6 Reasons to Travel Before University

POSTED BY Mavy | May 6, 2015
Label: Adventure Travel, Food Travel, Safari Holidays, Travel Tips

To travel, or not to travel, that is the question.

Should you take a year out before university to explore the world? Is a pre higher education hiatus really a good idea? Of course it is, and here are six reasons why!

1. There will never be a better time

You may find this hard to contemplate right now, but at some point you’ll be a proper grown up with all kinds of responsibilities, if you don’t go travelling now, you may never go at all.

Take advantage of this precious time, free from student debt, a mortgage and dependents and head for the hills (or the beaches).

With the majority of backpackers touring the world in their late teens and early twenties you’ll certainly be in good company when it comes to all those hostel dorms.

2. It will help you “find yourself”

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It’s a cliche we know, but even if you’ve travelled a lot with your parents or been away for breaks with your friends, there’s nothing quite like the independence gap year travel to help you discover who you really are.

Immersing yourself in different cultures and journeying from one country to the next across vast continents can make you feel rather small, in a good way.

Those who’ve been feeling all “big fish in a small pond” can shake it off and enjoy the freedom of being anonymous, while those previously lacking in confidence can feel empowered to reinvent themselves, free from the constraints of their home town.

3. It can make you have a more successful career

With the gradate market now flooded, employers are looking for candidates with a point of difference. Showing you have the curiosity and confidence to travel to far flung destinations and learn foreign languages can be a real plus when it comes to future job interviews.

Or even better, why not look at working abroad? Volunteering can look great on your CV, while other options, such as TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), can be an immediate entry point into jobs in exciting places, meaning you could bypass university all together.

4. It could make you a more interesting/better person

Travelling before University guarantees one thing… you’ll have some great stories. Not only will there be no fear of feeling like the dull one in your halls of residence, but these experiences will be great conversational currency for years to come.

On a more serious note, visiting less developed countries can provide a great deal of perspective. Learning how much you take for granted first hand is something that will stay with you forever.

5. You’ll make friends all over the world

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Even if you’re from somewhere with lots of diversity, the chance to make friends with people with different backgrounds and cultures is an incredible opportunity.

Not only can you have lots of fun learning from them and exploring their different traditions, you may also create life long friendships with people who live in interesting places - and let’s face it, after the expense of university, you might need some cheap holiday options…

6. If you don’t do it, you’ll probably regret it

OK, so we can’t be sure on this one. But we don’t think many people spend their twilight years saying, “I really wish I hadn’t bothered travelling to all those exciting places when I was younger, I mean, it was just too much fun…”.

Making your travelling dreams a reality


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While the idea of just packing a bag and heading off into the world is all rather romantic, in reality it’s best to put in a least some planning.

If you are considering volunteering or want to apply for a work visa in a foreign country you’ll certainly need to think ahead.

Volunteer schemes have limited places and can be costly, so do your research and get booked in if you spot something you feel passionate about doing.

Foreign work visas are much easier to obtain when you’re under 30, another great reason to travel now, but there can still be restricted numbers and requirements you’ll have to meet, so make sure you have a visa secured before confirming your travel plans.

For work in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, BUNAC (bunac.org) is a good place to start. An entryway to paid positions at workplaces ranging from summer camps to bars, they’ve been helping people find work abroad since the 1960s.


It’s important to come up with a daily or weekly budget, then make sure you tailor it to your destination.

With accommodation and living costs varying widely from place to place it’s vital you’ll have enough money available for your trip.

Even the most meticulously researched budget can be rocked by unexpected costs if anything is lost or broken, or you need to amend your travel plans, so make sure you have some kind of emergency fund and only dip into it if it really is an emergency. Not a beer emergency.


Drawing up your backpacking routes and booking transport fis the best part of preparing for your trip - but don’t be afraid to go a bit off piste once you get there.

If you find you want to spend longer somewhere that’s supposed to be a stopover, or less time at a place you’re due to be for weeks, be bold enough to tweak your plans and make it work for you.

After all, you’ll probably only get to do this once.

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