I’m a student, and I’ve made travelling a huge priority! Plenty of people wonder how the heck I can afford to travel as a student, but it’s all a matter of being smart about your money and prioritising travel over other things.
It’s possible to travel as a full-time student; I actually think its the best time to travel for a variety of reasons- you’re still figuring out the future, but you have goals. You’re still malleable, but you have a sense of who you are. Travel can help shape you!
Here are my top tips for how to travel as a student!
There are two things that students say stop them from travelling: Time and Money.
And well, yeah. That’s fair. First, let’s tackle the time issue.
Summer vacation is a great time to travel.
It’s a large chunk of time off, and staying in one country (or a couple countries close together) will save you money because you won’t have to pay for long-haul airfare more than once. Slow travel, meaning staying within a region for a longer period of time, is great for saving money. Plus, you get a feel for the country you’re in.
But wait… what about internships?
College students are ALWAYS concerned about internships. AND boy do I feel you. It’s really important to get that work experience, and to those who want to travel AND get that experience, I say one thing: Do them abroad!
I interned in Nepal, and I honestly think it was one of the most valuable internships I’ve done. I learned so much about what I want to do in the future, a potential career path, and how to thrive in a work environment. It was also easy to male loads of friends and to explore Nepal. I also had some time at the end of my internship to trek!
You’ll need to find a work visa, which might be a little bit difficult depending on where you’re going. Plenty of schools have study abroad offices (Go Abroad is a very popular resource in UK schools) that might be able to help you find a company to intern with. STA Travel is another good resource for finding work abroad.
What about winter break?
Although winter break is a shorter period of time off, you can definitely explore your surroundings! Have an adventure in your neighbouring country. Winter is a great time to travel because it’s off-season for a ton of places (excluding popular Christmas destinations). You’ll also probably want to avoid travelling over Christmas and NYE. It’s more expensive and WAY busier.
Studying abroad has become so popular recently, which I love to see! It’s a great opportunity to really get to know a new place. It’s also often cheaper than studying at your home university, depending on where you go.
Whilst studying abroad, you should take advantage of two things: the city you’re in and the REGION you’re in.
Being able to get to know an entire city as your second home is an amazing feeling. Definitely try to explore the city as in-depth as possible. That’s an incredible way to experience a different kind of travel. You’ll also want to explore the region you’re in. For example, if you’re studying abroad in Hong Kong, explore as much of Asia as possible! Asia and Europe are fabulous study abroad destinations because there are low-cost carriers that you can take to fly around the region.
School trips are a GIFT.
Many universities and even some high schools offer amazing trips during the summer! These are great because you typically travel with a purpose, usually service. It’s a great way to see the world while also doing something you can be proud of. If it’s related to your degree, say a medical trip to a developing country for a nursing/med student, it’s great to put on your resume.
Take a gap year.
A gap year is 100% something you should consider doing. These are most popular in between graduating from high school and entering university, though there’s nothing stopping you from taking one in the middle of your studies or after graduating from university. A whole year is a lot of time. You can work for the first half and travel for the latter six months, or, if you’ve saved up beforehand, you can travel for a WHOLE YEAR.
A great thing to do whilst on a gap year is a working holiday visa. These are popular in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. You’re given a visa to work, and on your days off, the country is yours to discover! Australia has a GREAT minimum wage, so that’s a great place to look if you’d like to save up and explore at the same time.
Money, Money, Money
This is the more difficult one to tackle. And saving up can be a SLOW process. But it’ll be worth it!
Pick your destination first.
This is important for two reasons. First, you’ll know approximately how much you need to save up for your trip. Secondly, it’s easier to picture yourself in the destination; you can plan your trip and really get excited about it. When you’re more excited about something and working towards a goal, it’s easier to say yes to an extra shift or to avoid that midday cafe break.
Spend your money wisely.
No, you don’t really need to stop off at Starbucks every day. Think about it. A tall cafe latte is £2.25. If you have that every day, you’re spending £67.50 A MONTH on coffee. Even if you only have it twice a week, you’d be saving £33.75 a month! That’s a significant amount of money. Instead of eating out, eat at home. There are loads of ways to save money.
Take advantage of your age and student identification card!
In Paris, if you’re under 18, you can go to some world-class museums FOR FREE! If you’re a resident of the EU, you can get in for free under 25! There are usually free entrances (or big discounts) on most attractions if you’re a student.
Plenty of shops and restaurants do student discounts. Use them, and be shameless about it! It’s always worth asking about!
Dedicate an account to your trip.
I have a savings account under my bank card strictly for my next trip. It’s nice to have a bank account dedicated to just one trip so you know exactly how much you have saved up already. Making transfers into it, and seeing the amount grow, is such a rewarding feeling.
Avoid extra travel expenses.
Try to save money when booking your flights, hotels, and other necessities, and when you’re actually travelling, try to spend your money as slowly as possible. I have a whole post dedicated to travelling on a budget here.
When you make travelling your priority (after school, of course!), it truly is possible to see amazing things as a student. It takes dedication and hard work to get yourself on that flight, but it will always be worth it.
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