One of the most asked questions on my social media is how I’m able to travel so much as a student. Between a tight schedule and a tight budget, it’s certainly not easy to travel as a student, but with some careful planning its completely manageable!
I personally really like travelling as much as I can during the school year because then I avoid all the tourist traffic over the summer. I still do travel over the summer of course, it’s a lot easier schedule-wise, but I’ve finally found a way to travel during the school year without impacting my studies or my grades and I’m going to share with you exactly how I do it.
Take advantage of breaks
A lot of Canadian universities have reading weeks during midterms, usually in October and February. These are perfect opportunities to get away for a week! My current university doesn’t actually have a fall reading week in October, however that just means we end a lot earlier for Christmas break. If you’re school semester is structured like this too, you can still get away for a few days in between Christmas! If you have an extra week off after New Years as well, that would be an even better time to travel as you’ll avoid all the traffic and higher fees of travelling over the holidays.
If your winter semester ends in April, you can also consider travelling in May. You’ll beat the tourist rush that follows in June-August and May is considered low season for a lot of places in Asia, so you might even be able to save some money by travelling this time of year!
Manipulate Your Schedule
When choosing your courses try to manipulate your schedule to your advantage. Of course, your priority should be making sure you’re taking all your required courses, but if you have some wiggle room try scheduling classes only a few days out of the week. This will give you more time to do some travelling! I like to schedule my classes in the middle of the week and try to have Friday or Monday off so I can have a three-day weekend to do a little travelling. 3 days is more than enough for a little staycation or road trip!
Take Online Courses
Taking courses online is another great way to manipulate your schedule in order to give you more time to travel. Online courses are great because you don’t actually have to be in class, so you can even keep up with your course while you’re travelling. Taking just one or two of your courses online each semester will also give you a better chance of being able to have days off during the week so you can take those long weekend trips.
Study Abroad or Participate in Field Courses
Participating in a study abroad is one of the most cost efficient ways to travel for an extended period of time without interrupting your studies. Many schools offer exchange programs in which you pay your home schools tuition to study at a school overseas. The only additional costs you’ll incur are flights and living expenses, which can easily be afforded on a student budget with some careful planning and saving.
Apply for Scholarships
Going hand in hand with studying abroad, many schools offer scholarships or travel grants to students wishing to study abroad. Check with your schools financial office to see if there are any travel grants you may be eligible for.
Work on Campus
In order to save money to travel working on campus is one of the best options for students. It’s understandable that maintaining a part time job while studying can be difficult, but most campuses offer a work-study program in which hours are tailored to your schedule. This is a great way to make some money and save up for travelling while still in school.
Work in a Travel Related Job in the Summer
The summer is when most students slave away in order to save money, so if you’re going to be working 40 hours a week anyway, why not spend it doing something you love? There are many different tour companies tailored to students that hire students to be guides over the summer. Check out S-Trips for some fun tropical trips and if you’re feeling really adventurous have a crack at being a Contiki summer tour guide!
Even better, try starting your own travel blog so you can make money while you travel! Stay tuned in the new year for my comprehensive guide on how to start your very own blog!
Plan, Plan, Plan
The saying “a goal without a plan, is just a wish” rings very true when it comes to travel. I am able to travel so much because I want it bad enough. I put a lot of effort into carefully planning my trips and working hard to make the idea of them a reality. Nothing I do happens by accident. This means I forgo $7 cocktails with my friends to save that money for flights. It means I spend hours searching for the best deals and cheapest rates for the places I want to go. I sacrifice sleep in order to maintain my average while working part time and managing my blog.
Believe me when I say you can live out your travel dreams even when you’re in school, you just have to be focussed and motivated!