Best graduation trip ideas 2017
Your grad trip will be one to remember when you go out of your comfort zone to these places. Compare the best travel insurance for your grad trip on GoBear!
Have you just stepped out of the exam hall for the very last time? Fantastic! You are in a sweet spot in life where you get to do two things: throw all your lecture notes in the air without a care in the world, and finally embark on that grad trip you have been dreaming about in your cramped dorm room. May we remind you that your grad trip is also the last bastion of fun that stands before you and adult-ing. So you might want to worry a little less about why you are not headhunted yet, and more on where you should be booking a flight out to.
Although there are no guarantees in life, we are positive these grad trip mock-ups will leave you and your friends with enough anecdotes to fill the pages of a novel.
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Tour Southeast Asia on the cheap
The great thing about this itinerary is that it fits a fresh grad’s limited budget, and it doesn’t require uncomfortably long flights. Depending on how long you plan to travel, your Tour de S.E.A can be done in several ways. For trips lasting no more than two weeks, you could organize the ultimate urbanite’s delight and soak up an action-packed city life.
Start by booking a flight out to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for their amazing pho and cold drip coffee. Then, you could either skip over to Mui Ne in Southeastern Vietnam, or Danang in the Central for a quiet beach getaway. When you are back in Ho Chi Minh, hop on a bus ride into Cambodia to explore the killing fields and marketplaces, and continue upwards to Siem Reap to access the Wats. End the trip in Bangkok, Thailand where you can engage in a celebratory mix of shopping, eating and bar hopping.
If you have up to a month to spare, start from Singapore and take a coach into Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Complete the rest of the Southeast Asia trail with Thailand (you’ve probably been to Bangkok many times, check out the northern parts e.g. Chiang Mai) and transit to Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Become an Englishman for two weeks
First, Brexit caused the sterling to freefall. Now, we’ve learned Changi Airport will be welcoming Norwegian Air, where a one-way ticket to London (Gatwick Airport) starts at only S$199. Moral of the story? It would be utterly foolish not to take your grad trip adventures to the UK.
With London as your base, spend the first few days exploring the main attractions like Harrods, Buckingham Palace and Tower of London. If you are particularly concerned about budget, opt for bike rentals over the Tube. Most attractions are accessible by foot. Save the money for car rental as well; when you have the convenience of your own ride, you get the opportunity to embark on scenic drives into the country-esque regions.
Leave London in the rearview mirror and spend the next couple of days in Bath, where you can try soaking in the hot spring waters that the Romans used to bathe in. If you happen to be a literature major in uni, drive over to Stratford-Upon-Avon, the very birthplace of Shakespeare. For nature sightseeing, cross into northern Wales to check out the Lake District.
For the last few days in the UK, make a drive up further north into the heart of Scotland, Edinburgh. Here, expect to straddle the best of the Old Town’s architecture and New Town’s George Street shopping.
P.S. Some of the world’s best single malt whiskies are produced in Scotland, so why not mark the end of your academic life with a whisky sampling party?
Didn’t get the chance to do an exchange programme when you were still an active undergrad? No problem. Do one on your own terms; spending an extended period of time in a country is the best way to live and breathe a culture of your interest. If you have always wanted to pick up a third language–say, Korean—you can sign up for a language and immersion program at a university in Seoul. Besides intensive class schedules, some programs include home stays with a host family and excursions to various attractions in and out of the city area.
For DIY ‘exchanges’ that are more lifestyle than academic, give the simple life a shot. An option is working farm stays in Australia, in which you’ll put up at a farm lodging for a nightly fee and engage in activities like sheep shearing, duck feeding, pony riding and vegetable picking. Meals are inclusive at some of the farm stays.
Dive into the unknown
The best part about ‘un-Google-able’ travel destinations is you don’t really get to plan for it, because not many people have documented these lesser-known secrets. And that is why it makes your grad trip even more exciting than it already is.
Imagine taking a trip from hell and back when you get up close and personal with the infamous ‘Gateway to Hell’ at Turkmenistan –a flaming crater that has been burning non-stop since 1971. Or what about the Hallerbos Forest in Belgium, known better as the ‘Blue Forest’? As you stroll through a purple blanket of Bluebells (they go into full bloom in April/May each year), you might feel like you just got sucked into some kind of mythical forest found in Final Fantasy. Closer to home, there is also Huma Island in the Philippines, an exotic resort escape untouched by mass tourism. You’ll be scratching your head why it hasn’t caught on among travellers already.
From Instagram to real life
Grad trip is the best time to check something off the bucket list. When we talk about Singaporeans’ travel bucket list, it doesn’t get any more unsurprising to hear about catching the Northern Lights from Iceland. Fresh grads that decide to go for broke (literally) can go ahead and splurge on a trip to Iceland, a place where travellers have unanimously agreed is not for the chronic penny pinchers. But without a doubt, it would be a very surreal experience to be taking in the majestic fjords or glimpses of the elusive aurora borealis in real life, when just last week you were only seeing it on Instagram features.
Nevertheless, don’t let poor budgeting ruin what looks set to be the best holiday of your life yet. Dining and drinking (not just alcohol, but bottled water as well) in Iceland can get very expensive, so it would be wise to pick up a few simple recipes and do some supermarket-ing there. Skip the tours and explore the Icelandic landscape on your own if you can help it. If you have friends with you, get around by car and split the rental. For flight and accommodation, book them months in advance. Iceland is definitely not one of those destinations you can travel to spontaneously.
Camp out at national parks in America
As for what they really want to do for their careers, many confused fresh grads are still feeling their way about. National parks in the U.S. could provide an illuminating moment; when you hike up the rocky passes and rugged canyons, the breathtaking views that await you might hit you with a new perspective on life.
The Yellowstone in Wyoming, for one, is America’s first ever national park and is famous for its volcanic features. Over at California, you would have heard of the Yosemite Valley. You can book yourself a spot on the camping grounds, and get in touch with the great outdoors with activities like rock climbing, fishing and rafting. If you fancy the pages of National Geographic to come to life and witness the wild life in their natural habitat, check out Everglades in Florida. Depending on your luck, you could have an encounter with alligators, manatees and –on rare occasions—panthers.
Everything seems to be bigger in America, and there is a lot more than just Broadway and Sin City to have your grad trip hit it right on the money.