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Many times, young adults graduate college and decide they want to see the world. Usually they attempt to accomplish this by taking a summer off to backpack across Europe or find a job in a remote corner of the country or world to experience a new culture. While these all may be memorable experiences, I have found the best and cheapest way to accomplish these dreams of exploration is to find a job that makes you travel on a regular basis. There is nothing quite like being told to leave your cubicle for a week and head out to some new location on someone else’s tab. Are there some downsides to being on the clock when you travel? Of course. Will there be times when you will talk about a home-cooked meal like it’s an unattainable dream? Definitely. Will you start to have nightmares about waiting in line for TSA screening but never reaching the other side? Oh yeah. But if you find a job that requires lots of time in airports and hotels, you get to experience the world AND you get some great benefits to go along with it.
Airfare? Paid. Hotel? Paid. All of your meals? Paid. When you are on the road, you are doing nothing but saving money. There are two ways that people go about this. If you get paid a per diem, you eat all of your meals off the dollar menu and take home all of the extra cash your company gave you so you can spend it at the bar the next weekend. If you get a company credit card, you eat steaks for every meal and order a few rounds of drinks as a “normal dinner expense.” Either way, the days you are traveling, you are not paying for gas, food, or any other living expenses, and your bank account loves it.
The Points And Perks
If you travel enough, your hotel points and airline miles add up, meaning you will never have to pay for a trip again. Every five years, my bosses take their wives on multiple week trips around Europe or to Australia, and they don’t pay a dime for their flights or their hotel rooms. Free flights and hotels aren’t the only benefits, though. Getting regularly bumped up to first class, getting welcome gifts when you check into your hotels, and getting unlimited free domestic beer, well drinks, and cheap wine at the frequent flyers club just for being a part of a well-traveled company make your business and personal trips feel so much classier.
If you move across the country for a job, you will get to experience a new part of the world, but soon enough that part of the world will become normal to you, just like your old home. If your choice of travel involves visiting another country for a few weeks, you will get to experience that one area in depth, and then go back to your regular life. But if you are traveling for work, you are always going somewhere new, and even if you end up at the same location multiple times, the handful of hours after work will never be enough for you to run out of things to discover.
While all of the above are great benefits, the real reason to find a travel job right after you graduate is the stories you will take home with you. Every time you travel to a new location there are dozens of chances for you to do or try something that you would never get to experience. Something as simple as going out to a bar to watch a Monday Night Football game could end with you being shown around the local bar scene by an extremely sweet girl and her friends only to find out the next day she is a former Miss Teen Indiana. No two people will ever have the same stories, and if you travel long enough your real life friends will probably grow sick of hearing all of the things you have done that they will never have the chance to experience. However, among fellow travelers, great stories are a form of social currency swapped along with rounds of drinks to pass the layovers at airport bars all over the world, so be sure to always have a few good ones in your back pocket.