Tips for RTW Trip Planning for College Graduates

graduating college

Updated September 30, 2016.

Round-the-world (RTW) travel is extremely popular with recent college grads, and may even be the most important thing a person can do after college, regardless of what your bank statement and common sense may tell you.

If you’re a recent grad and the thought of jumping into a hyper-competitive job market makes you sick, why not get some travel under your belt. Studies show that employers are taking a person’s travel experience into account when hiring, so taking that long-term trip may actually make a difference in your job search later on.

Here are a few other reasons why you should take a RTW trip after graduation:

  • Get volunteer experience
  • Build money management skills
  • Aquire a language
  • Hone intercultural and interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrate your independence and entrepreneurship
  • Work on leadership and self-management
  • Take time to decide just what you’re going to do with your life

How to plan your post-graduation RTW trip

  1. Save money

Because as a grad you’re probably not rolling in dough, so the first step is figuring out how to save money for long-term travel. FYI, it’s possible (if not easy) to save the kind of money you need working part time.

The trip will require a certain amount of money to get off the ground – take these steps and you’ll be on your way to reaching your savings goal:

  • Create a savings plan: write it down, stick to it.
  • Reduce your expenditures: buy less in general. If it’s not absolutely necessary, don’t spend money on it.
  • Rethink going out for a while: stay in more than you go out. If you must, hit up house parties, not bars or restaurants.
  • Sell some of your stuff: get rid of the things you don’t use or need.

Here are more suggestions on how to save money for traveling.

2. Choose destinations carefully.

Think about where you’re going on your trip and choose destinations that are less expensive where your money will go farther. Here’s a list of a few parts of the world where the US dollar goes farther:

  • Southeast Asia
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Eastern Europe

A great way to make your money last is to pick one or two great spots and stay as long as possible. This works in a couple ways:

  • Allows you to take advantage of long-term rental prices, which always work out to be cheaper than short-term hotel or hostel stays.
  • Allows you to find cheaper options for eating and adventuring. If you’ve got a month in one place you’ll get to know the area and find less expensive restaurants and activities.

What to do while you’re out there

Travel to London after graduationExplore

It’s why most of us travel: to see what’s out there. No idea where to start? UNESCO World Heritage Sites make some of the most interesting places to explore. You could even build your entire itinerary around them–there are nearly 1,000 cultural, natural and mixed property sites worldwide so it’ll be easy to find one or one hundred you like. Make a list of your favorites, plot them out on TripPlanner and see how much it’ll cost to get there.

Work

Bolster your trip with some extra income and keep it alive and well.

Teaching English is a popular option. Give it a go by offering private tutoring to locals if you’re staying in a place for a while.  Or consider getting placement for a position with Transitions Abroad. For better salaries, check out government programs like the Jet Program in Japan.

Do some research at Dave’s ESL Café. If you’re really interested in this option, you should probably get a TEFL teaching certificate before you go.

Another possibility is remote work with a company (if you already have a job that can be done from any where) or as a freelancer. You might have to limit your destinations to those with reliable internet, but that’s a small price to pay for income on the road.

Become an au pair

Au pair is a fancy word for nanny. There are associations where you can get official certificates to look after children in host countries and get room, board and a weekly allowance in exchange.

Volunteer

Whatever your interests are, chances are there’s a volunteer opportunity out there for you. From working in orphanages to seasonal work on organic farms, there are lots of ways to help a wide variety of charitable organizations.

Intern

What’s more impressive than a highly-sought after internship at home? An international one. Why not pay your dues in a foreign country and learn another language to boot?

Learn

Want to learn something new on the road? The possibilities are endless:

  • Cooking – Thailand, Mexico, Brazil
  • Yoga – India
  • Meditation – Laos, Nepal, Japan, Tibet, India
  • Tango – Buenos Aires
  • Flamenco Guitar – Spain
  • Language – anywhere
  • Scuba diving – Colombia, Costa Rica, Australia, Malaysia
  • Rafting – Laos, Peru, China

Get out there already!

It’s always a good time to get out there and see the world, but after graduation is a particularly perfect moment to make some flexible travel plans and get to know yourself again far from home, outside your comfort zone in a foreign country.  A post-college RTW trip gives you a chance to get to know the world before you make important choices about what you want out of life, and what you can do with your talents. You’ll come back with the kind of drive and knowledge that can only be acquired with real-world experience–the one thing employers are always complaining new graduates lack.

Photo Credits: sippakornMichaelpuche.

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