10 Tips for Traveling While Getting Your Degree

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Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get your degree while traveling the world. There are so many opportunities open to college students, even if you’re on a budget, so that you can take advantage of this freeing time of your life. If you ever thought you just couldn’t balance both university and travel, this list of tips is for you. By the end, you’ll be ready to pack your bags and start seeing the world!

If geography is an issue…

1. Choose an International University

This tip is particularly for those located in the United States. As an American will tell you, traveling abroad while living in the United States can be difficult, due to both price and geographic location.

You’re probably pretty envious of your friends who live on the European continent, who find visiting other countries and cultures as easy as hopping a four-hour train. You, on the other hand, have to drive several hours to a major airport, then take a 10-hour flight, that is likely hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars.

To work around this, look into universities in other countries. Many accept U.S. students and are pretty cheap — sometimes even free! You’ll be instantly immersed in a new and exciting culture, plus, you’ll be right where you need to be in order to easily visit other countries on holidays and over the weekend.

Some countries to look into for your international education include Germany, France, Iceland and the Nordic countries.

2. Study Abroad

If you can’t do an entire four or two years of university in another country, think about studying abroad for a semester instead. You’ll get to experience a new place for a smaller amount of time, but with extra perks that make it easier for English-speaking students to adapt. You won’t have to curtail your entire education if you’re already in school somewhere and you’ll still have easy access to visiting other nearby countries on weekends.

Choose a country that’s a quick trip to other countries, though. For example, if you’re studying in England, you’ll have a harder time seeing other countries on the European mainland than if you were in, say, the Netherlands, where you have quick train access to nearby cities like Brussels and Luxembourg City. Then, when you’re not studying abroad and at home in the U.S., travel domestically to scratch the travel itch — you’d be surprised at all the cool locales in your own country.

Now, if you already live outside of the United States and somewhere where travel is a bit more geographically do-able, you need some other tips, and these are for you. So…

If time is an issue…

3. Time Management

Maybe you think that you just don’t have enough time to travel to a new city or country on the weekend, because of all the studying, homework and other items on your plate. That’s okay! There are ways that you can get around this, believe it or not. All it takes is a little time management and some help from the experts.

For example, EssayPro is a reputable source for essays, when you know the topic, but just don’t have time to sit and write a paper on it. Source out your knowledge to a professional writer for an affordable price and get a brand-new essay that you can turn in on Monday.

If you’re not keen on letting someone else do the work for you, try to break up your time spent studying and working into bigger chunks. Instead of studying a few hours each day leading up until the weekend, study for several days, all day, and use your extra time gained to travel on your free days.

4. Use Your Free Time the Best You Can

Free time is a precious commodity and you can never have enough of it…but don’t think that just because you seem to have no free time whatsoever that that’s really the case. Most of us have some sort of free time, that we’re just not viewing as such.

For example, those few hours that you spent drinking at the pub is free time. On a larger scale, which is more relevant for this case, the week you spent going home to see the family over Christmas is free time. If you want to make travel your top priority, consider skipping the holiday trip home and go somewhere new instead.

5. Don’t Limit Yourself

Don’t limit yourself to a traditional university path. Today, you can get online degrees easily and affordably, which allows you to study and travel simultaneously — no need to limit yourself to a certain place or space for the majority of your time. If you have the dedication and diligence to work wherever you happen to be — on a train, at the airport, at your Airbnb — then this might be the right choice for you.

Additionally, if you foresee yourself wanting the nomad lifestyle long-term, even after college, then this experience will not only reveal whether or not you could work remotely for a company while traveling in the future, but it will also look good on your resume to future employers.

If money is an issue…

6. Looks for Student Discounts

If you think you have the time and the right location already, but you worry about the money it takes to travel, don’t. There are plenty of ways for you to travel on the cheap, especially as a student.

For example, there are student discounts everywhere. You can get student discounts on short flights, student discounts on train tickets, metro passes and more.

Likewise, if you keep your student ID handy, you’ll always have it so you can get those much-coveted discounts (or sometimes even free entry) on museums, historic spots and other popular attractions.

7. Make the Right Friends

Before you begin traveling, make friends with the right people, namely, the international students. Learn about their home countries and strike up a real bond. Not only can they tell you all about the places you want to visit, they could also help you get there more affordably, by inviting you to spend a week with them at their home over the holidays, or by just helping you arrange cheaper flights and stays through their local knowledge.

8. Learn to Give Up Luxuries

While the backpackers and globetrotters on Instagram look like they’ve got it made, there are some behind-the-scenes things you should know — primarily that not everything is glitz and glam while you’re traveling on the road, especially as a young person.

If you want to truly see as much of the world as possible while going to university, you might have to lower your standards a bit. This means that instead of staying at nice hotels, you stay at hostels; instead of eating at fancy restaurants, you eat street food.

All of this can make for an even richer and amazing travel experience, but if you’ve only ever traveled with your family, where mom and dad are footing the bill, it can come as a shock.

9. Start Saving Now

Just like everyone can find free time in their lives, if they look hard enough, everyone can find free money in their lives, too. There are definitely some non-essentials in your life that you can cut out, leaving you with more money to travel with. It’s just up to you to make that choice.

Consider giving up your daily coffee order at the cafe and making your coffee at home. Skip a lunch out and make your own lunch and bring it along. Stop buying cocktails at the bar and make your own, again, at home. Some extreme travelers have even been known to sell their cars, downsize their apartment and clean out their homes to sell whatever they don’t use.

There are lots of ways to cut costs, but you’ll have to make the sacrifice.

If your parents are the issue…

10. Convincing Your Parents Traveling is Best

No matter where you live, your time management skills or the money in your bank account, if you’re not able to convince your parents that globetrotting is a valuable experience during your university years, you’re going to have a hard time hitting the road.

There are plenty of studies out there showing that students who travel often do better than those who don’t, and are likely to develop social skills and life skills that benefit them later on. You can also show how, if you want to study abroad, that foreign skills often provide more value than schools in the United States.

The best thing you can do, though, is to show your parents that you’re responsible, trustworthy and capable of taking care of yourself while you’re traveling internationally. If you don’t show them those traits at home, they’ll only imagine the worst occurring while you’re far away in a foreign land.

Whatever happens to be standing in the way between you and travel during your university years, don’t let it! Break down the barriers and enjoy the experiences you crave while getting the education you need. It’s more possible than you think!

About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

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