Following up an important point from our latest blog post on how travel can boost your career, we consider the pro's and con's of going travelling or continuing further study - whether you've just finished high school, other study or thinking of changing careers and possibly returning to study.
So let’s weigh up a comparison between taking a 'gap year' or jumping into further study, you may surprise yourself with what you choose!
Factors to consider when planning travel:
Let’s start with the most obvious obstacle: money. Travelling is expensive. There are definitely destinations that are cheaper than others, but all travel involves a multitude of different expenses. It’s also important for your safety that you also budget for unexpected costs. To begin with you’ll need to budget for accommodation, food, transportation, travel insurance, a passport (if need to renew or apply for one), visas, tickets to attractions, shopping money, and the inevitable money you will spend on having fun. This budget will vary on where you’re going and how long you plan to be away, but it’s not negotiable. There would nothing worse than being stuck overseas with no money, simple as that. This doesn’t mean you should be deterred from travelling, because it’s an amazing investment in your self and your life experience, but it’s best to wait for a time when you have the financial means to do it properly.
Sailing around Croatia with a group of your best mates sounds pretty idyllic, right? That’s because it is. Travelling any part of the world is amazing fun if you have great company. And that doesn’t mean travelling alone isn’t worthwhile, but it’s important to consider what that will involve if it’s something you’re considering. Maybe your friends don’t want to go to the same places as you, or they have a bigger or smaller budget. Youth hostels and tour groups are a great opportunity to meet people if travelling alone, but there are still some pretty major safety concerns associated with going solo.
That being said, don’t feel you have to sign up to a group or your friends plans if they’re not intending on going somewhere that’s on your list of dream destinations. As we’ve discussed, travelling is expensive, so its important you prioritise.
If you’ve already applied for further study you’re probably waiting to get started so it's likely not the wisest decision to then go travelling - unless you think you can balance both at the same time. You’ve got to consider what your main priority is. It's also smart to plan ahead with what's going on during the year and when a good time to go on a holiday or travelling might be. This also helps with the price of your trip, whether it's during peak or off season.
Finally, if heaps of your friends are going overseas and not many are choosing to study, that still doesn’t mean you have to choose the same as them. Although it can be hard to listen to your instincts, they’re the best assets you’ve got in terms of decision-making. Perhaps you can’t decide where you want to travel. Weigh up the pros and cons first, then listen to your gut.
or Further study:
So we’ve talked about the factors to consider when thinking about going travelling or on a holiday, now let’s look at further study. If you’re itching to get started studying and you’re not so desperate to travel right now, there is no time like the present. Further study offers so much more freedom and autonomy now than what you would've experienced during high school or previous study.
There are heaps of qualifications available in a wide variety of disciplines that will give you an introduction into study and career pathways. Studying a course online gives you the flexibility to work at your own pace, so if you want to study but you’re reluctant to sign up to a strict schedule then that might be the way to go.
If you're just getting started in the job market or are making the leap from one career to another then many jobs may only require a vocational qualification which is a good alternative to a tertiary degree like a bachelor. Typically, vocational qualifications give you the practical skills needed for a particular profession or industry. The other upshot of a vocational qualification is that they can be completed in less time than a degree – especially if you are studying through self-paced or online learning. This means you can also balance work or other pursuits a little easier than you would with a full timetable that often comes with an undergraduate degree. Possessing formal qualifications can demonstrate your commitment and provides recognition of your knowledge and training.
Travelling during Study
Most study is quite flexible now and self-paced. With online learning, you can study anywhere anytime so it's not a far stretch to say that you could do both at the same time. All you need is a laptop or tablet and an internet connection.
Even if commencing study means staying put for the time being, further study can end up enabling you to live and work overseas. It’s a well-known fact that having a qualification makes you more employable, it but also makes it far easier to get a visa to many countries around the world.
We’ve discussed the advantages and disadvantages of both travelling and commencing further study. No decision you make can be a bad one, because it's your own decision after all and there's no one size-fits-all path in life. Either choice is an opportunity to learn, whether that be training and education or life experiences and personal skills. So what are you thinking? Let us know in the comments below, we might even be able to help!
Want to find out how travel could actually help your career? Learn more here.
And here's some handy info to pass on to your mates about your studying
Still not sure what to do after high school? Check out some of the options here.