What’s that sound? It’s the sudden quiet that tells you the last lecture has taken place, the farewell parties have died down, and a hundred cars have departed, laden with excited students, half their possessions, and all of their hangovers. Everyone is headed for the open road, or even just the road they grew up on, to sleep, eat, and regenerate with some good home cooking.
But once the initial high from surviving exam season has died down, sleep has been had, and you’ve re-watched Breaking Bad from start to finish, you’re left with a lot of days. So beyond topping up your funds with a summer job, you need a plan. Ideally one that involves finding adventure, travel, and hazy memories with the uni friends you’ve bonded with over the past year.
The hippies came and went in the 60s, and probably for good reason. Their lifestyle of being hairy, eating badly, and gathering in rainy fields usually ended in trenchfoot. But it’s fun to do in small bursts, in warm weather, with the right people. Which is why festivals are awesome.
It’s a traditional rite of passage these days, from a notoriously rainy Glasto to a sunburnt and Estrella-fuelled adventure in Benicassim. And don’t forget the hundreds of smaller festivals all over the UK. Find a good pair of wellies, gather up your tribe, and invest in a disposable tent (unless you go all out and glamp it up in a wigwam) – and you’re all set to go.
And if your budget is looking like a commune food cupboard, consider signing up as a festival volunteer or worker. Someone has to pour pints into plastic cups, steward cars, and oversee the portaloos – it may as well be you, and you’ll still find plenty of opportunity to see the bands around your tasks.
Ride the Rails
The best way to see Europe in all its glory is by train. A 10-day Interrail pass costs around £188 if you’re under 27. For that price, you can flit between the beer halls of Munich and the great lakes of Italy, and you can visit the Bavarian Alps and Amsterdam on your way to Prague. And European trains are much better than ours, before you ask; often with fold-out beds, free Wi-Fi, and drinks carriages as standard. Most European cities and towns have affordable hostels, too, so you’ll be able to keep your costs down further whilst meeting plenty of new and interesting people. Just hope they don’t snore too loudly…
Road Trip to Cornwall
We don’t do road trips like the Americans. It’s less diners and long, unbroken roads, and more motorways, confusing roundabouts, and Little Chefs here in the UK.
But whilst the journeys might not be as cool, we do have the destinations. The so-called great outdoors is yours to experience on a shoestring if you plan it right. Pitching a tent on a beachfront campsite in Cornwall can cost as little as a few quid a night. And you can learn to surf, to sunbathe, and to cook on an open fire. It’s the closest you’ll get to the equator on these fine shores. And if you get spooked easily by your own cooking, places like Bude and Newquay usually offer up reasonably priced bistros to help you top up your carbs.
The Land of Oz
Fancy hopping on a plane to pretty much the other side of the world? Well, you can, and even make it work financially if you plan ahead.
You’ve got plenty of options for all-out adventure holidays and tours, of course. You can visit the rainforests of Queensland and the incredible deserts and landscapes of Darwin with a guide to show you around, which is amazing, but will set you back a few grand.
If, on the other hand, you’re looking to keep your overdraft from keeling over, consider signing up as a volunteer. You could find yourself sheep-shearing in the Outback, helping at a research outpost in New Zealand, or getting involved in a conservation project on the Great Barrier Reef.
Prices vary from several grand for a guided tour, to the cost of a return plane ticket if you’re prepared to rough it a bit and do some volunteering, some harvesting, or some other seasonal work.
Make It a Memorable Summer
There’s a time for rest and recuperation, and there’s a time for adventure. Being a student is one of the few points in your life when you can do both in the same holiday. So make your summer count, because before you know it, you’ll be sat in a lecture on a dingy Monday morning in October, and you’re going to want some sizzling-hot memories to get you through.
Call it practice for a gap year, or call it backpacking, but whatever you decide to do, make your summer unforgettable. Check out our blog for plenty more guides and tips on getting the most out of life as a student.