Travelling After Grad: Greece Recap
One of the reasons why there hasn’t been a post on Cheap Students lately is that I’ve been out and about travelling in Greece. After taking the summer off and recovering from the ass kicking of my 8 months at school I left for Greece on July 22nd and arrived back home in Toronto on August 15th. In previous posts I’ve had the help from guest writers to provide some advice on how to travel on a budget. This isn’t going to be a post completely filled on budget travel but it’s me so I might just sneak a bit in here and there. Overall this is more of a recap of my adventures travelling after grad and maybe a bit of the things I’ve learned from the people I met and the experiences I’ve had.
First off my trip was amazing and I definitely have the travelling itch now. Starting off with the planning of the trip..we didn’t. Aside from purchasing a ticket to get to Athens and back home afterwards and we booked a place in Mykonos given that it’s a really busy place during July and August. The experience was good for me given that my gut always tells me to plan a bit, going on a trip that was more off the cuff honestly was liberating. In the end the trip went smoothly, it’s one of the many lessons I’ve learned – over planning can be really bad when you’re on a trip. We stayed a few extra nights on specific islands and had the flexibility to change where we were going because we weren’t pre-booked. One of the more helpful pieces that I had during the trip was a Lonely Planet Greece guidebook. We didn’t follow it religiously but it was helpful for certain parts of the trip especially on islands that we weren’t familiar with.
During the 3 and a bit weeks we were in Greece we went to Athens, Mykonos (twice..god help us), Ios, Santorini, Naxos, and Paros. Getting between islands required hopping on a ferry which usually cost between $10-50 euro’s depending on the length of the trip and if we went on a high speed boat. Out of all of the islands Mykonos was by far the most expensive, what $20 euro’s a night got us when it came to hostel/hotel was much nicer on other islands. That being said we didn’t sleep much in Mykonos so I guess that doesn’t matter. When it came to finding great places that fit our budget there was thankfully the opportunity in the Cyclades where those trying to sell rooms in their hotels/hostels would all show up at the ferry port to bargain with tourists. It was something I’ve never had the opportunity to see before, but we realized after the first port that we had to get our gamefaces on as soon as we left the boat which helped us secure the best places for the best prices.
Favourite Place I Stayed?
Kalistani View – Ios
Cost: Approximately $25 Euro’s/person/night
Experiencing the Food
One of the things I knew before I ever left Toronto for Greece was that one of the important things would be experiencing the food in the country. Being in a very touristy place (the Cyclades) meant that we weren’t getting the absolute best food the country had to offer, but it was still amazing. Think organic fruits and vegetables, pastries for breakfast if you want them, 2-3 hour coffee breaks, seafood, gryo’s, stuffed tomatoes or eggplants and the list could go on. I was even fascinated by the assortment of chip flavours which I’m sure my friends aren’t shocked by. Anything from oregano to prawn (shrimp) cocktail, so I decided to try them all, because they don’t have them at home. Of course being the food lover that I am I had to take pictures of the food as well.
Things I’ve Learned After Travelling
1. I want to do a lot more of it
2. Being cheap isn’t always best, but being mindful of spending is
3. Embrace the unexpected
4. Be open to meeting new people, you’ll have an even greater experience because of it
5. Enjoy the food and don’t be scared to venture off the path a bit
6. Learn a bit of the language, locals love it (I didn’t, but my friends already knew how to speak Greek and it helped a lot and the next place I go I’ll learn a bit for sure)
7. Before booking make sure to look out for holidays and events happening where you’re headed – it will definitely be a great cultural experience
8. Bring good old fashion paper and pencil/pen and record your adventures, I wish I had
Money Tips When Travelling After Grad
The majority of the money I spent while away were Euro’s that I had already purchased in Canada before leaving the country. Some people may have not felt comfortable taking the amount that I did and having it on them all at once, and that’s totally fine. There are a few options when it comes to using money in other countries. One option is using a credit card to make purchases and using a travel rewards card will get you points as well and it’s a safe way to make purchases. Make sure to contact your credit card company before leaving and be aware that you are going to get charged a fee on conversion. You can also withdraw cash out of an ATM with your debit card (don’t do it with your credit card, you get charged interest). I found I preferred cash and it also let me keep track of spending, but honestly it’s what everyone is comfortable with.
I used Skype to make phone calls and added a $4.99 credit onto my account, the calls were really cheap and all I needed was wi-fi which was available in most cafe’s and hotels we stayed at.
Thoughts about Travelling After Grad
One of the interesting things I happened to learn was that Australian’s often take 6 months to a year off before starting work and just travel the world. Why is that not a thing in North America? I know gap years exist but I find it’s not the norm and was often frowned upon. It’s something that recent grads should definitely consider instead of rushing into work right after school is finished. In general it seems like a growing number of our generation are heading out and travelling the world, it’s a nice trend I’m not going to lie.
Overall I haven’t figured out my next destination yet, but I’m really excited no matter where I go. All I know is it will be a place where I can really experience the country and it’s culture and not an all-inclusive in the Caribbean.
Where did you travel after graduation? What’s your dream vacation?