Class of 2013: So You Want to Explore the World Before Launching Your Career

See the Taj Mahal!


Oh, the places you will go now that you have earned your degree and are ready to see the world before pursuing a career! With so many possibilities, from glamorous cities to rustic trails to beautiful beaches, how do you choose and stick to a budget? Here are a few must-see destinations that will certainly inspire you to travel throughout your lives as you move forward in your careers.
Paris Street Life
The City of Lights isn’t typically associated with budget travel, but you might be surprised how far you can stretch your dollar getting around this magnificent city if you plan ahead. Paris is a city best enjoyed on foot, so pack comfortable walking shoes and save yourself the expense of taxis. Plus walking allows you to see all the different street vendors, cafes and food that are the hallmarks of Paris street life. It costs less than $10 USD to grab a ham and brie baguette sandwich from a bakery and sit along the Seine enjoying an impromptu picnic. Walk along the Champs-Elysées to window shop and gaze at high-end boutique luxury goods costs and pay nothing.
To take in the sights without breaking the bank, visit Paris’s convention and bureau website  to get information about city passes that allow access to multiple landmarks and museums at a discount. Also, many of the city’s museums offer free entrance on particular days of the week. Check schedules before going.
As for lodging, Hotel des Arts Bastille has been described as “cheap and cheerful” by those who have stayed there. Rooms are austere, but affordable, with some rooms available for a weekend at about $150 USD per night. Located near the famous fortress where the French revolution gathered steam, the Bastille neighborhood is now known today as a hipster hangout filled with trendy bars, clubs and vintage shopping opportunities. In the popular Latin Quarter, Hotel des Grand Gobelins costs more, but can be affordable when sharing a room and splitting costs with friends, plus a delicious breakfast buffet is served downstairs every morning, so fill up on croissants, jam, yogurt, fruit and coffee before sightseeing.

India’s Amazing Architecture

Completed in 1648, the Taj Mahal in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, India, is a masterpiece of architecture and cultural pride, and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1983. This distinct dome white marble mausoleum palace, built by a Mughal emperor in honor of his third wife, is considered one of the most striking examples of Mughal architecture, which blends influences from Islam, Persia, India, and the Ottoman Turkish Empire.
Another architectural jewel in India, completed in 1986, is the famous Lotus Temple in the pulsing capital city New Delhi. A Bahai House of Worship, the Lotus Temple is open to the public regardless of their religious beliefs. Inspired by the iconic lotus flower, the building is made of 27 “petals” and inside can accommodate up to 2,500 people. Nine reflecting pools line the temple outside.
India is the second most populous nation in the world after China, and New Dehli is the eighth most populous city worldwide, so prepare for crowds and busy streets almost everywhere you go. The colors, sights, sounds, and scents of India, which fresh aromatic spices filling every marketplace and restaurant, make India an unforgettable trip. India offers several affordable options for lodging, attraction and food, as the nation’s tourism industry continues to grow with more visitors arriving each year.
Beautify Mexico
The colors, the history, the food, the people, the landscape. Mexico, the fifth largest country in the Western Hemisphere, has it all, and offers very affordable travel opportunities with cheap flights all year round for graduates exploring the world on a budget. Mexico is best enjoyed with a group of friends, and popular resorts offer discount packages, particularly during the summer months when temperatures soar. Crime remains a challenge in certain pockets of the nation, as well as in its capital city of 22 million people, so use common sense, don’t travel alone, and leave valuables back home. Use your time in Mexico to discover its rich heritage and enjoy its glorious sunshine.
If you’re the type who likes to pack purpose in your trips, Mexico provides endless short-term volunteering opportunities that support the country’s efforts in conservation, reducing poverty, and improving literacy. Home to tremendous flora and fauna biodiversity, Mexico gives graduates and travelers a range of hands-on experiences on both its Pacific and Caribbean coasts. Work with local experts and experience the country in a unique way. For more information, visit If you prefer an urban oasis experience instead of the beach or mountains, check out Sembradores Urbanos   (“Urban Culitvators”), a group of city environmentalists working with Mexico City officials and community organizations to teach gardening techniques and help maximize the city’s public spaces while improving food security for Mexicans.
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