How to Travel as a Student
I travelled a lot as a student. After bidding farewell to compulsory education at 18, I traveled to Thailand and then had a boozy holiday to Tenerife. The first summer of University, I backpacked Australia with my housemate for two months and then came back and went to Zante for a week. The year after that I completed an internship in Honduras and backpacked Costa Rica and then the year after that I went to Croatia with my chums.
How did I do all of this amazing travelling? My parents? Nope. Sacrificing a social life? Definitely not. Working my absolute arse off all year round? Not quite.
I managed to travel to all of these different places whilst still in education because I was determined to do so. From the minute I decided to go to Thailand, I knew that I would not be satisfied with a tiny scope of the world. I also knew that the only way for that happen was to make it happen myself. Obviously I didn’t pay for flights, insurance, visas and spends through good will and determination itself, I had to work hard to afford it, too.
Seems like an obvious one, but so many students fail to get jobs whilst at University. I can understand why, if you do actually do all the work you are supposed to do then it should equate to a full time job… and if you can live off your loan then why not? Well, you miss out on so many other things you could be doing, obviously. Student jobs are usually pretty mindless and always part-time, what’s sacrificing 12 hours of your week so that you can spend 2 months of your 4 month long summer backpacking Asia? I had a great job at uni as a student ambassador. It was right on campus, well paid and flexible – and paid for my trip to Australia!
Again, an obvious one, but if you’re determined to go travelling whilst in education, you need to save. In my first year this meant sacrificing a few nights here and there, buying very basic, value food, working and not really shopping… ever. The slight envy you may feel when your friends are prancing about in new clothes is incomparable to the absolute freedom you get from travel. Worth skimping a little bit for a few months, right? Besides, I still managed to have a very good time at university and had my fair share of unnecessary material possessions. eBay is your best friend.
On that note, it’s worth mentioning that eBay really can be your best friend in more than one way. That battered pair of Converse that you really think you ought to chuck out? Stick it on eBay. I kid you not, I once managed to blag £30 for a pair of Converse I was going to throw away. Sell anything and everything – not only will you save some money for your travels, but you’re kind of recycling as well. Sustainable living, everybody wins.
Do your research. Think you can only save about £1000 before summer? Then go somewhere cheap. Travel Asia, South America, Eastern Europe. Your money certainly won’t get you far in the States or Australia, so choose wisely. Look at jobs. I did an internship for a month in Honduras – I had to pay a set fee, but got great work experience, food and accommodation. Seasonal work is also great, a good friend of mine worked as a lifeguard in the US for one of her uni summers. Another volunteered in Thailand. Another taught English in Spain. It doesn’t have to be all spend, spend, spend.
5) Don’t Make Excuses
So many people say to me, ‘I wish I could do what you are doing.’ Why can’t you? You have no money? See point 1 and 2. You don’t have anyone to go with? Rope someone into it or just go by yourself! You don’t know where to go? Pick up a travel book, look at a map, go to the travel agents! You have a part time job? Easy come, easy go. The best way is to just book a flight. That way you have to start saving, you can’t wriggle out of it, and it’s never going to be one of those things you kick yourself for not doing in the future.
Sadly it’s been 2 years since I enjoyed the bounteous benefits of living as a student, and saving for travelling is a lot more difficult with the real world looming over your head – so enjoy it while you can. Don’t waste possibly (and rather depressingly) the only time in your life when you get almost 6 months of the year completely free!