It’s that time of year again. University students all over the country are about to face their biggest wake up call to date. As the end of term approaches the realisation will set in that mornings do exist, daytime television is actually appalling and student debt has become a reality.

Gap year experiences -
Gap year experiences

The next step for graduates is crucial and there are plenty of directions to take, some more appealing than others. Firstly, there’s the stay at home and ‘sell your soul’ to a temping agency option or perhaps duller still, noisy factory production line work, which so many graduates are forced into when their academic careers finish. A second option would have been to secure a place on a prestigious graduate training scheme before leaving university but not every student is that fortunate or organised!
A third option is to leave the country. And let’s face it, if the alternative is packing chickens in a temperature controlled warehouse on a dull industrial estate, the whole overseas ‘thing’ suddenly becomes a lot more appealing.
Factory Work - Saving to Travel
Factory work – a bit monotonous but can help save for your trip!

Some argue that a gap year spent travelling is simply just blatant avoidance of responsibility and ‘getting a proper job’, whilst others understand the benefits of independent travel and would strongly recommend it before embarking on a career.
The benefit of travelling as soon as you graduate is that you are not tied into a job because once your career starts its harder and a little scarier to leave if you’ve been receiving a salary and have commitments.
The more places you see the more confident and more open minded you become. It broadens your horizons to the point where you say to yourself ‘I could go and live somewhere else’ and you actually have the courage to go ahead and do it.
Taking a gap year abroad can also boost your skillset for future employers, for example, your organisational skills are improved by co-ordinating your own travel itinerary and interpersonal skills develop because you’re meeting new people day in day out. It also gives you a little bit more time to build character and confidence.
Travelling the globe does require some brain work. The early decisions’ concerning flights and routes form the rough direction of your entire trip. The beginning is also the most expensive part. Common routes for fresh faced graduate travellers are Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore then onto Australasia, some then choose to return via North America and some come back via South America which is becoming more popular. A lot of people include Australia and New Zealand because they’ve heard fantastic stories from family and friends and they can even work out there and there’s no language barriers, although a thick kiwi accent can be tricky to understand at times!
The price can cause a few headaches but savings can be made depending on the time you travel the price depends on the time of year you travel. Fuel prices can dramatically affect prices when you consider how much aviation fuel you’ll be using to encircle the globe. However a RTW (round-the-world ticket) is still good value. Shop around for prices and you could get a multi-stop London – New York – Miami – LA – NZ – Sydney – Hong Kong – London from £899 including tax. Prices tend to go up in November and December but it’s actually not bad value of you compare that to a two week package holiday these days.
As cash is in usually in scarce supply on graduation, the ability to work abroad is more of a necessity than a choice. True, the jobs may be menial, but topping up your tan on a vineyard or serving drinks whilst flirting with hordes of foreigners in distant climes has to be more appealing than the night shift at the local chicken factory. Working holiday visa’s provide a great way to interact with the locals in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where cash earned can help fund further onward travel.
Volunteering abroad is also becoming a popular post-university choice. It provides a great way to gain relevant work experience which employers view very highly indeed. More and more people are buying up volunteer project packages because they want to give something back to the local communities.  Programmes can