwhelmed by the choices I had to make now I was a graduate, but my trip gave me something challenging to plan and organize, and the experience has benefited me in so many ways.

If you’re not sure what to do after university, I can’t recommend traveling enough. Here are three questions you should try to answer before hitting the open road this summer.

What will the weather be like where you’re going?

If you’re traveling far from home, chances are you’ll need to spend some time researching your destination to make sure you’ve packed accordingly. What time of year is it going to be? What will the weather be like at that time of year? Will you need warm clothes?

While you’re at it, it’s worth researching other things too, like how easy it is to get around using public transport and what you should expect to pay for different things. Having this knowledge in advance ensures you don’t go into a country blind and can stick to your budget.

Will you be working while you travel?

Usually, by the end of university every graduate is running pretty low on money, so the first thing you need to think about is how you’re actually going to fund your travels. Are you planning on working while you travel, or would you rather save up beforehand?

If there’s a chance you might want to work abroad while you travel, it’s important you get the paperwork sorted before you go. I didn’t purchase a work visa for my trip and I still regret that decision as I met many fellow travelers who worked as they traveled and that ultimately allowed them to gain much more out of their gap-year experience.

Websites such as MyRealGap or KiwiExperience have plenty of information about working abroad and how to get started, if it’s something you might be interested in.

How much can you book online in advance?

Traveling after university

I planned out my entire itinerary before I began my trip, which allowed me to book my transport and some of my accommodation in advance. Why is this beneficial? Because you may be able to save money. I found Expedia particularly useful as booking flights with them could sometimes save me money on hotels. Hostels are also often cheaper when booked in advance online, and it’s worth comparing the facilities on offer in different ones too. Some will offer free food and services like bike hire which can really improve your traveling experience.

Don’t forget that Airbnb can also be a good option, depending on your location. In some places this can even be cheaper than a bed in a hostel, and they’re also good if you need some personal space every now and again.

I would also highly recommend booking a form of accommodation which doesn’t charge cancellation fees. That will allow you to change your itinerary if necessary without the fear of wasting money.

Keep your options open

Always keep an open mind when you’re traveling as the best experiences are often last-minute and unexpected. While it’s a good idea to plan an itinerary for your trip before you leave, I’d suggest keeping it as open as possible so you can easily manage any last-minute changes.

I’d also highly recommend planning a couple of free days into your itinerary just in case the weather is bad, or you’re not feeling well – or in case you want to plan a couple of things with some new friends. You never know what might come up. When I went traveling, we spent a couple of extra days at each stop and it worked out really well for us.

Don’t forget the little things

If you’re bringing a DSLR camera or laptop with you while you’re traveling, I’d seriously recommend bringing a USB stick or hard drive with you, maybe even a couple of extra SD cards. You don’t want to run out of storage space halfway through your trip.

When you have access to Wi-Fi, try uploading your photos and videos to the cloud in case you lose your camera or it’s stolen. That way, all those memories are safely stored. I took so many pictures for my blog when I was away and I would have been completely devastated if I lost them all. I’d also suggest bringing an external battery charger with you, I used mine every single day and it was a life-saver.

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1 Comment

Very useful and interesting article. The advice that the author gave is really necessary. I immediately agree that it is necessary to get acquainted with the country you are going to. It is desirable to know, at least superficially, in order to feel comfortable there as a guest in a foreign country. Looking at the guests of the country, the locals make conclusions about the country with which we arrived!