In May I will quit my job, and in August I will go on to medical school. As many of you know, that means four rigorous years followed up by at least three of residency. I am 22 now, but this summer may be my last realistic chance at that amazing travel experience as a young man. I live in the United States (Virginia) and have never traveled further than Montreal, just across the Canadian border.
So the question is this: if you had two months, $4,000-$5,000, and a burning desire to take the trip of a lifetime with your last summer as a twenty-something, what would it be? I would love to hear from those of you who have experience traveling about where to go and how to manage it on a budget.
Current thoughts include:
- The classic: backpack Europe.
- Bike or motorcycle across the US.
- Live in a tropical island (Hawaii? Caribbean?) for the summer, maybe work as well.
- Sail, cruise, or ride in a yacht for the summer, hopefully stopping off at exotic ports.
I would love your input and advice. Assume I know nothing, since that is close to the truth! Help me come up with that once-in-a-lifetime travel experience!
Bartle-"reading over my own post is a little depressing!"-by
Those are all very different ideas. What do you want to do right now? Where do you want to go? Just follow your instincts/heart.
I don't think you can go wrong just so long as you go somewhere. I know that isn't much advice but I'm a student too and I'm dying to travel.
My main recomendation is to travel outside of your country. There is a big wide world out there so if this is your one big chance then go and see other cultures. You won't learn too much about the world by travelling round the USA. Go get some completely different perspectives on life. As it is your first trip then either Europe or South East Asia will be best for you as the tourist industries are pretty good in these parts of the world, so you will get to see different cultures and walks of life but still feel like you are in control and not too out of your depth on your first trip! Obviously english will get you far in Europe as most europeans speak at least a bit of english, especially in the west and the south.
Have fun and be as adventurous as you can, this is your big trip!!!!!
I'd agree with bwiian, don't opt for the US.
Backpacking Europe would indeed be the classic and always a good option - you could head towards Eastern Europe and head a bit more off the beaten track if you don't want to be too much of a cliché. But either way, I don't think you'd regret it. Nothing stopping you doing a large amount of Europe by bicycle either - it's probably the best way to get around (and certainly the cheapest!)
If you prefer lazying around on beaches, then finding a nice tropical island might be good. But be warned, that can get really boring, REALLY fast. I spent a couple of months on an island with nothing to do and was happy enough to leave by the end of it. Two months was the minimum I could stay there, because that's how often the boat serviced the island (roughly). Still, it is a good memory. Just a lot of really lethargic days.
Perhaps South-East Asia might be a good mix of the two - some hectic cities and good cultural experiences, but also some great beach escapes where you can relax for a while. Places like Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam are all very appealing to me at the moment.
Just ideas, nothing more
Thanks for the advice everyone! Peter, that is an interesting point about the tropical island thing, I had wondered if it might get boring after a couple of weeks. And to bwaiin, I also agree that exposure to other cultures would probably be a better choice than a trip within the US.
To answer corneggs, right now I would probably most like to go on a trip through Europe with my best friend from college, and then maybe spend a couple of weeks with him touring his home country of Iran. Actually, I know that Iran is not the biggest fan of the United States politically. My friend obviously knows the country quite well and assures me there is no real danger, but does anyone have experience traveling in countries with strained political relations with your home country?
If I go to Europe, what is the cheapest way to get there? Assuming it is a flight, where should I fly into for the lowest rates? If I bike through Europe, can I rent a bike, or would I need to bring my own? All tips and advice are very welcome, especially ones on how to travel inexpensively!
I found that London and Frankfurt were the cheapest airports to fly into. Maybe someone else has other options for you. From your choices, Europe seems to most viable. You will see and learn so much in only 2 months in Europe. Most of the travelers you'll meet will have similar situations as you have. Perhaps I'll run into you sometime this summer! If you ride through Europe on a bike, be aware that many hostels will not be able to provide parking. Also, if you intend on going to Iran you should get a visa ASAP.
Thanks Nantes for the airport and visa advice. I will start looking into both. I am hoping to pull a couple of friends together for this.
Anyone else have other travel advice?
I have to admire people who become doctors. I would never be able to sit still long enough to get a qualification like that.
I think since u wont get to travel for a while after this rather that choose something from your list I would head for India and spend all your time there. India is really the ultimate travel experience.