I mentioned a while back that a favourite among students when it comes to the monumentally huge summer break is to spend some time travelling.
This isn’t even exclusive to third-year graduates either; the summer is big enough to cover lots of new ground, even if you’re planning on heading back down here to Southampton in September.
If you’re like me, and libraries and textbooks have very much taken over your life as of late, a change of scenery is usually a pretty exciting idea. The only question that remains from here is ‘Where?’
It seems almost a silly question, but believe it or not, the world is pretty darn enormous, and thanks to this little thing called globalisation more recently, travelling to some of the more far-out destinations isn’t quite as difficult as you might think. Almost anything is on the cards; this is one of the only times in your life that you’re likely to have the freedom to completely up-sticks and wander the globe, so why not use it?
If the world is quite literally your oyster, how do you narrow it down enough to actually pull together a manageable trip? Sure, we’d all love to go everywhere, but time and money don’t usually prevail in the way we’d like them to.
Here are some things to consider when planning your trip:
With any luck, I’ll hopefully be finding myself back here in sunny Vancouver come the summer!
Like I’ve already said, this is likely to be one of the only times in your life you will have the ability to spread your wings and go where you want to go. Ask yourself: where is the one place on Earth that I’ve always wanted to travel to?
It might be Japan, it might be Peru, it might be Africa; everyone is different. Try not to fall into the same old student cycle of simply just going to the most popular destinations. True, a lot of students do go to Australia and Thailand, but that doesn’t mean that you have to if you’re interested in going somewhere else. Be creative and surprise yourself!
This doesn’t just mean the people you’re travelling with (although it’s always a good idea to at least have a partner along for the ride!). Think about people you may know in other countries, and if you might be able to stay with them. It’ll cut the budget in half and the chances are you’ll form a great new/reignited friendship out of it too.
When I sat down to plan something for the summer, I started plotting the family I’m in touch with in the US and Canada and found a way to connect between four different cities. It might just be couch-surfing, but it’ll certainly give me a more authentic and a significantly cheaper travelling experience overall!
Sadly this ends up being the be-all and end-all of most trips. New Zealand might sound like a blast but the flights will likely set you back an entire year’s worth of rent, and the same goes for quite a few places. Have an idea in your head of how much money you’re able to spend/fundraise, and try to craft your trip realistically around that.
Some countries will be cheaper than others in terms of living costs (food etc.), but remember to factor in the money you might lose in exchange fees on currency or on tourist VISA applications.
Depending on what happens in next month’s referendum, Europe is a (potentially) cheap and beautiful alternative to world travel - Amsterdam is definitely worth a visit!
Still, with a decent amount of planning, you could find yourself living it up in an entirely different part of the world in a few months - certainly an exciting prospect if you’re still chained to a desk with deadlines looming.