By KC Owens, Guest Writer
The best time to travel is while young and not yet burdened by mortgages and families to support. However, being a college student also means that there is often not enough money to travel the way most tourists do. So, how can I travel the world and broaden my horizons without going into debt or without spending all of my tuition funds? It is possible to travel the world during school breaks without spending too much money.
During my school semesters I always work a part-time job to earn money for airfare and train tickets. It can be difficult to balance work and studies with any sort of leisure time, but I remind myself that while I’m beefing up my work resume, I’m also making money for experiences that will last a lifetime. And the friends and contacts I make in my travels will be invaluable to me later as I’m building my career. I can always catch up on sleep on the plane when I’m on my way.
Before my first overseas excursion, I fell short of my budget goal and had to find another way to fund my trip. After some research, I found I was able to get a student credit card that would world well for me overseas. Using a student card while traveling is a smart way to make sure you have funds when you need them. It also keeps you from having to carry cash with you when traveling, which can be dangerous if you carry only cash. I also found it useful because it automatically exchanges currencies while I’m on the go so I never have to worry about stopping at little kiosks and changing my currency.
When paying off the credit card bill later, don’t forget that you can use your travel experiences to make some money when you get back. I’ve had success selling articles and photographs from my travels. Check with travel magazines, travel sections of newspapers, and airline journals as well as online travel sites.
Aside from transportation costs, there are ways to travel and experience the world for very little money. I have had luck looking for volunteer opportunities where I spend some time working for an organization in exchange for room and board, and there is plenty of free time to explore the city and country I’m visiting. One place to check out is WWOOF. This organization matches up students with farms all over the world where the students will work for a place to stay and food to eat – often some of the freshest and most amazing food you’ll find anywhere. You can get a year’s membership for $40 and gain access to some amazing job opportunities abroad.
Not wanting to work while you’re traveling? Couchsurfing is a great way to look for a place to stay while in another city or country. The site is free and a great way to meet people who live where you are visiting. There are hosts in over 100,000 cities. While staying with your host you’ll get the inside scoop on the best places to shop, the newest clubs, and the places where the locals like to hang out. This is one of the best ways to learn about a place – by staying away from the hotel districts and staying where the residents live. Be sure to contact your host before you show up at their door!
KC Owens is a college student who loves traveling, college life, fitness and a good survival kit. He enjoys studying different cultures, meeting new people and leaving his footprint somewhere most people only read about.