Seeing the world on a shoestring budget

Traveling after graduation doesn’t have to break the bank

It’s inevitable to feel unsure of what to do after graduating post-secondary school. People will sometimes choose to continue their education by pursuing a graduate degree. Others will try and get their foot in the door by finding a full-time job. However, with no mortgage to worry about and no family to take care of just yet, some post-graduates will often choose to travel before settling into their career or furthering their education.

While the lack of commitments to anything back home is a decent enough excuse to explore the world, it’s not ideal to blow one’s entire life savings on a single vacation. Although it may sound difficult to cut back on a dream trip abroad, it is still possible to save money and have a fun experience to be remembered for years to come.

Plan ahead and save on expenses

According to an article by Value Penguin, transportation, food and lodging are the most expensive components to travel. With this in mind, it’s important to plan months in advance in order to maintain a tight budget.

Soon after graduating from Ryerson/X University’s computer science program, Danica Velarde travelled to Japan with her cousins. Months prior to the actual trip, the group planned meticulously which allowed them to find cheaper flights, hotels and transportation. 

“Planning ahead can definitely help with cost options for hotels and transportation to optimize your travel experience,” she says.

During their trip, Velarde and her cousins stayed at capsule hotels—also known as pod hotels—which provide tourists with basic and affordable accommodations. The group also made sure that these hotels were located close enough to the sights they wished to see, or near a train station so that they could avoid paying for taxi fares. 

“We relied heavily on Japan’s public transit, which was super convenient. They had Wi-Fi on board, and the trains were always on time,” Velarde says. She also found that buying transit passes helped her save money in the long run with its unlimited trips perk. 

Solo versus group travel

Travelling with others is a great way to alleviate accommodation expenses and maintain a tight budget.  Many places even offer group rates for those who choose not to travel solo.

But travelling with others can be difficult, especially when trying to map out personal itineraries. 

Kevin Wagar is a family travel blogger who runs the blog Wandering Wagars. Having travelled globally with his wife and children, he recognizes the importance of making sure everyone on the trip is having an enjoyable experience.

“Whenever you travel with someone, they might not have the same expectations of the places that you’re visiting as you do. They might not want to see the same thing as you might want to,” he says. “It’s important to know that just because you’re on the trip, it doesn’t mean that somebody else isn’t on the trip too. So work together and plan and lay out those things that you want to do.”

Ignore social media

Social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok are known to glamourize various aspects of life, and travel is no exception. 

A Forbes article says that Instagram has caused an influx of unrealistic travel expectations among millennials. Several users base their trips off of the information posted on the platform, with some even prioritizing that their vacation looks “Instagram-able” rather than actually enjoying their time.

Wagar encourages those on tight budgets to ignore social media when planning their trip.

“A lot of social media stuff is focused on the highlights of a trip, like the coolest thing that anyone could do,” he says. “They look awesome, but you don’t realize how crappy the rest of their trip was, because all they were focused on is getting that one photo.”

Wagar believes that there are certain smaller-scale and affordable elements of travel that will make trips far more enjoyable than trying to get a single Instagram photo. Trying street food, getting to know the locals and appreciating their culture are some little ways to make a vacation memorable without breaking the bank.

“It’s not about great hotels. It’s not about getting the coolest view or having the most expensive beer or anything,” he says. “It’s about going out and having an adventure that you’re going to come home from, grow from and become a person who has a deeper view of how the world works around you. That’s the real adventure on any trip.”

About the author

Alyssa Bravo is a former reporter for Youth Mind. She is a coffee fiend and likes music, movies and food. She wishes to travel to Italy and Greece, and hopes she’ll live to see the day the Toronto Maple Leafs win their 14th championship. When she’s not writing, you can probably find her watching videos of dogs or baby pandas.

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