College is the best time to see the world. You’re still young, bold, and full of energy and ambitions. You don’t have a full-time job forcing you to be in the office nine to five, kids who need a drop-off to school Monday to Friday, and a mortgage better to be paid ASAP. You’re free like a bird.
At the same time, studying in college often costs students an arm and a leg, which makes this freedom a little bit less accessible. Knee-high in debts, many of them choose to study hard and work their socks off just to repay the tuition credit sooner – and nip their dream of traveling in the bud.
Others, however, use these 7 tips to work around the problem and afford traveling while studying and even paying off their student debts.
Consider Internships or Volunteer Programs
The easiest and most beneficial way to go abroad in college is to find an internship at a foreign company. Not only can you go to the country of your dream, but also receive valuable working experience as a bonus for your future career.
The offerings usually differ depending on the program. But if you’re lucky to get the ideal scenario, the company will cover travel and accommodation costs, not to mention the salary you will be paid. This is an excellent opportunity to see the city you’ll be living in, as well as explore the neighboring territories in your free time.
Don’t be upset if you didn’t win the internship; volunteering is an excellent way to travel while helping different communities and learning new skills. For example, Central America has an array of student projects – from building neighborhoods and infrastructures to studying local flora and fauna and up to developing alternative energy sources. Do some digging – you’ll definitely find something to your taste.
Get a Part-Time Job
In college, many students try to find a part-time job to earn some cash and cover their daily expenses. Additionally, working part-time is a great way to save some money for your future trip.
When surfing different opportunities, make sure that the job you choose has a flexible working schedule so you could fit your lectures, tests, and exams between the shifts. You might even consider freelance jobs. They will give you enough freedom and flexibility to work anywhere and anytime you want to always meet academic deadlines and perhaps, even work while traveling.
“My first freelance job came my way when I was a second-year student of an English Literature department. A scientist going to Costa Rica hired me among other professional biography writers to craft his story”, confided Stephen Morris. “I loved the cooperation. The client paid my trip expenses in full, and that was the time when my book was born; I’m going to publish it soon”.
Travel with a Friend
If you don’t mind a company, split the travel costs with a friend. A journey is always more fun when you can share it with someone, and you’ll also save some cash. It may be your classmates or someone you met on the train while traveling. Just make sure your friend has the same travel priorities as you do. If you want to sleep under the stars and eat simple food, going on a trip with someone who expects a five-star hotel with an all-inclusive package isn’t a good idea.
Minimize Travel Costs
Another good way to cut down the costs is to minimize travel expenses. This includes food, transportation, and accommodation.
Taking a taxi might be the fastest way to reach the destination, but definitely not the cheapest. By choosing local public transport, you will save a decent share of your travel budget, while also enjoying local nature, architecture, and vibrancy. This is a good choice for students who want to deeply feel the spirit of the country and receive a rich cultural experience.
When you’re on a tight budget, gourmandizing in restaurants might not be as good an idea too. Instead, give preference to street vendors or cooking. Some of the street vendors were even recognized by TripAdvisor, and it’s an excellent chance to taste some good, fresh local food cooked right in front of you. Or you can buy the ingredients in the grocery and try to cook local delicacies yourself.
Finally, if you’re choosing where to spend your nights, consider Couchsurfing. This is an excellent opportunity to crash on a couch in the local family in exchange for language practice with a native English speaker. They may even invite you on a cultural tour around the city or offer you to try their local cuisine masterpieces.
Take Advantage of Travel Rewards
Travel rewards can be a great leg-up when your itchy feet don’t let you sleep at night but you’re short of money. Some students even manage to cover 90-95% of their travel expenses with the rewards only. Besides, you’ll have to build your credit reputation anyway, why wouldn’t you start yet as a student?
Check what credit cards are available for you now. If you travel often, you may benefit from the cards offering travel miles every time you’re booking a flight or a room; it means that any next trip may cost you nothing.
If you’re more of a road-trip kind of person, you’ll be happy to know that some credit cards offer travel rewards when you fill in the tank. The next time you’re out there driving with friends, pay with your card – just make sure you get your money back.
There are also cards that offer miles, points, or cash back for purchasing and ordering in participating stores, restaurants, and bars, paying rent or utilities, while some just expect you to spend a certain amount.
Pick the card based on your lifestyle and needs, and enjoy traveling without hurting your budget.