College is where you find out who you are. Nothing can better prepare you for the “real world” than traveling. It opens your mind and heart, teaches you valuable life skills and gets you outside of your comfort zone. Here are five epic trips every college student should take!
I am a huge advocate for study abroad programs! My 5-week summer study trip to Greece literally changed my life. Not only did I make friends I am STILL in close contact with four years later, it started my obsession with travel and learning about other countries. I wouldn’t have this blog if it weren’t for that trip!
You can go all over the world on study abroad, and the cool thing is that you are immersed in a new country without any hassle of planning the trip. I recommend this to anyone who has never travelled internationally before because you’re with groups 85% of the time, your accommodation and itinerary is set, and you have knowledgable professors leading you around!
In case you hadn’t noticed, the United States is HUGE! It takes 47 hours to drive from Portland, Oregon to Portland, Maine. Grabbing some friends, packing up snacks and hitting the road is one of the best summertime activities. Living in the midwest, I am very central and have pretty easy access to the rest of the country meaning I’ve road-tripped east, south and west!
Nothing beats those awesome drives through Nebraska with the windows down, or stopping at local attractions and restaurants on your way. Road trips aren’t so much about the destination as they are about the journey too.
I remember seeing flyers posted all over campus for various volunteer trips around the world, especially to Africa and Central America. This is such a cool thing to do because you see how local sustainability is working to improve the environment, animal life and people!
These trips also usually include a few sightseeing tours, so you can see the highlights of the country you’re in as well. Go Eco is an awesome company that hosts volunteers trips all around the world, anywhere from 1-12 weeks. Flying the Nest has worked with them on numerous volunteer trips including Costa Rica, Cambodia & China (to name just a few!)
I remember the first time I flew by myself. I was seventeen and I was heading to New York City for the very first time! I had to work the kiosk, airport security, find my gate, internalize my fear of flying & make my way to baggage claim in LaGuardia to meet my cousin ALL ON MY OWN. It seemed so daunting at the time, and it makes me laugh looking back because I’ve literally travelled to China and back by myself now and didn’t think anything of it.
I also signed up for study abroad on my own, heading internationally for the first time without know a single person. It seemed kinda scary, but I was so looking forward to everyone I would meet on the trip and I’m so glad I did it!
Take baby steps towards solo travel. Do the actual traveling on your own (airports, trains, busses, etc) then try a group tour on your own, then start taking breaks from the group and exploring on your own, then try taking an entire solo trip. After spending a few days exploring Beijing on my own I know I can travel solo, and it’s one of my goals this summer to take my first entirely solo trip. I just know it’s going to be amazing.
You learn so much about yourself when you solo travel. You learn to problem solve, critically think, adapt and become flexible, and you also interact with locals more!
The last trip every college kid needs to take is the infamous Euro Trip. Going to Europe is basically a right of passage for American college students, and after visiting multiple times, it’s easy to fall in love with Europe! It’s an awesome place to grab some friends and jet off too because there are so many similar aspects. I see Europe as the stepping stone to the rest of the world.
Whether you live abroad a few months, or study abroad a few weeks, everyone will love Europe. I love the cappuccinos and croissants, old architecture, easy train travel, fashion and vast history of Europe. It’s charming, and something everyone needs to do.
I consider Germany like my second home after living there for four months, and I know living abroad helped me grow as person and open my eyes to other lifestyles! Grab some friends, pick your top countries and by a train ticket. It’s time for the trip of a lifetime!
Did you do any of these trips in college? Let me know in the comments below!