We are happy to have Alex Eaton back with us this week talking about his travel post-graduation. Studying abroad is something a lot of kids are doing during college, but what if you don’t have the time or money to study abroad? Alex talks about why he decided to travel after graduation to explore Europe.
FOMO is a serious thing in college.
Especially when you’re sitting in your fraternity with 15 of your buddies, while the other 35 are gallivanting across Europe. Studying abroad is the thing to do for many college students, especially from my alma mater, Indiana University. Groups go every semester en mass to Barcelona or Copenhagen. While I felt as if I was missing out during that semester, the wait was well worth it for my trip. Every type of travel has its pros and cons, but for me traveling after graduation was the right decision.
Type of travel
Traveling after graduation can be more intense than studying abroad. You are constantly moving between locations, whereas when you study abroad you most likely are in your host city during the week, and venture to other places for a two or three day weekend.
On our trip, Jade and I were in a city for 1-3 days then immediately on to the next one. We did this on purpose, to fit in as many locations as we could, but it is definitely exhausting. We reached a point where we wanted to take a day off from traveling and lay on the beach… luckily we had the time and could do just that.
Belongings were also affected by our fast pace. We each bought the eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible, which allowed us to carry-on to the budget airlines around Europe. But with limited size comes limited clothing, so you need to pack smart. I personally loved the challenge, and it showed me how little you need to live comfortably.
The cost of your trip will depend on your situation and what you decide to do. I spent about $6,000 total on a five week trip through Europe. We saw 6 countries, 14 cities, and tried to make sure we experienced as much as possible. The more we moved from place to place the more expensive we found it. We didn’t splurge on fancy dinners and hotels, but we also didn’t stay in the cheapest hostels either.
Let’s be honest, it depends on how much clubbing and partying you do. When you are surrounded by your college friends while studying abroad the urge to go out will be a lot stronger, thus making your bar tab add up.
When you study abroad you’ll undoubtedly end up in a group of college students. This might sound fun, but be prepared, you may not be able to do everything you want to do because of what the group decides.
When you travel after graduation, you’ll have more flexibility for who and how many you travel with. Even with two people you’ll make compromises and not be able to see everything you want, but you’ll have more control over planning your trip.
If you want to go out, you can. If you want to sprint around a city from 6am-8pm every day you can do that as well. I enjoyed this flexibility. Traveling with two allowed us to see more of what we wanted, while still having someone to experience it with. Just make sure you like that person!
Notice how most of this is personal preference?
I would say the biggest issue I see with young people traveling is not really knowing why they are doing it. To me, deciding why is the first step you should take. Don’t just travel because your friends are doing it, or people say you should, or even because a travel blog says you should (although I agree with them). Find your personal reason why you want to travel, and build your trip around it. You’ll get so much more out of your experience.
Our trip earlier this summer was my first time out of the United States. My goal was to open my perspectives to new cultures and to experience the scenery Europe had to offer. Jade and I combined our goals and made the best possible itinerary to accomplish them.
It turned into places like this:
Travel for you. Maybe it’s studying abroad, maybe its a small group or solo trip. Just make sure you do it for you.