Part of growing up is finding the courage to leave your comfort zone. For some students, this means trading in an old hobby for a new one. For others, it might mean pursuing an internship that seems like a bit of a reach. For many students, though, there’s no better way to explore the unknown and engage in a little self-discovery than to pack a bag, grab a passport and get traveling. It can be hard deciding where exactly to explore, but luckily, we’ve done a bit of the research for you. The following destinations are among the most popular destinations for student groups this summer.
Johannesburg, South Africa
As a city that’s in the middle of a dramatic rebirth, there’s perhaps no better destination for young travelers than sprawling Johannesburg. Students can learn about the city’s past at institutions like Wits Art Museum, the Apartheid Museum and Liliesleaf Farm, then enjoy theaters, restaurants and cafes in cultural districts like Newtown and Braamfontein or visit the hipster-centric Maboneng. No matter which attractions students decide to check out, Johannesburg is guaranteed expand their horizons and captivate their imaginations.
National parks, wildlife trusts, art museums, dance centers… these might not be the images that traditionally come to mind when students are asked to think about Kenya, but this is exactly what they’ll find if they choose to embark on an adventure in Nairobi. Whether they’re getting up close and personal with Rothschild’s giraffes, exploring the history of Kenya at the National Museum or learning traditional dance steps and songs at Bomas of Kenya, students will make unforgettable memories in this unconventional destination.
As the largest city and capital of Spain, Madrid offers young travelers an irresistible mixture of world-renowned food, revered arts and unparalleled nightlife. Nowhere else in the world can students experience Van Gogh and Picasso paintings, flamenco dancing, bullfights and football matches without traveling more than a few miles. Other activities include boating in El Retiro park, marveling over the Palacio de Cristal and visiting famous museums like El Prado or Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
As the northern counterpart to Bangkok, Chiang Mai is just as beautiful but far less boisterous, offering tourists a chance to indulge in breathtaking bucolic scenery. Here, students can visit ancient monasteries, elephant sanctuaries and everything in-between. Other attractions include rainforest preservations, thundering waterfalls, bubbling hot springs and the opportunity to experience unbridled Thai culture.
The Eiffel Tower. The Louvre. The Place d’Etoile Circus. The Arc de Triomphe. All of these iconic attractions and more await students in the City of Lights, one of the oldest cities in all of Europe and historically one of the most frequented vacation destinations on the planet. Young travelers can find succulent food almost everywhere they look and can easily score affordable digs in the Latin Quarter. In addition to being an incredible tourist destination all on its own, Paris is also the perfect gateway to the rest of Europe.
Within the past few years, Beijing – known as The Heart of Asia – has skyrocketed in popularity as a student travel destination. Exuding both centuries-old charm and the excitement of modernity, Beijing is home to World Heritage Sites and Olympic stadiums. Attractions that should make every student’s itinerary include the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, riding a dragon boat to the Summer Palace and paying homage at the Temple of Heaven.
New York City, New York
Few cities are more student-friendly than NYC, one of the most energetic and invigorating places in the entire United States. Young travelers can save money by holing up in hotels and hostels in Brooklyn or Manhattan, leaving them free to spend on all the attractions that have put the Big Apple on the map. No trip would be complete with stopping at big-name attractions like the Empire State Building and Statue of Liberty but students should also check out lesser known spots like “ChoHo”, the meeting point of SoHo and Chinatown, and the Tenement Museum.
While Quito might not be a conventional vacation destination, this bustling South American city is overflowing with opportunities for students who are looking to get outside their comfort zone. Young travelers can explore Old Town, a World Heritage Site that’s chock full of architectural marvels and colonial monuments, then ride a skytram up Volcan Pichincha and take in spectacular views of Quito and the surrounding mountains. Other stops might include La Mitad del Mundo, Museo Nacional and Capilla del Hombre.
Cutting-edge culture, outstanding nightlife and eccentric fashion have rendered Tokyo one of the most popular travel destinations of the 21st century. The city boasts elegant and efficient railways that grant visitors access to all of Tokyo’s best attractions without the hassle of a long commute. Whether students are visiting the Meiji Shrine, wandering the gardens of the Imperial Palace, soaking in sentos or picnicking in a park during Sakura season, they’re sure to have the time of their life in the heart of the Land of the Rising Sun.
This vibrant gem is one of the oldest cities in all of Australia and has been a student-travel mecca for decades. In addition to a wide variety of affordable youth hostels and year-round impeccable weather, Sydney offers young travelers tantalizing food, exotic nightlife and streets simply bursting with history and culture. Can’t-be-missed attractions include viewing the skyline from North Sydney, biking across the Harbour Bridge, taking a ride on the Luna Park Ferris Wheel and visiting buildings preserved from the colonial period in Parramatta.
Ready to pack your passport and head to one or more of these incredible destinations? Before you start worrying about how you’re going to afford to see the world on a student budget, head over to www.studentuniverse.com and discover all the ways you can become a globetrotter without breaking the bank. Whether you’re saving money on flights, finding cheap accommodations or scoring great deals on attractions, StudentUniverse is ready to get you started on the adventure of a lifetime.