Photo: Jesse Delgrosse @gringosontherun
Love to travel, but feel your full time university commitment will never allow you to? Think again. With a little time and money management we at Gringos On The Run are able to jet set and explore much of the world in our spare time, and on University time and University budgets.
But what spare time?...and what spare money? The key to traveling more is to make it your priority. I want to go here, now how can I achieve it. Here's how you can do it. Make sure you read through to the end, where we discuss ways to afford it, too!
Make the Most of Weekends
One of the easiest ways to fit more travel into an already-busy life is to utilize your weekends and organizing your schedule to get a Friday or a Monday off. There is so much to explore in the Canada and U.S that there is endless places that are close by to fill up your spare time. Why not head to the Grand Canyon one weekend? Or fly to Portland to eat for a couple of days?
What about a hiking trip to the Adirondacks? Or a weekend in Quebec City?
Set a goal of traveling on a weekend a couple of weeks ahead of time and work extra hard at school and work to give yourself enough free time to explore without homework hanging over you. Another great tip is utilizing your travel time to get work done. I've written some of my best papers while on a plane.
Spring Break is all about taking a break from work and letting off some steam, so why not use your allotted time off to explore somewhere further away than North/Central America?
If you're one of the lucky students to receive two week's vacation time, why not head to cheap Southeast Asia and spend two weeks island hopping around Thailand? Yes, it's expensive to get to, but while you're there, you can get by on as little as $20-30 a day while maintaining a great quality of life.
Plan a Big Trip for Your Summer Vacation...and Actually do it!
The summer is the perfect time for planning a big adventure. Take advantage of the two-month-long break and explore new regions of Europe.
While two months can sound hideously expensive, you'll be surprised how cheap you can travel around parts of Europe if you're doing it on a budget.
Take Eastern Europe, for example. In Eastern Europe, you can find a bed in a dorm room hostel for less than $10 a night, food comes in at around $10 a day, and transportation from country to country rarely costs more than $20. Think about how much you spend at home on a daily basis and it's likely to be much more.
If Europe still seems too expensive, what about spending a couple of months traveling in Central America? This part of the world is less touristy than Europe and Southeast Asia, and remains incredibly cheap especially for North Americans. If you avoided Belize, Costa Rica and Panama and prioritized time in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras you can get by on as little as $15.00 a day.
Sign Up for a Study Abroad/Exchange Program
Of course, one of the easiest ways to travel as a full-time student is to change your current location through a study abroad program. For anything from a semester to an entire year, you'll be living in a different country with a new culture to explore. If you're lucky enough to be placed in a college in Europe, you can use your spare time to fly to new countries every few weeks! We did this all last winter with Sweden being our home base and we managed to visit Italy, Morocco and Spain all in a month while going back and forth to Sweden to attend class! Flights are extremely cheap in Europe if you fly midweek with Ryan Air and Easyjet
So How Can I Afford it All?
Travel doesn't have to be expensive, and if you get yourself into a budget traveler's mindset, you'll be surprised to learn that travel is often far cheaper than your day-to-day living costs at home!
Here is an article we wrote to help you get started:
How to save money on flights: This article covers how to get to your destinations on the cheap. Make sure to check several websites -- Skyscanner, United Flex Fare, Adioso are my favourites -- and look for flights over a period of an entire month. Even better, if you just want to get away, you can search from flights to "everywhere". With plans that loose, you'll be sure to find a bargain.
The Best Websites for Finding Student Airfare: If the websites mentioned in the previous article haven't brought anything cheap up, try these student airfare sites. They generally have less options for dates and destinations, but they're guaranteed to offer some serious discounts.
How to utilize student discounts
What student travel discounts are:
If you're between 12-26, the travel industry considers you a student traveler and you are eligible for student travel discounts. Travel companies from Rail Europe to Greyhound offer student travel discounts -- here's the love:
Student travel ID and discount cards:
Several student travel ID cards, like ISIC, exist which can provide student travel discounts on everything from travel itself to books and movies.
Flashing a student travel ID card at sightseeing sites around the world can often earn you a student travel discount of 10%-50% off (even if no student travel discounts are advertised).