Schools out, you've stowed away your cap and gown and have spent the last months looking for a job, an internship or anything to validate the last four years worth of high-priced education, but the market is as bare as the walls of your old dorm room. With the novelty of meals prepared by mom wearing off and a tough job market all but guaranteed for the rest of 2009, now might be the best time to take the oft talked about time off to backpack through Europe.
While it may seem irresponsible to leave the country in the middle of your job hunt to backpack your way through Europe, it beats crashing on your parent's couch and may not cost as much as you think. With numerous deals on travel, a favorable exchange rate and an incredible guide for budget spring break travel in Europe put together by Gadling it may actually be the best time to go.
Grant Martin, editor of Gadling.com, shared his optimism for deals to be had for anyone looking for a European getaway; "Transit wise, we're seeing a few more airfare deals to the EU, largely because demand has tapered off a fair amount and airlines are scrounging around to fill planes. So chances are that you're going to get a better deal on flights and everyday expenses while you're there." The price discount is evident on many flights, so long as you can be flexible. I was able to find a round trip ticket from St. Louis to Madrid for $490 including taxes and fees; a drop of $500 from Gadling's The Basics of Backpacking Through Europe Guide which was written in early 2008.
Speaking of the basics to backpacking through Europe, this guide is full of great information. It covers everything from how to get around in the country (Rail Pass), to how much you can expect to spend a day without missing out on a decent bed and great food and libations ($66). Reading this guide will be the best 15 minutes you spend in preparing for your travel to Europe.
While recommending a trip through Europe this summer without a job to return to may seem like a contradictory advice from a personal finance blog, price-wise it's a great time to go. Once you are lucky enough to land a job it may be a while before you can get a straight two weeks of vacation and it may be even longer before you can spend two weeks including airfare in Europe for $1,500. That said, don't go if you can't afford it, putting a trip to Europe on your credit card would not be a wise decision. If cash is short stay home or try and use Twitter to arrange free lodging for your European vacation.
Best of all, you can still job hunt while you're on the road. Thanks to email and Skype you'll never be more than an Internet connection away from your job hunt. It sure beats watching someone else have all the fun on the Travel channel while you wait for call backs.
No jobs? No internships? Backpack through Europe!