A big dilemma that I have at the moment, and that I am sure many others have, is whether to drop everything and do some travelling while I’m young. It is something that I have always wanted to do and somehow it’s never the right time. The more I think about it, the more that I realise it will probably never be the perfect time. There will always be something in the way. Realistically, I am thinking of taking 3 weeks of annual leave in a row to have a mini adventure this year, take as many mini breaks as I can and then one day (hopefully after saving up a lot of money!) I can travel for more of an extended period of time.
Anyway, I thought it might be useful to compile a list of reasons for and against taking some time to travel as a graduate. I have found that a lot of articles lean towards travelling and so I wanted to look at both sides. It would be great to hear others experiences of actually travelling or deciding not to travel.
Benefits of working straight out of university
Save up money
A benefit of having a job after university is that it gives you the opportunity to save up money. For me it was not an option to go straight into travelling even if I worked abroad as I needed to know that I would have more than enough money to support myself afterwards when I got home accommodation wise.
Money isn’t everything but it does help.
You might want to get a job as a graduate to save up for travelling, holidays, a house, the lifestyle that you want etc. and so travelling, and perhaps not bringing in any money from a stable job, isn’t for everyone.
(please note: I know that there are freelance/flexible jobs that exist but I’m just writing from my experience of most jobs that grads tend to be able to get straight out of university!)
Gain professional experience
Sometimes having some work experience on your CV can feel like a huge weight off your shoulders. Before I finished university I didn’t have much experience in my sector which meant that I was very lucky to find my job. Now that I have a job within my sector I feel confident that should I ever want to take time out of my job I would be able to get another similar job within this professional sector. That’s not to say that I couldn’t get some great CV enhancing experience whilst travelling. However, in my sector professional experience in the legal setting is important.
You can still travel using annual leave
Even if travelling is something you really want to do, you don’t have to choose between work and travel. Especially in the UK with generous holiday allowances you can pack in a lot of travel throughout the year. With an at least 5 paid weeks off a year there is no excuse not to squeeze in travel whilst you work.
Benefits of going travelling straight out of university
Time to reflect
A lot of people come out of university without a clue what to do with themselves, myself included. Travelling can give you some time to reflect and consider what you do want to do after being in such a structured environment for at least a few years at university.
Sometimes it is difficult to think about your next step when you’re in a full time job. However, when you’re travelling you have the chance to experience so much. Importantly, you get to experience different cultures and have the time to reflect on what you actually enjoy, or don’t enjoy, in life.
Nothing tying you down
If travelling is something that you want to do, and you have the means, going straight after university is probably a great idea. This is a time in your life when you don’t have much tying you down which makes it so much easier to get up and go.
You can go travelling without leaving behind a mortgage, a job or any serious commitments behind straight after uni. That’s not to say commitments make travel impossible. However, I imagine travelling without things tying you down makes the whole experience much easier.
I definitely want to do some travelling for an extended period of time at some point! However, for me right now is not the best time. I will make do with my annual leave for now 🙂
I think writing this article has made me realise that the best option is to do what feels right for you. If now is the right time to travel – go for it! If now isn’t and you want to prioritise other things in your life that’s fine too!
It would be great to hear some other thoughts on Travel vs. Work.