Being a college student means that you have almost too much free time to explore the world and experience new cultures. Your schedule is flexible and you have a little bit more freedom than you had back in high school. And because traveling is one of your assured paths to gaining a more expansive and understanding of life, you have more than enough conviction to travel. You don’t have to be too rich to travel the world- there are many fun destinations that you can tour with your small student budget.
However, although traveling is a lot of fun, sometimes it can get quite stressful. You are sometimes packing and unpacking suitcases, sometimes you are freaking out about whether or not your visa will be approved, and at times you are doubtful about having to spend time away from your home; your loved ones.
Thankfully, we have collected tips from seasoned student travelers, tips that will help you undertake your trips as relaxed and as stress-free as possible. Here are 7 of those:
Find affordable flights
Before you commence any other traveling plans, start by finding a reputable travel agency that will help you make flight reservations and apply for a visa without breaking a sweat. A good agency will also help you score cheap flights. Note that finding cheap flights during summer can be difficult, so you may need to travel during the low seasons, especially winter. Accommodation rates are also relatively affordable for students around those times.
Get some inside insights from students who’ve made it their life to explore the world. Such students will give you invaluable advice on where to go when, what to eat where, and where to stay when. These students will probably have friends in your dream destination and can easily connect you with someone who will host you upon landing. Of course, their experience doesn’t have to be the same experience you will have, but they will at least give you an idea of what to expect.
3. Leverage abroad internships
Some universities run student exchange and internship programs. Ask around to know whether such a program exists in your university. If it does, apply for one and take that chance to travel abroad for free. Most of these programs give students food and accommodation- some will give you a little cash to spend, all in exchange for your skills.
4. Bring a friend
A friend is an extra cushioning in case you are stranded or you land in trouble when exploring faraway lands. First, a friend is an extra layer of security. Second, you can cost-share on accommodation. Third, you will have someone to keep you company and help you ease into the foreign culture.
5. Try free trips
Volunteering is one such trip. There are many non-governmental organizations out there that are willing to sponsor your life abroad for as long as you volunteer in their charitable work. You will be given free food and accommodation, and you will not have to stress about travel logistics. Apply for short-term mission trips in your religious organization and spend your summer vacation in South America or Africa. You will see everything the continents offer tourists, immerse yourself in the cultures you never thought existed, and in the end, do something good to and for humanity.
6. Bring a book
If you don’t like to read, a magazine or some music will be fine. Anything to keep you from boredom during your long flights and those lonely nights is fine. You will not be too stressed if you have a collection of all the movies and series you love with you. Carry pictures that you can look at whenever you feel overwhelmed by homesickness.
7. Leverage free tours
Tours can be overly expensive for a student because most of them are tailored for wealthy and working-class tourists. The good thing is that there are many free tours that you can jump onto. It is courteous to give the guides a little tip, but the tip is nothing compared to what you’d have to pay for a paid tour.
Packing up and leaving your comfort zone could be the best idea you’ve made yet. Just remember that timing is the key to successful traveling, especially because your budget doesn’t allow you to travel when everyone else is traveling. If you can find a way of spending a semester abroad with an international internship, the better because you will hit two birds with one stone- Travel and study at the same time.