Should You Work or Travel after Graduation?

Every student dreams of traveling when they’re in school. With little time for anything other than studying, the last thing any student wants after graduation is to spend all their time working. However, the voice of reason in your mind always asks if that is wise. College tuition and textbooks weren’t cheap. As an Unbound student, chances are you managed to graduate debt-free, but that doesn’t mean you have a lot of money to spend on traveling. So, you have a decision to make… Should you work or travel after graduation?     The voice of reason in your head strongly advises you to work. Living life costs money. And a savings. You should probably have one of those too, right? If you spend all that money on traveling, what will you be left with when you return? While living costs are a valid concern, it is probably not best for your mental sanity to jump right into work without any time to relax and recharge. Those long months of study weren’t easy on your brain, and some downtime would be beneficial to help you work more proficiently in the months to come.      So, you should travel! Right?     Well, most people think of travel as an extensive, expensive trip: touring Europe, taking a cruise, vacationing in Hawaii, etc. If you have the resources to do that without going broke, it sounds like a lot of fun, and it will probably be a great experience for you. But, if you are like most freshly graduated college students, you probably don’t have the resources to do that.     Traveling doesn’t have to mean an expensive out-of-the-country tour. It can be something simple such as taking a day to go on a bike ride to someplace you’ve never been before. Or going on a hike to someplace new. You may argue that those options aren’t traveling, but according to Merriam-Webster, travel is “to journey through or over.” You can journey over sidewalks, hills, dirt paths, etc. on a hike or a bike ride; thus, both of those are a form of travel.     Okay, okay, but you want to really travel. Go someplace special. Do something extraordinary. But you also know you need to work.      After I graduated from college, I did both. I have a part-time job, and so far this year, I have traveled to Indiana twice to visit a friend, to Ecuador on a mission’s trip, to Kansas for a writing conference, to Walnut Creek Amish country for a mini family trip, to Chicago to visit family and friends, and to Michigan for APEX. So, I have traveled. And worked. And done school (because if you don’t know what you want to do after graduation, might as well go back to school and try to figure something out, right?).  Both working and traveling after graduation is possible. However, you must realistically set your expectations for travel. You probably won’t be able to take off work for multiple weeks a year to travel the world. But that doesn’t mean you can’t travel.  Here are three ways you can both travel and work after graduation:

Visit a friend


As Unbound students, I am sure you have friends who live in a different town or even out-of-state. One of my best friends lives around four hours away from me in Indiana; thus, I have been able to see her twice this year on a weekend trip. I pack my bags for the weekend and drive to her house after my last day of work. It isn’t a long period of time that I am able to visit since work calls me home; however, both times have been wonderful weekends of relaxation and fun. All without taking off any work! Because I took these weekend trips, though, I could come back to work the next week feeling mentally rejuvenated and more motivated to work harder.  So, consider taking a weekend trip here and there to visit a friend. It is much more inexpensive than taking a lengthy vacation, but it is just as rewarding and relaxing! 

Visit a big city


Do you want to do something a bit more touristy? Then visit a major US city! Depending on the time of year, flights to major airports can be cheaper. And you can even watch for airline deals to get flights to select cities for even cheaper! When you arrive at the city, meals and board can be costly. However, if you can find an Airbnb or a family member or friend to stay with, it will greatly reduce the costs. Lastly, packing your meals rather than eating out will also help keep the trip as inexpensive as possible. If you don’t know where to go on your tour of the city or would prefer to have something planned for you, purchasing something such as a city pass will give you several great options of popular places to visit in the city.

Go on a mission’s trip


This option obviously requires more time off and seems way more expensive, but God provides in miraculous ways if it is His will for you to go. I went on the 2017 Lumerit Scholar Unbound: Ecuador trip. It completely changed my life. I didn’t think I would be able to go because of taking off work and keeping up with school and having the money to finance it; however, God provided for me.  After a lot of prayer and not being able to go on the 2016 trip, I decided to apply for the 2017 Ecuador trip. When I requested the time off, my boss was enthusiastic about it, amazed that I had the opportunity to travel out of the country and minister to the Ecuadorians. That solved the problem of taking the time off. Then God provided with my school schedule in that the ten days I would be gone were a light week of schoolwork. My biggest worry for the trip was financially, yet God blessed me tremendously through the support of family and friends. A note on this option: a mission’s trip should not be taken just to travel out of the country. A mission’s trip is an amazing ministry opportunity to show others the love of Christ and spread the Gospel. Please pray and see whether or not it is God’s will for you to go on a mission’s trip and spread His love and His gospel. However, if God is prompting you to go on a mission’s trip, check out the 2018 Lumerit Scholar Unbound: Ecuador trip! It’ll be an experience that will change your life. All this being said, should you work or travel after graduation? My recommendation would be to do both. Take some time to recharge yourself by traveling to visit friends or going to a new city or pray about going on a mission’s trip and spreading the love of Christ. But travel doesn’t have to be lavish and break the bank. It can be something as simple as taking a hike or a bike ride as well. Doing smaller trips allows you not only to travel but also to work, satisfying the voice of reason in your mind and giving you a break from the constant stress of work and school. Written by Megan Shupp

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