by Laura Liszewski

Today’s backpackers are sure to be some of tomorrow’s authors, founders and executives. – Laura Liszewski (2011)

If you feel like every other person is going travelling these days, then you may be right.laptop by the beach.

The UN World Tourism Organisation reported that international tourism is already up 5 percent since 2010 and, whether for volunteering, a working holiday or backpacking, the travelling trend amongst young people seems to be holding strong.

But (here’s a good one to tell mum and dad) just because you’re going off adventuring doesn’t mean you have to take a hiatus from building your career after graduation. You can create your own global network while you travel and kill two birds with one stone.

In the age of the global company, mobile technologies and where social media reigns supreme, most of us are already well-versed in the art of networking. For better or worse, online communities like Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin have made networking relatively easy. While the word “networking” may make you yawn, understanding it is important nonetheless.

The vast majority of jobs never make it past word of mouth; who you know has everything to do with it.

Meeting people while travelling is already easy; they are more relaxed, more apt to start a conversation with a stranger and friendships are formed quickly. Seeing as nowadays almost everyone engages on some form of social media platform, a lot of the hard work has been done for you.

So once you’re out there, be your charming self and connect. Drum up conversation on the plane, on the beach and with the guests at your hotel, hostel or guest house. People of all ages and walks of life are out there; you really never know who you might meet.

Sure, not everyone is going to have the amazing luck of making friends with the CFO of their dream company on a beach in Koh Samui, but today’s backpackers are sure to be some of tomorrow’s authors, founders and executives.

A final word of caution: remember that your social image available to friends and followers on Facebook or Twitter may not be the same image you wish to project for educational or career-minded networking. It is probably in your best interest to create a limited or entirely separate profile for professional purposes. That way you can maintain more control over the information your contacts have access to.