So you've graduated: Now what?

School's out forever, and you may be wondering what to do next. How about travel, suggests Emily House, in the first of four guides to the first days of the rest of your life

As students we are all expected to have some idea of our lives after university. After all, we chose our degree path to fit, right? Well, unfortunately not all of us are that decisive.

While some of us have a clear plan of what lies ahead after graduation, others have no idea and with our final years of education fast approaching it’s about time we made up our minds.

This four-part series will look at the most popular choices for students when finishing their courses: travel, internships, postgraduate study and work. We will be looking at what each of these involves; the pros, the cons and most importantly if this is the path best suited to you, providing all the information you need to make an informed decision about life after university.

Travel

What it involves

Travelling after university is the ideal way to gather world experiences and knowledge but it involves a lot of planning. Organisation is key, whether you want to travel alone or with friends, and there is a lot to take into account. For example, where do you want to go? How long for? Do you need to save? Hostel or hotel? What’s your budget? The list is endless. So, before you start booking flights do some research and think about what you want to get out of your trip.

What it costs

This is a tricky topic when it comes to travel. As you can guess the cost of your trip is dependent on where you want to go. For example a tour around Europe can cost you north of £1,000, but travelling around America could total that in flights alone. However, destination isn’t the only factor you need to consider. The length of your trip will also affect its cost. Location and length of stay are the two main factors in the cost of your travels.

However, there are a few ways to whittle down the price. For example, websites such as Contiki.com, who specialise in holidays for the 18-35s, offer a number of deals to save you money. These include everything from last minute offers to discounts for early payment and group bookings. Another way to save is to look into booking parts of your trip separately - this, although time consuming, can save you money in the long run.

How to go about it

A great tip is asking for advice from travellers you know. Where do they book their trips? Have their experiences been what they expected? Is there anything you need to consider? After that it’s all up to you. When booking your travels there are a few different options.

There are many online travel companies that you can book with such as Gadventures.com that offer a one-stop shop for tours and flights.  However, if you’re not afraid of a little bit of research, booking your travel separately - whether online or through a travel agent - can give you greater freedom and save you money.

What you need to remember

Travelling can be an amazing experience but there is a lot you need to remember. Make sure you consider the worst-case scenario. It might come across as a bit of a downer but it is always best to be prepared for the worst. If you are planning on working while you travel, what happens if you can’t find a job? What will you do if you run out of money? What do you do if there are problems with your booking?

Remember to ask the important questions to make sure any problems can be solved or prevented. It might also be worth thinking about the ramifications of travelling straight out of university. For example, missed opportunities in the job and housing market might be something you want to consider.

What makes this right for you?

If travelling, experiencing and seeing the world is something that’s important to you then it’s likely this is the choice for you. If you want to make the most of your freedom or are interested in a life living aboard, travelling could offer you the opportunity to explore and get involved in different cultures. Travelling also provides a great experience for those who are unsure of their career paths; giving people the opportunity to explore different parts of the world and discover new things while deciding on their future plans.

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