Few things have the power to quash student travel dreams quite like money. A widely prevalent misconception is that exciting long-term travel is a preserve of the rich or at least households that have managed to accumulate substantial savings over several years. Yet, whereas travel can be expensive, it is not out of the reach of students.
In fact, the best time to travel is when you are young before you get encumbered by life’s responsibilities and challenges that will make travel more complicated. As a student, you’re not only young, healthy and fit but you’re also likely to be comfortable with lower living standards. Here’s how you can make your travel dreams come true.
1. Start Saving
Travel can be cheap for students. However, cheap travel is not the same as free travel. You will need money whether you are traveling nationally or internationally. You need airfare, you need food, you need accommodation and perhaps you need help shipping your luggage.
Fortunately, it’s much easier for a student to travel on a budget. Students often do not mind traveling cheap, eating street food, sleeping in hostels etc. That means you won’t need huge amounts of cash.
Take an evening job, work during weekends, move to a cheaper apartment (or don’t move out of the home if you’re still staying with your parents), eat out less, use public transport and cut down on non-essential expenses.
The more you save the better but you want to have a definite target so you can know when you have enough. How much you’ll need depends on where you want to go and for how long. Most of Asia is fairly cheap and you can live decently with just 30 dollars a day. You’ll need a bigger budget in more expensive locations like Australia.
2. Read Books and Magazines
Most people, students or otherwise, fail to travel simply due to a lack of information. They don’t know the places they can afford or what they can do to make sure they have enough money for the trip. Books, magazines, and websites can be a useful source of travel and budgeting education.
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If you are a student, this is actually something you can take advantage of because you have access to a wider range of reading resources than the average non-student. Travel books and magazines should be at the top of your list but shouldn’t be the only thing you read.
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Read books about budgeting and saving money. Read books about marketing, writing and making money online. The more information you can gather, the more options you are likely to have on travel destinations and travel budgets.
3. Learn a New Skill
Reading is great and could help you gather plenty of practical travel tips. However, reading books, magazines and travel websites can only arm you with so much information. If you want to actually learn a practical skill that you could use to earn your upkeep before and during travel, it may be necessary to formally enroll in a class.
For example, if you are traveling to an English-speaking country, language is unlikely to be a travel concern. However, if you’ll be in a country or region where people speak a different language, learning the language beforehand will be useful.
Of course, you do not always have to learn the language wherever you go since many countries will have a significant section of the population (especially those working in the travel industry) who can understand English. However, knowing at least the most commonly used words and phrases can prove a huge advantage for students and other budget travelers. Locals are more likely to be generous with tips that will allow you to minimize your spending.
Other skills you could learn that could help you earn money include computer programming, graphic design, writing, videography, and photography.
4. Study Abroad
You can have the best of both worlds. Many universities offer the option to study or work abroad. It’s not just a means of gaining valuable international experience but it’s also a great way to travel. What’s more, unlike personal travel where the arrangements and logistics are all up to you, work or study abroad is approved and arranged by your college. This could convince your parents to let you go if you’re having a hard time doing so.
The programs offer the opportunity to see a new country and immerse yourself in new cultures. They are a crash-course in self-reliance and self-confidence but all within a clearly defined work or study environment. If you are lucky, you could qualify for grants or scholarships that will make your stay even cheaper.
5. Volunteer Abroad
There’s something beautiful about going to a place where no one knows you and helping the less fortunate in society experience a better life. Many students would relish the opportunity to volunteer abroad and help make the world a better place. Few things will leave you with a more satisfying feeling.
There are some nice perks that come with volunteering such as free food and accommodation. Volunteering also gives you one of the best avenues to avoid tourist traps and truly immerse yourself in the local culture.
That being said, volunteerism isn’t without its dark sides. Sadly, not all volunteer organizations are genuinely interested in doing good work. Some are scams and do more harm to host communities than good. Make sure you work with a credible reputable organization.
Travel as a student can be fun, adventurous and leave you with lifelong memories. The above tips can help you avoid the pitfalls and make your travel experience easy and hassle-free.
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