Travel After College

Traveling The World After College: What You Need To Know

arc de triomphe 1 People always told us as kids that we should be whatever we want to be: astronauts. Rockstars. Ballerinas. Athletes. Detectives. Professional puppy owners or ship captains or world explorers. And then we grow up. And we're told we need to be "practical" with a secure full time job in a sensible field.

Especially in the US, traveling after college is not the norm. Society urges college grads to look for employment right away (not a bad thing), but taking a gap year or even the summer to travel isn't exactly encouraged. But it should be.

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Even though older adults often say "oh I wish I had the opportunity to travel when I was your age," it still is "more important" to cling to the corporate ladder and the security of a 401k right after graduation, and anyone who strays from the norm are met with either "good for you!" or "well, just make sure you find a job when you get back *eyeroll.*" How do I know this? I received both immense praise and utter criticism - with those exact phrases - when I decided to move to Italy for a short term job after graduation.

Do what's right for you. Welcome or not, everyone is going to give you their advice on what you "need" to do. Tune out the haters and those with the ignorant, jealous mindset that traveling after college isn't possible or realistic. If you want to travel after college, now's the perfect time. And if you're just about ready to do it, here is everything you need to know.

Traveling The World After College: What You Need To Know

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Research the many ways to travel

You could be working, backpacking, volunteering, or taking a two week trip. Do you want to go long term or short term? Do you want to rent an apartment somewhere or live a gypsy life?

Decide what works best for you

Once you've done your research, decide what works best for you. Whether it's Yacht Week in Croatia, teaching English in Cambodia, backpacking across Europe, a cruise around the Caribbean, a working holiday visa in Australia, or Peace Corps for two years, there are a number of ways to travel. The options are endless!

Get inspired by others

Read blogs of others who have done it to see how they're doing it. Follow their tips. Read books about travel. Search travel hashtags on Pinterest. Talk to friends or family who have gone abroad. Before I graduated college, I even went to my school's study abroad office to ask their tips on traveling after graduation, and they were able to give me plenty of tips and resources.

Spice Market Istanbul

Know the culture's customs before you go

This is important not to just to save yourself from potential embarrassment but to also be respectful and learn about how other people live. It's also helpful to learn at least a few phrases of the language of where you're going.

The money thing.

Yes, you'll need to budget your money, and no, it doesn't have to be as expensive as you may think. Don't have quite enough saved up? Neither did I when I graduated college. I worked a summer job to pay for my flights to Europe.

If you're working abroad, be realistic about the opportunity and how much money you're going to make. Know the exachange rate of your currency and the places you're going to.

Returning from abroad: the fear of being "unemployable"

Traveling after college will boost your resume. Contrary to any fears or reservations you may have, you don't need to get a full time corporate the day after graduation.

You won't be "behind." In fact, life will be pretty much the same when you get back home. There will be jobs to apply for when you get back. You have the rest of your life to climb the corporate ladder. I'm currently working full time back home after traveling. Traveling didn't hurt my resume, it helped it.

The skills you build upon and things you learn abroad can only be positive when you're applying to jobs in the future. Plus, travel may make your career aspirations more clear.

View of Champs Elysee from Arc de Triomphe

Get ready to go!

Get your passport if you don't already have one and sort out any visa situations you might be in. Start planning with these steps: 8 Essential Steps To Planning a Trip Abroad.

Be smart and safe

Give family and close friends back home your travel plans, flight details, and a general outline of where you're going so they know how to get ahold of you if an emergency arises. Use apps like Skype, FaceTime, Whatsapp, or Viber to keep in touch over wifi.

Connect with other travelers

If you're going solo or want to meet people along the way, use networks like Couchsurfing or other groups to find others or get advice on traveling. Hostels are another great way to meet people on the road.

Blarney Castle View Cork Ireland

Keep an open mind

Sometimes the intial culture shock is amazing, and sometimes it takes time to adjust. By staying open-minded you'll give yourself the opportunity to try new things, have new experiences, and meet new people - the best parts about going abroad.

If you really don't like it, you can always go home

That's always an option. But try to at least give it a chance, shake up your routine, or try going somewhere new before leaving.

Embrace everything

If you're going somewhere short term, your time will fly by. Take pictures. Keep a journal (or blog!). Be in the moment. You've worked hard to earn your degree, and now is the time to enjoy this period in life where you can be free to roam the world.

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Want more inspiration? Check out these posts about travel quotes:

These 14 Quotes Will Motivate You To Book Your Next Flight

10 Cliche But Inspiring Travel Quotes

10 Non-Cliche Travel Quotes

More Inspiring Travel Quotes

8 Reasons To Move Abroad

Moving to a foreign country is something I never thought I'd do...until I did it. I thought studying abroad for a few weeks in Italy was a long time; how was I going to last for months?

I was working a job in Florence, Italy for about six months last year, and it was one of the best things I've ever done. While I wasn't fully immersed (my roommates/co-workers were American and our customers - students - were American), living in an Italian apartment in the heart of Florence was a whirlwind of an adventure. If you are considering taking the plunge and moving across the world, I urge you to do it.

These are a few of many reasons to move to another country, be it for a few months, a year, or indefinitely!

1. Experience Living Like Someone Else

You buy groceries, do your laundry, and go out to eat like a local. You learn to communicate with new phrases and understand different body language. You are living your everyday life like it's from someone else's perspective.

Living like the locals starts to rub off on you, and you may not even realize it.

2. Travel Slow

Being on the go is exciting but exhausting.

There were weeks at a time where I'd be traveling to a new country every weekend (the best part about the job) and returning to Italy during the week. While getting the opportunity to see a new city even for just a few days was awesome, I didn't get to know the culture as well as I did in Italy.

Slow travel allows you to notice the little things, to stop and smell the roses, and to appreciate everyday life. If you move abroad short-term, traveling slow will allow you to soak up as much as you can before you leave.

3. Learn a New Language

If you move somewhere where the main language is foreign to you, then that's all the more reason to learn it. And what better way to learn a new language than to be fully immersed in a country that's constantly speaking it?

4. Cut Down Your Living Costs

Moving abroad might actually save you money, depending where you live. Central and Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America are great regions that tend to have a lower cost of living than your average western country.

Plus, living abroad tends to be cheaper than vacationing. Especially if you're traveling slower, you're more likely saving on extra costs by not staying in a hotel, cooking most of your meals, and doing everyday life activities.

5. Have a Fresh Start

No one knows you there. You have an opportunity to be whoever you want to be; to fully be yourself if you've been holding back. There are new friends to be meeting and new things to be doing. Be the person you want to be, surround yourself with positive people, and try the things you've always wanted to do (perhaps, for example, getting TEFL-certified in Peru or learning yoga in India).

6. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Move abroad to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. you'd be surprised at what you can handle, and it makes everyday #firstworldproblems seem minuscule.

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7. Find Work Opportunities

International work experience is resume gold. Going abroad in general is a great boost for your resume, but working on top of that provides even more value.

Also Read: 11 Ways To Make Money While You Travel

8. Make Memories and Be Adventurous

Do it because you know you want to. And that burning desire deep within you will continue to grow until you just do it.

Why I Chose To Work In Europe After College

Yachts Traveling is not a simple task. It requires planning, budgeting, and taking action on getting things in motion. It requires taking a leap and going for it. And it requires time – in the planning process, but also for the trip itself. Maybe you’re studying abroad for a semester or taking two weeks off of work. You could be missing out on things happening on campus or at the office. There will always be a trade off. (And chances are everything will be exactly the same when you get back!)

Before hiking Capri

But if travel is something you’re truly interested in, it will be worth it. And if you want to travel after college, you are less likely to make all these trade offs.

Why I Chose To Work In Europe After College...

This is a guest post over at Treks and Tales - continue reading the full story here!

How I've Paid For My Travels So Far

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Spice Market and Grand Bazaar

I don't believe that money has to be a barrier to traveling the world. Money is definitely important and is a big factor toward travel, but it's more about changing the way you think about paying for things and prioritizing the things you spend money on.

Don't automatically dismiss that dream destination because of the cost. Do your research. And research some more. And get creative and come up with alternative ways to travel to that dream destination. Then comes the fun part - start planning and GO!

I haven't addressed exactly how I've paid for my travels so far on this website because money is a sensitive subject and is different for everyone.

I've also read blogs where the blogger explains how they fund their travels, and then a horde of criticism and whiny people troll their comments and inboxes saying life isn't fair, you suck, your lifestyle is unrealistic, wah wah wah.

Everyone is different. Everyone is in a different financial situation. If money is a barrier, think outside the box.

That said, here goes nothing...

Some facts about my financial situation:

Yes, I have bills to pay every month.

Yes, I still drink Starbucks every day.

Yes, I currently work both a full-time and part-time job.

No, I don't have a rich uncle who secretly funds my travels.

No, I don't have student loans (yay, scholarships).

---But I also don't think student loans should stop people from traveling (and have proof of friends with nasty loans that still find ways to travel).

No, I don't go shopping as much as I used to.

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Here is a completely transparent overview of how I've funded my previous international trips to Europe.

1. I studied abroad in college.

After emptying out my savings account to pay for the summer tuition, I had finally convinced my parents that I was serious enough to study abroad in Italy. They reluctantly let me go, afraid for my safety "in scary Italy" (seriously, how ridiculous does that sound?). My parents paid for my flights and two weekend trips (London and Amalfi Coast), which I of course was extremely grateful for. Other than that, my spending money came from my personal remaining funds. Even though I came home with just $25 in my bank account, I was happy, smiling, and had no regrets. Luckily I had a summer babysitting job to come back to...

2. I worked as a tour guide based in Italy and traveled around Europe for my job.

After graduating college, I knew I wanted to go back to Europe, but since I couldn't afford a trip, I knew I had to get creative and find another way to do it. I found a job to work for a company that has trips around Europe for study abroad students, and part of my job was leading the trips (where travel and accommodation were covered).

I worked for the fall semester (August - January) and have no idea how I made my personal budget of $1,400 last that long, other than the fact that I ate vegetables, eggs, and bread every day and (sadly) didn't buy a dirndl at Oktoberfest. If you're going to work a similar job, I HIGHLY SUGGEST a more comfortable budget - at least $1,000/month. My parents paid for 2/3 of my flights as a birthday present, but other than that, I used the $1,400 I had left over from my summer job, plus the monthly stipend I got from the company I worked for.

I had only $30 in my bank account when I returned to the States...but planned ahead before I left - I got a job in February to work a leadership conference in DC for a month to build my money back up.

Note: While I don't regret spending all my money on these first two trips, I definitely recommend coming home with more than $25-30 in your bank account. I also recommend having some type of job or form of income set up for when you get back (unless you're using vacation days from a current job) so you don't go into debt.

3. I worked as a faculty advisor for an international leadership conference in Europe.

The same company I worked for in DC also has international conferences. I was shocked - and extremely excited - to find out I got one of the spots to work at the Europe conference for two weeks. The company covered all my expenses: flights, transportation, hotel, and food in exchange for work. I had very few minor expenses during the conference, and I stuck to a budget during my weekend in Paris beforehand. This time, I came home with a far more decent amount in my bank account than the previous two trips.


There you have it! I hope this information was helpful to you, and inspires you to get creative and see how you can make travel work for you, despite the price tag. Whether you can book a trip in the new year or formulate a plan to go somewhere five years from now, stay focused and be determined to make it happen!

Also read: 11 Ways To Make Money While You Travel

and Is Tour Guiding The Right Job For You?

I Wasn't Running Away From Life, I Was Running Toward It

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ireland asd I don't like change, but I'm afraid of commitment.

Yeah, I'm a treat.

I thought I was running away from everything: from facing The Real World and getting a 9-5 job that I would be at for the next few decades. From the "American Dream" - I was now in my 20s, and my parents got married and had kids in their 20s, so if I didn't find someone soon, then I was destined to be alone forever. From living in the rainy Pacific Northwest, a great place for some people but definitely not the place for me.

I was 21 years old and fresh out of college. All of those "What  are you doing after graduation?" questions that had constantly been thrown at me and all of my friends senior year were not only getting redundant, but when my answer was, "I don't know yet," I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I felt like I should have a plan.

Since preschool, our plan was always to get up every day, go to school, then go to college, and then at 21 or 22 years of age, we're done. "What next?" is the scariest and most intimidating question that looms in our minds as we edge toward graduation day, especially when we no longer have a plan.

Purple Flowers in Sorrento

All I knew was that I wanted to travel. I was aching to get back to Italy, where I studied abroad one summer. I was aching to see more of Europe. I was trying to come up with all these bazaar plans to save money after graduation so I could go travel around Europe for a few weeks that fall.

But then I found a job in Italy that started in August. And then I found a summer job in Washington, DC and New York. Things were falling into place. But I still felt like I was running away from the life that society expects recent college grads to do.

Turning my back on the traditional 9-5 work day and getting out of Seattle was intimidating (especially since where I went to college, everyone and their grandma moves to Seattle for a 9-5 job). I didn't know anyone in DC or New York. I didn't know anyone in Europe. And I had only spent six weeks in Europe prior; how was I going to last five months?!

These types of questions floated in the back of my mind...but a number of exciting ones were at the forefront: Will seeing Matilda on Broadway be as good as Jersey Boys? (Well, it was different of course, but it was definitely amazing). Will it be hard to communicate with the international students? (Not at all. They're all fluent in English and it makes me wish I could speak at least three languages, too). Is the pasta in Italy going to taste just as good? (Yes, it was just as delicious). Will I get to sunbathe on the beaches of Positano? (Of course, that was the first trip I led for work, and most of my time was spent by the beach). Is Oktoberfest really that cool? (Yes, YES it is). Will I be able to go somewhere "exotic," like Morocco? (Well, Morocco didn't work out, but Turkey did). Will my new coworkers and I become friends? (Absolutely, and they are people I'll never forget).

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I wasn't running away from life, I was running toward  it. Toward new experiences. I was running toward LIFE. It was amazing, it was spectacular, and it made me happy. I found joy and happiness in exploring new places, and knew that working in Europe wasn't the final fix to getting rid of my travel bug - it was the beginning to creating a life of adventures.

Now that I'm back in the States, I've moved to Arizona (Sun! Warmth! No daily overcast skies!). I'm working full time and I'm okay with that. I prioritize travel whenever I can, while (trying) to be responsible with my money. Balancing both travel and work can be exhausting, but to me, it's worth it. Because travel brings me joy. And I wouldn't have experienced the joy that travel gave me if I hadn't taken the leap to travel in the first place - and run toward life.

Find what brings you joy. Whatever it is, I urge you to do it.

5 Ways To Beat the Blahs of Living Abroad

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- Living abroad can be an amazing experience. And in most cases, it totally is! Though whether you're studying abroad, working abroad, or staying in a home base in a foreign city, sometimes after a while your excitement for where you live can dwindle after some time. Maybe you're saving your money to travel in a few weeks. Maybe you can't get time off from your job overseas to take a short trip. Maybe you're a little homesick during your study abroad.

Whatever the case, re-spark your excitement for your city with these five tips!

1. Be a tourist in your own city

It's easy to not be a tourist in your own city when you actually live there. (Speaking from experience: I still haven't climbed the Duomo in Florence, and I've both lived and studied abroad there). Many cities have plenty of of attractions for visitors, so try to play tourist in your own city to shake things up.

2. Take a day trip

Get out of your city, if even only for a day. Look into what towns are nearby and the things you can do. Exploring something new will be refreshing and will be a welcome break from where you currently are.

3. Go out to eat or drink somewhere new

A meal, wine tasting, brewery tour, whatever - try something that's different from what you normally do. Take a night off from cooking your own dinner and go out with friends. Laugh, enjoy, and have fun!

4. Do some research about your city

Maybe you'll find some interesting facts about that seemingly uninteresting building you walk by every day. Or you'll learn about some cool place you hadn't known - go see it in person, while you have the chance.

5. Switch up your routine

Take a different route to work. Take a walk to a part of the city you don't spend much time in. Try a different cafe for your daily espresso. Chances are you'll find new hidden gems along the way and you might even favor this new routine more than your regular one!

11 Ways To Make Money While You Travel

11 Ways To Make Money While You Travel

It would be a dream come true if international airfare and traveling were free and we could roam the world as we pleased. The reality is that that doesn't happen to be the case, and traveling - especially long-term - can get expensive, even if you stick to a budget. One of the best ways to travel and remain on the road is to work while you do so. Working abroad can allow you to extend your dream trip even longer.