• When you’re at university, you’re investing in your future – as your final exams and graduation edge closer, you’ll start to think about the next step. You might be eager to climb the career ladder as soon as possible and accept an offer from an employer while you’re still studying. Or you may want to have a break and take a gap year that allows you to reflect and experience something different before you pursue your dream job.

    So, before you do sign up with an employer, here are just a few reasons why you should travel before you start your career.

    You have more freedom now

    Young people celebrating at a party on a beach while on a gap year

    It’s a simple fact of life. The world’s your oyster when you graduate. You don’t have to get professional straight away, and fall out of bed at 07:00 each day to be in the office by 09:00, so you can pay the bills or the mortgage.  You’re the boss of your life, the master of your own destiny, and when the rest of the world is just starting the day, you can be bringing the evening to a close if you feel like it! Just go on a clubbing holiday or discover the joys of a gap year!

    You’ll create a story for yourself

    Two girls at the front of a ship on a gap year in Greece

    Taking a gap year and travelling before you settle down into your career will help you to create a new, interesting chapter in the story of your life. You’ll have memories to cherish for decades and will always have a fascinating story to tell at a party – or to share with your kids. You may even inspire family or friends to take a gap year themselves before they follow their career, or to even take a career break.

    It will help you make decisions about your future

    Long distance view through an arch way of Greece while on a gap year

    Travel is one of the great opportunities that life gifts us – it’s the chance to experience something truly different. Taking a gap year and opening yourself up to different experiences while you are young, through travel, will enable you to discover what you truly want out of life and reflect on the path ahead.

    It will benefit your career

    Man white water rafting while on a gap year

    You’ll be able to apply the experiences you’ve accumulated while travelling on your gap year to your career. Travel will provide you with a masterclass in creative problem solving. You’ll also develop better negotiation, communication and bargaining skills, which you can use in your work.

    You will build confidence

    Friends on a gap year scaling Dunn's River Falls, in Jamaica

    Travelling on a gap year will make you more independent. Your confidence will increase as you make important decisions and deal with the different situations you’ll come across, like finding your way around and communicating with locals. Seeing new places and trying new activities will also boost your self-esteem before you set out on that career path.

    You’ll develop money management skills

    Close up of spices on a market stall you can visit while you're on a gap year

    Some people live life to the full when they travel by following the “spend, spend, spend” mantra. Others try to get the best experiences by budgeting to make their money go as far as possible. Either way, one thing you’ll learn while you travel on your gap year is to manage your money, so that you can get the most out of your travel adventure.

    Gorgeous beach on a Greek island you could visit on your gap year  

    This choice, whether you go straight into a career when you finish your studies or take some time out on a gap year, is yours to make. As you can see, though, there are several benefits to enjoy if you stop and see some of the beautiful sights the world has to offer before you join the full time work brigade.

    If you do go down the career path first, you can always treat yourself to a career break later. But after all that hard graft, at the books and in the exam halls, you deserve a break. Why not do a little travelling?