The Complete Guide to Post-Grad Travel Planning

Female tourist taking photo of Sacre-Coeur cathedralAsk most working-age people if there’s one thing they wish they would have done before entering the workforce and the resounding answer will be travel. That innate wanderlust is deeply rooted in the mind of many, and locking into a job right after college can put your travel dreams on indefinite hold.

But with some careful planning and amazing deals through Rakuten, your journey doesn’t have to be just a dream. You can go scuba diving in Costa Rica or learn to cook in Italy. You can take up painting in France or meditate in Nepal. More and more companies are looking at travel experience when considering employees, so it may be just the right touch to add to your resume. After all, your journey will teach you independence, money-management skills, language skills, leadership and cultural understanding that will help you stand out from the crowd.

With a little planning and creativity, you can see the world in ways you never imagined. Allow this guide to post-grad travel to help you along the way with money-saving tips and graduation travel ideas.

Woman writing out travel plans with mapStep 1: Preparing the Post-Grad Travel Plan

Any college student gorging themselves on dorm-room staples like ramen noodles and pizza can tell you that funds are pretty tight. The retail or food-industry job that you work part time may not pay as much as you would like, but with careful planning you can make your travel dreams a reality.

Be mindful of how you spend your money, and stick to your savings plan. Arrange for a specific amount to be set aside for your spendable budget. Many services can pull specific amounts directly out of your bank account or you can stow away the funds the old fashioned way. You can even get a rewards credit card to cash in on all of those necessary purchases. Just be sure you stick to the plan, even if that means a lot more Friday nights spent in your room over a hot plate of ramen. That sorority social and manicure are well worth skipping to save for your post-grad travel plans.

How much you need to save is based entirely on your travel goals. A domestic road trip is a great low-cost option that will allow you to get to know your homeland better. International travel, although more costly, allows you to discover other cultures for a more worldly appreciation. Some international destinations, such as Ecuador, Thailand, India and Bolivia, are great for seeing the world without spending a fortune.

Wherever you end up, your travel doesn’t have to be a money-draining experience. A fellowship can fund your travel, and many are awarded based on specific interests or majors. You can also take on a position teaching English as a Second Language in many countries. More and more students are able to afford overseas adventures by taking on freelance work through sites like Upwork and Craigslist. Computer programming, writing and graphic design can often be performed from anywhere, allowing you to bring in extra money while still touring the world. There are plenty of work abroad opportunities available for the right person.

Woman shopping online with laptop and credit cardStep 2: Making the Arrangements

Now that you’ve sorted through your college graduation trip ideas, chosen your destination and rounded up all your funds, it’s time to start making the arrangements for your big journey. Getting there is half the battle, and Travelocity Air can help you find great deals on plane tickets. There is no magical day to buy plane tickets, but research indicates that 54 days before your trip may be the key number. Keep your dates open to find the cheapest flights. Some companies even offer student travel deals to accommodate post-grad travel plans. These student travel programs allow you to make the most of your vacation planning. They may even provide you with new graduation travel ideas with more nearby destinations along the way.

Remember to do plenty of research to get the best deal on your graduation trip ideas. Sites like Groupon Getaways can not only get you great deals on plane tickets and hotel accommodations, but also often feature a promo code to help you save even more. Plus, with Cash Back at Rakuten, you’ll find the best deals and earn money back on each qualifying purchase. You’ll even be able to save on international travel with airline tickets from British Airways, Emirates and Air France.

Woman on zipline in the forestStep 3: Stick to the Plan, but Allow for Extras

Your carefully crafted travel arrangements and frugal college spending have afforded you the trip of a lifetime, so make the most of it. The sharing economy has reached a high point, allowing you to get much more than ride shares for cheap or free. Accommodations, meals, tours and more can be done at a discount. Even accounting for these opportunities, it’s probably a good idea to set aside a bit of extra money for plans that fall through.

No matter how much you’re saving, don’t forget to plan for the unexpected in your expenditures. You might discover a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity while you’re traveling in the Netherlands or find that that exotic cuisine in Japan didn’t sit well and warrants medical attention the next morning.

Although you may enjoy a color-coded itinerary of events, a bit of spontaneity can add to the adventure and help you form valuable life skills. Pick up travel guides from Lonely Planet, but also dine at local favorites or randomly zipline over the forest canopy.

Step 4: Enjoy Yourself!

Most importantly, enjoy yourself out there. Capture every fleeting moment to immortalize the journey of a lifetime. Whether you choose a destination based on your studies or decide to volunteer with WWOOF and learn about organic farming, we hope you have an unforgettable experience and relish the adventure!

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