I direct this blog post for graduating college students, because I know we need it the most. Upon graduation, we will be overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety, nostalgia, sheer happiness, and most importantly, panic. As we rekindle family relationships at graduation, the same question will appear, “Now that you’re done, what will you do?”
I’ve come to realize that although we have plans and career ambitions, it’s not necessary to rush them. Before anything else, I recommend rewarding yourself for all the hard work and countless hours you have invested in college. I recommend taking a break; I recommend taking the ultimate vacation and backpacking through Europe! Okay, so I guess to clear things up, your ideal backpacking trip doesn’t necessarily have to be through Europe…it can be anywhere! I just know Western Europe the best and it is in my best interest to elaborate and convince you all to go on a trip of a lifetime.More so than just a vacation, I always encourage (and plead when needed) all young adults to go backpacking, at least once. It is one of the most vulnerable, yet liberating experiences you will ever have. This is the opportunity to delve into a foreign country, with no itinerary and no obligations. The world is your option. With metros, trams, trains, planes and automobiles, it is possible to go anywhere in the world. Luckily, people and companies have also devoted their lives to making this experience a little more possible. It may be hard to find the money to backpack or even study abroad, but any article or study will prove to you and your parents that traveling abroad will always reap its benefits.To be tactful, I’ll consider myself and incorporate my personal professional path: Public Relations. I at first had a hard time convincing my parents to let me study in Barcelona, Spain during my junior year of college. Through research and online browsing, I was able to prove to them that any PR firm I would later want to work for, has international clients. It is so rare that firms solely focus on domestic work. Global communication and international relations are extremely crucial. Adults are thriving off of young adults that are bi-lingual and have the desire to travel and engage with new cultures and people.If you are past the convincing point, and are ready to begin your international quest, I provide you with some recommendations. First, go to a travel/outdoor store such as REI and purchase:
- a large backpack
- a bed sheet
- a PackTowl (a fast absorbing towel)
- money belts/undercover pouches
- electronic converters
The rest of the items you will need can be purchased along the way and at various stores. To help you begin planning your trip, I recommend visiting Lets Go travel site. This site is devoted to travel planning for young adults and those on a budget- trust me, budgeting will be key! Once you have selected with countries you are interested in, spend some time on Hostel world. This site gives you access to hostels all over the world. You can book directly from this site, read reviews and recommendations, browse through photos, and figure out which hostel is best for you. For the more adventurous and cost-saving type, I recommend Couch Surfing. The wonderful thing about Couch Surfing is that it is free and allows you to stay with other travelers from all over the world!Okay, so now that you have considered housing, lets move on to travel. When traveling Europe, people used to rely on the Eurorail. I personally think it is only necessary when you are traveling at a busy time and want to hit numerous countries in a short amount of time. There are tons of airline Web sites that have flights that are extremely affordable. I recommend the search engine Sky Scanner and the low-cost airline, Ryan Air. My only warning with Ryan Air is that although the flights are dirt-cheap, the airline only flies out of small suburbs. If you have the time and are willing to travel a little longer, I recommend using this airline. The wonderful thing about Europe is its use of regional airlines. For every country you will be visiting, I recommend checking out their countries’ main Airline for cheap deals and tickets.If you ever have questions or would like to chat with fellow travelers, join TravelBlog. I was hooked the minute I chatted with college students who were able to give great reviews and wonderful recommendations. This site is clearly layed out by geographical region and can answer any question you may ever have!I hope this blog helped and gave you the motivation to travel overseas and experience a life that is so foreign and un-known. CARPE DIEM!