Travel: 5 countries you should visit after high-school and before college

High school will be coming to an end for another graduating class and then, it’s off to college for what could become another four years of school. Travel in between the start and stop of education classes can bring you to an enriching world that is waiting to be explored.

At some point in every person’s life, we look back and wonder about making a different decision and the impact and change that choice may have had on us. For me, I often wonder what would have happened had I not been medically discharged from the Army or what might have happened had I left the east coast for the west coast after I graduated.

Needless to say, that is a decision that this year’s graduating class will have to answer for themselves, and hopefully when they look back decades from now, they won’t have any regrets. The time between high school and college is one of the most important in a young person’s life. It is the final few months of being a “kid” because when you come out of the college ranks, you are a grown-up. Like it or not. It’s the last time you may have to really get out and see the world.

Having it to do over again, these are five countries I should have checked out when I had the chance, way back in 1987.


FLORENCE, ITALY – APRIL 27: arnolfo tower April 27, 2021 in Florence, Italy.(Photo by Paolo Lo Debole/Getty Images)


Rolling hills of vineyards, the smell of garlic permeating the small streets of small cities, and a historic culture that begs to be learned. Italy is a vast world in and of itself. 19 regions make up Italy and each has its own background and each comes with its own cultural differences. Food from each region is different and while you may find yourself strolling over the Tuscan landscape, you will find just as much amazing fun along the canals of Venice.

You could easily spend your summer casually taking in the country and never looking back when you get back home.

railway trains

GREAT MISSENDEN, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 24: A Chiltern Railways passenger train passes along the Misbourne Valley, ‘ (Photo by Jim Dyson/Getty Images)


Whether you are set on backpacking through the countryside or renting a motorcycle to travel between towns, England is one of the most visited countries in the world. Take the rail from London and visit all of the traditions of the U.K.

From England, you can visit Ireland and Scotland as well. Very few countries offer such a perfect venue to get out of the city and into the countryside where you can treat yourself to local delicacies and visit places relatively untouched at times by modernization.

Tokyo, Pokemon Wonder

TOKYO, JAPAN – 2020/08/17: Pikachu toys seen displayed inside a Pokémon Center Mega Tokyo department shopping mall. (Photo by James Matsumoto/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)


Japan checks off a lot of the summer fun and excitement that you can have. Tokyo offers everything and more when it comes to a modernized world that still keeps itself firmly tucked into its history. There is so much to do from Okinawa to Hokkaido at the very tip, Japan is a historic marvel in and of itself.

There are rolling hills in the countryside far away from the hustle of Tokyo and Nagano and the likes. Japan is a once-in-a-lifetime visit for most American travelers and one that would be a perfect place to spend a summer between classes.

REYKJANES PENINSULA, ICELAND – MARCH 28: People’s figures are illuminated by the glow of the lava on March 28, 2021 on the Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland. The Mount Fagradalsfjall volcano erupted on March 19, after thousands of small earthquakes in the area over the recent weeks, and was reportedly the first eruption of its kind on the Reykjanes Peninsula in around 800 years. (Photo by Sophia Groves/Getty Images)

Iceland to Sweden

You may not typically think of northern extreme countries to be on a summer trip but the five countries that make up the swing of Nordic and Scandanavian history should get you enticed.

Iceland is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. From ice fjords to an active volcano, Iceland offers so much to the casual visitor. From Iceland you can hop a ferry to Norway and there are ferry services connecting all five countries. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland provide an incredible journey through Viking lands and ancient civilizations that at one time passed down their histories through stories instead of paper. The summer months are gorgeous and shouldn’t take a backseat to any other country.

DUNKIRK, NORD, HAUTS-DE-FRANCE, FRANCE – MAY 28: Men fish for Sea Bass from the ‘Jetée de malo’ (malo’s Pier) on May 28, 2021 in Dunkirk, France. From May 26 till June 4 1940 the pier was used for the Dunkirk evacuation (Operation Dynamo), the evacuation of Allied soldiers during World War II from Dunkirk. (Photo by Thierry Monasse/Getty Images)


I hesitated to put France on this list. Let’s be honest, they are not known for their hospitality but get out of the city and discover a country that loves American visitors. My brother recently visited France with his family and stopped in Paris as well as Normandy. He was impressed that Normandy homes and businesses flew flags with the names of American soldiers.

In the south of France, you can experience the rich lifestyle and see the ornate castles that stand today as cathedrals of long past architecture. Take in the southern beaches along the Balearic Sea or the Bay of Biscaye on the southern west coast.

France is an incredible country that could fill a million summers.