The Ultimate After Camp Travel Guide
As the vibrant days of summer camp wind down, an exciting world of travel possibilities opens up for those eager to embark on new adventures. Welcome to after camp travel.
The Ultimate After Camp Travel Guide is here to ignite your wanderlust and provide some inspo for unforgettable post-camp explorations.
While summer camp is all about personal growth, character building, and building lifelong friendships, the end of the camp season marks the start of a new chapter: travelling after camp and venturing beyond camp boundaries to discover the world that awaits.
This after-camp travel guide is designed to empower you, whether novice or seasoned travellers, with tips and tricks to confidently navigate your post-camp travels.
From basking in the sun on pristine beaches, immersing yourself in history and culture, or seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures in the great U.S. outdoors, this guide has something to suit every taste.
But, The Ultimate After Camp Travel Guide goes beyond destination recommendations; we’ll look at travel planning, budgeting, safety considerations, and how best to travel. You’ll learn to maximise your resources, select the perfect itinerary, and ensure a smooth and unforgettable travel experience.
Get ready to create lifelong memories, embrace new cultures, and expand your horizons as you embark on the journey of a lifetime.
1. Why should I travel after camp?
It’s the end of summer, and before you know it, camp is over. Your bags are packed, goodbyes said... so what next?
You could return to reality, but we have a better idea; why stop there? After your amazing time at camp ends, you’re in a perfect position to get on the road and check out even more of the States. It’d be rude not to, right?
Combining working at camp with an epic trip is the recipe for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Here are a few reasons why post-camp travel in America is an awesome idea.
- To find yourself
Cheesy but true.
That old saying of ‘travel often, getting lost will help you find yourself’ rings true. Travel and adventure help you figure out who you are as a person.
How do you know what you want to do or who you want to be if you don’t see what’s out there or what the world has to offer?
- Travel is the best form of education
Travel gives us new life perspectives and teaches us about different people, cultures, and lives.
It shows you that no matter how much you think you already know, there’s so much else to learn.
Travelling tests and challenges you while teaching you about planning, independence, budgeting, organisation, and communication...those life hacks that make you a more well-rounded, capable person.
- Because your insta will be on point
Maybe not a traditional clichè but one we can vouch for.
The apparent reason for getting out there and exploring more of the USA is that you’ll see all those sights you’d previously only dreamed of.
Nothing gets more likes than a sunrise view over the Grand Canyon, a selfie at the Golden Gate Bridge, or a nighttime photo of the New York skyline.
Sure, you’ve experienced a taste of American living, but with 49 other states to explore, there’s always more to see.
Use your Instagram to tell your story and inspire others to step outside their comfort zone. Stop saying, “Oh, I’ll do it next year”.
Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
- Get off the beaten track
Sure, the big sights are famous for a reason.
But beyond the city guides and top tens, there are plenty of quirkier experiences to be had. You could stop off on Route 66 for a traditional American experience, trawl a Deep South flea market for bargains, or dip your toes in a hidden-away stream.
Whether big or small, adventure awaits.
- It’s a great time to wind down
We bet you’ll be working hard at camp and having tons of fun, so taking time to wind down after makes the whole experience even better.
Why not relax on a sandy beach, or get close to nature in amazing national parks?
However you prioritise your self-care, now is the time to practice it.
- You'lll meet new people
Whether it’s bonding over a shared love of Philly cheesesteaks with another traveller or getting the inside track from a chatty local, you can never have enough friends, right?
Alongside your new-found camp buddies, travelling allows you to meet people from all walks of life.
Joining a small group tour is the perfect way to find a ready-made squad of like-minded travellers.
- You’ll have the best stories to tell
Whether you’re returning to university, working, or figuring it out as you go, your American experience will provide you with a wealth of stories.
From family get-togethers to nights out with your friends, you won’t be short of a crazy story, as travelling delivers them in spades.
You’ll have all the fantastic tales to tell, so live those moments when they arise.
- Time flies but you're the pilot
Time flies; memories don’t.
If travel and camp are something you really want to do, then do it. This is likely the time in your life when you have fewer significant responsibilities to manage. In the future, it will be much harder to put your career or family on hold to travel, as who knows what life can throw up.
You’re young; you’ve your whole career and life ahead of you.
Start living it now.
2. How long can I have for after-camp travel?
As part of your J1 visa, you get 30 days to travel the U.S. once your summer camp contract expires.
That’s a whole month to explore America your way. Plus, once this expires, nothing stops you from exploring other countries, such as Canada, Mexico, or anywhere else.
However, you must plan your after-camp travel to not exceed that 30-day limit. It is not us setting that limit, it comes from the U.S. Department of State, so they’re not people you want to cross.
3. How can I travel after camp?
The world’s your oyster, as is the way you decide to travel it.
Everyone’s different, so you must determine what’s best for you. Take in all the other variables affecting you, which should include:
- How long do I have?
- Where do I want to see?
- What’s my budget?
- Do I want to book everything myself?
- Where is my journey’s start and end point?
There are loads more, but it’s important to realise that there are loads of different combinations purely from the above.
As such, don’t let others’ plans influence yours too much.
Some may have more money and less time, whereas some may hate booking things themselves and would rather someone do it for them.
This leads us to your two real choices on how you can travel after camp:
- Plan it yourself
- Use an experienced group tour provider
Each has its own pros and cons, which we check out here:
Plan it yourself
“wandering travel planner with an eye for bookings. With no set plans, you’ll sort your after-camp journey whenever.”
Whether you love to organise every step of a journey or literally wing it when you see fit, you prefer to be the one making the choices. This gives you ultimate freedom, yet ultimate responsibility too. You can shop for deals, find precisely what you want, and deal with the bookings.
- Ultimate Freedom
For such applicants, we’re here to help where we can. With 15% off stays at our friends Hostelling International, you can still find ways to save and enjoy your travels comfortably.
Use an experienced group tour provider
“You love having a trip to look forward to. A company sorting it means you know it’s planned by experts, allowing you to enjoy a hassle-free journey.”
Group tours provide the opportunity to see the world in an exciting, safe, and thoroughly planned way alongside like-minded individuals who’ll become lifelong friends. With everything sorted for you, you focus on enjoying the trip of a lifetime.
- Fully planned itinerary organised for you
- Safe, secure and fun through years of experience
- See the best possible things in the time you have
Our friends at The Coyote Trip are our chosen after-camp tour partners. They run various tours across North America, suiting all budgets and time frames. Better yet, Camp Leaders applicants get a fantastic 10% off all tours.
If you’re ready to find your pack, then The Coyote Trip are the way to go.
4. How much should I save for after camp travel?
I hate saying, ‘It’s like a piece of string’, but it is; it depends.
We suggest saving a few quid before heading to America. It’s not a requirement, but it makes things a little easier in the first few weeks, and if you can get away with not touching it, even better. Every little helps.
In my first year, I didn’t have much to save from my payslips, so budgeting was vital if I wanted an excellent travel fund.
It may mean fewer trips to Walmart, but you need to if you want some travel funds. It’s best to work backwards. How much do you need? Think about:
- Food & Drink
By setting a budget for each per day, you can work out what it’ll cost you for the time you have. It’s then up to you to save up to that amount.
A tip: Overestimate your outgoings and underestimate your incomings.
5. Where can I travel after camp?
When travelling after camp, you can go, literally, wherever you want.
If you can find a way there, it’s there for you to explore. Often the only restrictions tend to be time, money and a lack of appreciation for how big the U.S. is. If you’ve only got two days to travel, don’t think you’ll see most of America. It’s colossal.
There are some popular areas, though. If you’re looking for a bit of after-camp travel inspo, here are some popular areas that summer camp staff tend to check out:
6. Can I go to another country and come back to America?
You can, but it’s essential to know when you return; it won’t be on your J1.
You leaving the country marks the end of your J1 visa. You can certainly come back if you wish (for example, many may go to Canada or Mexico but need to return for a flight), but if you do, you’ll need an ESTA.
It’s easy to apply for one and have it granted relatively quickly, but be sure to read into the application process, including where you have to apply, when, and how to go about it.
7. Have you got some after-camp travel inspo?
We thought you’d never ask!
We’ve got loads of content around travelling after camp, which we’ve put into categories below:
- How to Spend 48 Hours in New York
- How to Spend 48 Hours in San Diego
- How to Spend 48 Hours in Miami
- How to Spend 48 Hours in Philadelphia
- How to Spend 48 Hours in Pittsburgh
- How to Spend 48 Hours in Houston
- How to Spend 48 Hours in Seattle * How to Spend 48 Hours in Los Angeles
After Camp Travel Road Trips
- 5 Highlights of an American Road Trip with The Coyote Trip 15 Incredible American Road Trips You Have to Experience Top 10 Places to Visit on an Ultimate Post Camp Road Trip 5 Must Visit Alternative Destinations on the U.S. East Coast
Our Favourite After Camp Travel Tours
- South to East USA Combo Tour
- Coast to Coast
- West Coast Adventure
- Canyons to California
- East Coast Adventure