While the stress of the bar exam can be overwhelming, there is one bright spot to look forward to: your post-exam bar trip. Planning a memorable trip after the bar exam is a favorite tradition among recent law grads—from relaxing at a tropical location to jetsetting around the globe. Unfortunately, this year COVID-19 still complicates things, including travel. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your dreams of post-bar travel. Pack your bags and dust off your passport, here are destinations worth looking into.
If you are itching to get out town but unable to go far away, research spots within driving distance. Lots of cities are back to operating at full capacity, so booking a nice hotel in a nearby city can give you the opportunity to pamper yourself without the stress of lengthy travel. Another popular option during the pandemic has been glamping—something you can no doubt find within easy driving distance to you. You’ll get the perks of being close to nature and away from your everyday stress while enjoying comfort and luxury.
Travel the U.S.
You don’t need to leave the U.S. to have an amazing bar trip. From national parks, including Zion National Park and Yosemite National Park, to beach destinations, like Hawaii and Puerto Rico, there are amazing travel options right here. A perk of traveling within the U.S. is that you don’t have to worry as much about COVID restrictions, with the exception of Hawaii. (Though you should always check for any restrictions before traveling outside of your state.)
There are various ways to kick your trip up a notch to make it extra memorable. Once you pick a destination, check a travel tour website like Viator for some unique tours like a sunset tour of the Grand Canyon. There are tours for every interest as well as budget. You can even find tours that include transportation to another destination, allowing you to travel more!
If you’re not quite ready to board a plane, consider traveling by train. Amtrak is offering travel deals and packages for people wanting to explore the country. Travelers can book vacations at destinations that Amtrak travels to, from 46 states and over 500 train stations. If the journey is an overnight trip, you can upgrade to a Roomette or a Bedroom to get some rest before making memories.
Do you have your bags packed but don’t know where to go? Check out Pack Up & Go, a surprise travel agency. The agency will first give you a survey to fill out that will inform them how many guests, dates, travel preferences, budget, and travel interests. Then the agency will book everything for you while keeping the details, including destination, a secret. Prior to the trip, you will receive an email that contains the mystery location’s weather forecast, a recommended pack list, and where and when to go for departure. Pack Up & Go only books domestic trips. An envelope, which contains recommendations of what to do and where to eat, will arrive at your home a few days before departure, but you will open it when you arrive at the departure location. Best part? You can tell the agency whether you want to stay near your home or fly across the country as well as how you want to travel. After months of studying for the bar, having someone else handle all of the details may be the best post-bar gift you can give yourself.
Traveling internationally is tricky right now, but even with some restrictions, there are ways to travel abroad. It is hard to book a vacation with the ongoing pandemic because it is difficult to know where we will be in a few months. If you are looking to book a vacation soon, check out the CDC’s travel website and this interactive map by United Airlines for up-to-date information. Some popular destinations beyond our borders this summer include Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Jamaica.
If you are interested in a European city for some post-bar memories, there are plenty of options. (Need some ideas? Consider Croatia, George, Malta, Portugal, and Greece, for starters.) Keep an eye on the travel restrictions in the days leading up to your trip. Many European countries and the United Kingdom are open to vaccinated U.S. travelers but with restrictions ranging from needing a negative test upon arrival to quarantining for a certain amount of days. These restrictions may change at any time, so it is important to understand what will be required of you when you land.
If you are keen on traveling abroad, there are ways for you to protect your trip if your selected location enters lockdown or tightens restrictions again. There are various travel insurance plans that include COVID-related trip cancellations. Check the fine print of your travel bookings (hotel, transportation, tours, etc.) to make sure that you will be able to reschedule or get a refund if your trip is impossible due to the pandemic. It is smart to familiarize yourself with what is and what is not covered to help prevent possible stress later.
If you don’t have a lot of vacation time, don’t want to deal with the stress of traveling during a pandemic, or are trying to save some money, consider a staycation. Either book a room at a local hotel you’ve been dying to check out or just stay at home. Explore local historical sites, go to museums in your area, try new restaurants, book a spa day, or just stay curled up in bed with Netflix and takeout! A staycation will allow you to unwind while also avoiding the stress of traveling and spending money.
Wherever you land this summer, take time to celebrate all of the hard work you put into studying for the bar exam, and give yourself a much-deserved break. Happy travels!
The February bar exam is just weeks away, and if you are anything like I was in the month leading up to the test, you are oscillating between periods of intense study and momentary freak-outs through which you convince yourself you will fail.
Content-wise, you should plow forward with your study plan—either course-based or self-driven—and implement the study tools that you know have been most effective for you in the past.
If you are a 1L, don't miss this chance to hear from experts at top law firms as they discuss legal careers, law school advice, and diversity initiatives!
It’s never too early to start planning for your legal career—even if you are only in the first semester of your 1L year.