We know how hard it is to be a full-time college student, especially when you have a lot of homework to do and gather credits for future exams. But what if you can travel around the world during your spring break or Christmas vacation with a small budget?
In this article, we will spill the beans about how to travel as a college student with or without financial aid and how to create a perfect budget for longer trips. Just pack a bag, and let’s dive into your dream trip.
Advantages of travel for college students
If you choose work or study abroad programmes, it has a lot of benefits for you as a full-time college student. Overcoming hurdles when travelling helps pupils gain confidence and prepares them for life’s challenges. It teaches you skills such as budgeting, navigating territories, and handling unexpected situations with ease. For example, free walking tours are perfect for discovering different cities during the off-season or summer break.
Another significant aspect is the appreciation for the cultures that travelling offers. Firsthand experiences make you understand and respect the diversity our world possesses. You’ll discover mindedness and empathy towards others.
International travel, mainly as part of a group or as part of a program, provides young people with a global network of contacts and references. Rather than relying on the opinions of others, travellers gain perspective, confidence, and conviction, which makes it simpler to gain the respect of others.
Travelling also adds value to your resume, impressing employers. It shows that you are adaptable, curious, and skilled at problem-solving. Additionally, you may acquire language abilities. Gain experience, which is highly advantageous in today’s globalised world.
It is difficult to travel away from the comforts of friends, family, and familiar surroundings. However, doing so demonstrates that you’re interested in the rest of the world and confident enough to travel out and discover new places. It is a desirable personality attribute among colleges and employers.
Tips and tricks for travelling college students
We’ve got some handy ideas to make your travels both enjoyable and economical, whether planning a weekend getaway, a semester abroad, or a summer backpacking trip. So grab your backpack and prepare to learn the secrets of globetrotting on a budget!
1. Create a reasonable budget for your student trip.
The simplest method to save money is to grasp the actual value of your income and how to prioritise your expenses. Tuition fees are only one of the things you must consider while studying abroad; you must also include living expenses and meals. All of these things reduce your money and limit your possibilities for having fun. Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with many money-saving tips and ideas for students.
Our first tip is to understand where your money goes. It is the second step in learning how to budget as a student because it is critical to know what you spend your money on before making cuts or budget-friendly decisions. The most straightforward place to begin is with a list of all prospective charges.
For example, tuition is likely your most expensive expense, affecting your costs when you work or study abroad. Accommodation is usually the second most costly expense for students. However, the type of accommodation you choose determines how much you pay and save money in the long term. Staying in a dorm or sharing a flat is usually less expensive than buying an apartment alone.
2. Travel for free as a college student.
Many airlines, hotels, and other travel-related businesses provide student discounts. Take the time to do your homework and find out what discounts are available. To assist you with your study, Open Travel Grants is an online database that releases grant opportunities for travellers regularly without breaking the student schedule. The most recent travel grant options for financed travel can be found here. Numerous student discount cards, including the Student Advantage Card, are available in the United States and internationally. You should bring your student ID card with you whenever you travel. You can get an International Student’s Identity Card from ISIC for student discounts worldwide.
Connect with generous hosts worldwide who offer you a place to crash for free. It’s a fantastic way to meet locals and save on accommodation costs. Platforms like Workaway and WWOOF let you work in exchange for room and board. You might find yourself on a farm, at a hostel, or even helping with a cool project.
3. Choose the offseason period for travelling.
By planning your college vacation during the offseason, you can enjoy travel deals you won’t find during the peak season. No off-season is a horrible time to visit because destinations must earn a profit, so you’ll still have a fantastic time as a college student.
For example, when it’s summer vacation, travel to South America or Australia, where it will be colder or winter, when it’s winter, head to South East Asia, where it may be the rainy season.
4. Save time and money on transport and flights.
For aircraft tickets, GoogleFlights, StudentUniverse, Hopper, and Skyscanner are all excellent resources. StudentUniverse offers exclusive student discounts, but we suggest you check Google Flights since you can follow the price of a flight as it fluctuates and book it when it is at its lowest.
Renting a car when you’re under 25 is expensive; therefore, we advise college students to avoid it. Instead, use public transit to move around at a reasonable cost: learn how to use the metro or bus system and use UberPools if possible.
We recommend Wanderu for longer-distance travel. It’s a scraper that collects and evaluates long-term public transportation choices, including bus and rail rides. It also works in the United States.
5. Try international summer internships.
Internships abroad have numerous advantages for college students. You not only go overseas, but you also pursue your professional goals. There are also websites like ProFellow that can help you obtain fully-funded international internships and fellowships.
ProFellow.com is the world’s most extensive online resource for professional and academic fellowship information. They provide users with an unrestricted fellowships database that allows them to search and bookmark over 2,600 fellowships and fully financed graduate programs.
They also publish pieces written by fellows with application suggestions, features and interviews with current and previous fellows, and fellowship calls for applications. In addition, they established the International Fellows Network, a global professional network of current and previous fellowship recipients.
6. Gather your friends and decrease the travel costs.
One of the most significant expenses when traveling is accommodation. By inviting your buddies, you can share the cost of hotel rooms, Airbnb rentals, or even campsites. The more friends you bring, the more you can divide the bill, making it budget-friendly.
Gas, rental cars, and public transportation can add up quickly. Traveling with friends allows you to split these costs, making it much cheaper per person. Plus, road trips with friends are a ton of fun!
Also, many attractions and activities offer group discounts. So, gather your gang and take advantage of these deals. Whether it’s museum tickets, guided tours, or amusement parks, your wallet will thank you.
7. Join work exchange programmes.
Consider a labor exchange programme when in doubt. Among the alternatives are WWOOF, Help Stay, and WorkAway. You can work in a hostel, as a volunteer at a school, or with an NGO. These are not compensated positions because you are working in exchange for a place to stay. Before you travel, we recommend researching voluntourism. Responsible travelling is critical to the future of travel and knowing our impact on the world.
8. Choose hostels, not hotels.
Hostels are one of many ways a student can travel on a budget. However, it is one of the simplest ways to save money. Hostels are social, inexpensive, and force you to leave your comfort zone.
Hostels are also ideal for students due to the abundance of freebies. They provide complimentary walking tours, breakfast (in most cases), and discounts on bar crawls and other activities.
9. Pack smart
Before you think about stuffing your backpack or suitcase, list everything you’ll need. Start with the essentials – clothes, toiletries, chargers, and academic materials. It will keep you from overpacking or forgetting crucial items.
Roll your clothes instead of folding them. Not only does this save space, but it also minimises wrinkles. Plus, you can easily see what’s inside your bag without making a mess.
Pack versatile clothes that can be mixed and matched. Neutral colours are your best friends anywhere. A few basic tops and bottoms can create a variety of outfits, allowing you to look fab without bringing your entire wardrobe.
Shoes can be space hogs. Opt for comfortable, versatile pairs like sneakers, one pair of sandals, and a versatile dressier option if needed. Wear your bulkiest shoes during travel to save space in your luggage.
Invest in some reusable travel-size containers and decant your favourite products. Not only does this save space, but it’s also more environmentally friendly. Remember to bring a good, reusable toiletry bag to keep everything organised and leak-proof.
Packing cubes are the unsung heroes of smart packing. They keep your clothes organised and make it a breeze to find what you need. Pro tip: use different colours for different types of clothes (e.g., one cube for tops, another for bottoms).
You can buy what you need at your destination. Focus on the essentials, and remember that most college towns have stores for emergency shopping. You’re a college student; chances are, your electronics are an extension of your body. Pack all the chargers, but keep cables organised with cord organisers or even a ziplock bag.
A mini first aid kit can be a real lifesaver. It doesn’t have to be fancy, just some band-aids, pain relievers, and needed medications. You’ll thank yourself if a headache strikes mid-trip.
If your trip involves some study time, pack your notes or textbooks in digital form. E-books and PDFs can save you loads of space. Remember your laptop or tablet and chargers.
10. Get ready to make sacrifices.
In addition to all these options to travel as a full-time college student, making little sacrifices is sometimes necessary. Saving money, for example, involves going out less or working more shifts or jobs. Applying for additional scholarships implies spending less time socialising to complete them. And, if you study abroad for a semester or a year, you will miss the milestones of people you left behind.
As a broke college student, it’s difficult to travel more! It necessitates planning, sticking to that plan, and keeping your eyes on the prize. While it would be ideal to find another college student to hold you accountable, there are times when you must rely on yourself. So, be organised and prioritise all potential actions and duties.
Collect memories, not things.
Whatever strategy works best for you as a full-time student is the best way to travel! Some people begin by studying abroad for two weeks. Later in their undergraduate college career, people may go overseas for extended periods. Others choose to spend a year studying abroad or taking a gap year.
Some students choose not to study abroad at all. Some students make the most of their breaks or acquire internships abroad (or are required to travel). There are numerous ways to study abroad. So speak with your parents, counsellors, and the study abroad office to choose the best path. No is the worst thing anyone can say. Take the plunge!