If I had a dollar for every time I heard a college student say they wanted to travel, I'd be traveling a heck of a lot more than I am. Then, if I got another dollar for when they say "I guess I'll have to wait until after school," I'd not bother looking for a job. But here's the thing: college might actually be one of the best times to travel. And it IS possible! I am confident in saying so, because I made it happen myself. Even in grad school. And I didn't neglect my grades or my social life.
I'm not lying!
It's back to school time, so let's have a quick chat. If you want to travel, you can MAKE IT HAPPEN this year. It'll be an experience that you likely won't want to trade.
Traveling While in College: It IS Possible!
The Money Issue
Okay, this definitely was/is/always will be on my mind when I'm thinking about traveling. And while you're accruing student debt, it can seem like a huge obstacle to travel. This can take up a whole post in and of itself. But while you are saving and traveling, don't forget to take advantage of your student discount, as well as websites like Groupon. I've found some pretty rocking deals in cities I'm visiting (including the biking in Chicago I recently did!).
Also, the picture for this post? That's where all my change goes. If somehow you can get a (flexible, part-time) job that provides you with tips, this travel fund will grow like crazy. Yes, I worked at Rita's and an ice cream shop while in college. I came home smelling sickly sweet every night, but those tips made it worth it.
Find the Time
We'll start this section off with a super obvious solution. As a college student, you might have a Fall break. You probably get a Spring break. Oh yes, you have one month off for winter break. And some lucky ducks get an entire summer off. Take advantage of this!! It's still totally possible to get an internship or summer job while still treating yourself to a week of travel. Or you could even look for an internship in another city! Whatever you do, take advantage of these breaks, because you will most definitely miss them when they are gone.
Weekends are great too. They're even better because they don't disappear after you graduate! But weekends are the perfect time to road trip for a city or hometown getaway. Find a friend with a car, take a train, do what you have to do. And take suggestions from any people you may travel with! You might find a new micro adventure spot close to campus.
Organization & Prioritization
People, a good planner is the answer here. I use a combo of the calendar on my Mac and a paper planner. As soon as I get/got my syllabi, everything big goes on the calendar. That way, I can more easily find potential long weekends for travel that won't interfere with my school work too much. For a more short-term solution, actually do the bulk of your work during the week. Sure, maybe that's not the popular option, but when you're traveling all around on the weekends, your friends that napped from 5-8pm every day will be jealous.
Having a list of destinations you might want to visit is also super helpful. Once you have the time nailed down, you can plug in plausible destinations based off of that. For example, it might not be worth it to follow your dream and travel to China on a long weekend. That might be more suited for a summer break. Once you organize your destinations that way, you can start saving and planning! This planning will help you actually DO it, instead of just talking and wishing and dreaming about travel.
The Ultimate Solution
STUDY ABROAD! I will suggest this until the day I stop being able to communicate. In fact, I have an entire post in the works fully committed to trying to convince the world to study abroad. But if you are looking for a more long-term travel solution, try studying abroad! There are so many destinations and so many programs. Check with your school to see if they have an office to help you plan it!
Side note! If you've studied abroad, I'd love to have your input. Like it? Love it? Hate it? Reach out and share your story!
Does it not fit into your four (or five)-year plan? Maybe attending graduate school abroad is a good fit for you! I definitely wish I looked into programs abroad for my Masters degree. Hindsight is always 20/20, right? Dream big and make it work!
- What are some obstacles that you would have to overcome while balancing school/travel? I'd love to address any nagging worries you have! And tell me your success stories!
- Share this with anybody in school who you think needs an extra boost this year to achieve their traveling dream. Help them!