Travelling After Summer Camp

Travelling after camp

Lucy Harper @USCampCounselor is the author of the only book about summer camp that gives the real story, Secret Diary of a Camp Counselor. She loved camp, especially the travelling afterwards…

Camp can be anywhere between nine and 15 weeks long and after all that time of being told what to do, when to do it and how, the freedom of life after camp can be a bit overwhelming. There will be no kids to wake up and no lessons to teach, it’s finally time to go back to being a kid yourself.

With 50 states in the USA and all the surrounding islands of joy the choice of where to go during your 30-day visa grace period can be tough.

Where to go

Chances are you saw one, two, maybe three states during your time at camp, either because of days off or trips with camp. It’s up to you whether you want to explore those states further, or if I was you I’d branch out. With New York, California, Hawaii, Texas and Washington on your doorstep you’d be silly not to. Stay in USA hostels in all these places and your camp salary with go even further.

The Greyhound is the bus service in America and can get you around the country cheaply. There’s also a good train service you can make the most of, and domestic flights are relatively cheap too.

The skyline in Texas

Stay free

My number one piece of advice is not to book anything before you go to camp. You’ll make so many friends at camp and if you have plans set in stone already you might miss out. You also might get invited back to one of your camper’s houses or one of your fellow counselors. This can be an amazing opportunity to really go behind the scenes of the tourist side of the US and get to know what it’s really like to live there. It’s also a great way to travel on the cheap and be looked after.

The last thing you want after camp is someone telling you what to do so I wouldn’t recommend booking any tours. You’ve had X amount of weeks with someone monitoring your every move. It’s time to explore and be free and enjoy your holiday time now. You’ll have received your hard-earned money from camp and now’s the time to reap the benefits.

Travelling after summer camp

Not too long though

Second piece of advice is not to outstay your visa. I did this during my second year at camp and ended up being ordered to get out of America – not a good look to my friends and family back home.

Take some time to yourself

I went to Mexico with one other girl from camp, and then we went to New York for three days to wait for our flight. We decided to take a day to ourselves when we got there to see what it was like when we were alone after being around people for 12 weeks. Both of us got lonely and met up after about two hours. This probably wasn’t a good story to make my point, but what I’m trying to say is that you shouldn’t be afraid to take some time to yourself. You’ve had a crazy few weeks and when you get back your family and friends will be all over you, take a moment to process your summer so you’re ready for home, which brings me onto the contradictory point…

Travelling after summer camp

Don’t think about home!

You’ve got 30 days to make the most of when camp finishes. I’m guessing you’ll probably go back to either debt, education, unemployment or all three, so just enjoy the days while you have them. Whatever is happening at home can be dealt with when you get there. For now, enjoy the time off with your new found friends and enjoy feeling nostalgic about camp.

Follow Lucy on Twitter, Facebook and her blog about camp for more tips and advice on being a camp counselor. And if you want the real story behind being a camp counselor, buy her book!

Thanks to  saritarobinsonSejohnso1saccodent for the images from Flickr. Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting. 

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