Postgrads celebrate with trips


Photo: Abby Gilman/Iowa State Daily

Fresh graduates travel around the world and experience different cultures.

Sarah Gonzalez

Postgraduates who take a celebratory excursion after receiving their diploma recognize the trip as a last holiday before entering the workforce.

Andy Drish, Drake University graduate, spent his trip backpacking alone around Europe.

“For most people, they’ll never have the opportunity to spend that amount of time with that amount of freedom,” he said. “I had no responsibility, no cell phone, I didn’t even know what day it was part of the time.”

Drish’s experience was unique in that he traveled solo and had the opportunity to spend seven weeks as an independent traveler because he graduated one semester early. Instead of investing time in one location, he traveled to at least 12 different countries, usually spending two or three days in one city at a time.

“When you’re traveling alone, experiencing the city is one aspect, but experiencing the culture and the people is another,” he said. “I often used a website called, which is this amazing thing that can be used from all over the world; it’s a social network, like Facebook, people just open up their home to strangers, so you can use it instead of experiencing the city from a tourist perspective in hotels or hostels.” describes itself as “a worldwide network for making connections between travelers and the local communities they visit.” The network has more than one million members in more than 230 countries, with Europe and the United States hosting the most couch surfers.

Another aspect of that helped Drish during his trip is the fact that it costs nothing.

Drish’s budget included savings of approximately $2,000 and an additional $2,000 in student loans to complete his trip. He said he budgeted by spending an average of $75 per day.

“Since I graduated early, I figured I’d spend money on this instead of an extra semester in college. I absolutely learned more during this trip than I would have with an extra semester,” he said. “Traveling alone without an iPod or a computer, you really get to know yourself and also the history of Europe. They have so much more history than we do here and you get so much more appreciation for that.”

In fact, European destinations take five of the top 10 best places for post-graduation trips on, “trusted advice for travelers.” Edinburgh, Scotland, rated first, with the cities of Paris, London, Amsterdam and Brussels also ranking in the top 10. 

The same list also ranked five locations in the U.S. as the best places to take a post-graduation vacation. Second place is Las Vegas and third place is Oahu, Hawaii. Other U.S. locations on are New York and San Francisco. Many of the destinations featured on the website include passes that help keep young travelers’ budgets.

The Las Vegas Bite Card offers discounts to restaurants and attractions on the Vegas Strip, the Edinburgh Pass provides free entry to more than 30 Scottish attractions and free bus fare and the Paris Pass gives travelers free Metro transportation and free entry to 60 popular city sites.

Ashley Fishburn, senior in sociology and criminal justice, plans to visit the top-rated U.S. location a few days after her walk across the Hilton Coliseum stage. 

“I’ve never been to Vegas and we were able to find a pretty good deal on plane and hotel fare,” she said. “I think it’s just one of those places that would be great to experience, especially now, right before I start my career.”