The best way to get the most out of your travels after graduating
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” –St. Augustine
Hypnotizing. Addictive. Intoxicating. Travel is a heady cocktail of treasured experiences, exotic destinations, and epic memories, a heady cocktail that beckons us time and time again to take a sip. As we reflect on our college years, chances are that our most memorable experiences involved travel. The summer after my freshman year at Georgia Tech, I studied abroad at Oxford and visited a total of 7 countries in 10 weeks, almost 1 country a week. The iconic Fish and Chips of the UK, the sumptuous German chocolate cake in Munich, and the joyful songs of the Gondola operators in Venice will always remind me of a special time unlike any other. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the essence of travel. As we seep into the routine of our ‘real world’ lives, time increasingly becomes a scarce resource, one that we are too afraid to lose. We must encourage each other to continue traveling and discovering the world, for there are infinite aspects to discover. Let us begin by deep diving into the most efficient, incredible, and palatable methods to maximize traveling experiences after graduation. Ready to go? Vámonos!
Pinpoint the WHY behind your desire to travel: exploration, assimilation, or quite simply recreation?
Each of us travels for vastly different reasons. Some of my friends are hard-core adventure seekers who travel for the adrenaline rush of backpacking, hiking, and running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Yes, running with bulls, where you try to outrun raging bulls. This is a real thing. Others are keen to assimilate into the destination country’s culture. The Le Méridien hotel in France? Some folks would rather skip the luxurious stay and opt for a modest Bed & Breakfast in the heart of Barcelona facing the Sagrada Família church. Some others are interested in kicking back, relaxing, and enjoying a restful vacation by leisurely taking in the sights, visiting some attractions, and generally absorbing flavors of the place. Neither traveler is superior to the other, but it is important to identify yourself in a bracket, so that you recognize your deepest motivations to travel. Here is a fun little quiz to help you decode your traveler persona; comment below with your results!
Identify WHAT you want to experience in your travels: cultures, history, personal interactions, or a mix?
The core of the travel experience is in fact .. the experience. Before we set out on our journeys, it is important that we have a clear idea of what exactly we are looking to accomplish. Are you more of a culture vulture on the lookout to explore cooking Nasi Lemak in Malaysia? Or would you prefer to gaze in awe at the iconic Taj Mahal in Agra, India? Or maybe, just maybe, you are more inclined to chat up with a bunch of locals in the downstairs café of the hotel and learn more about what day to day life is really like in this exotic city? If you are like most of us, we do enjoy a mix of all of these components and so we should plan out activities with each in mind. Maybe, start off the first day in Vienna exploring the magnificent Opera Houses, then spend the second half for coffee and delicious Mozart tortes at Café Landtmann (this is real, please check it out for amazing desserts), before calling it a night by chatting up a few locals at the weekend music festival. The goal should be to achieve as much of a diversified experience as possible. Travel is not just about visiting a new city or country, but it is about truly ensconcing yourself in that environment and enriching your perspective to the nth dimension.
Plan the HOW of your travel by finalizing methods of transportation: planes, trains, or automobiles?
Logistics, albeit incredibly important, are probably the least favorite part for anyone to plan. In 2014, there are so many choices available to us when we think of transportation. Should we fly to London and then buy a Eurail Pass to hop on over to Amsterdam for a couple of days to stay in a beautiful canal house? Or maybe book a flight on Flybe straight to our destination in Ireland? Perhaps, we can even fly to Zurich, Switzerland, and rent a car to drive around the scenic highway passes which enable glimpses of the historic Swiss Alps? It is crucial that we sit down to think through our plans for the trip and logistically map out exactly how we plan to get from point to point. Most of us do not have unlimited money; if you do, I’m jealous. We really have to maximize our dollars, pounds, euros to their highest potential, so my advice would be to focus on an area to spend on with regards to transportation but choose lower cost alternative options for the rest. Spend big on the plane ticket from here to London, but find the cheapest Eurail pass option to sightsee the rest of Europe. This way, you can continue to save for subsequent trips.
Congratulations! We have discovered our motivation for travel, identified methods of transportation, and mapped out the crux of our journey, no pun intended. Travel after graduation is one of the greatest gifts our world has to offer us, and I sincerely hope that you choose to accept this gift with utmost gratitude, excitement, and immense anticipation for what your future in travel holds for you and yours.
By: Shinjini Das
The views presented in this article are the opinions of the author and those opinions do not reflect the views of any organization or employer that author may be associated with unless expressly stated.