COLUMN: College students shouldn't be afraid to travel


Many college students pay for tuition, class supplies, housing and other necessities by ourselves with the help of financial aid, scholarships or some help from family. Because of this, students tend to think that traveling and going on trips, isn’t possible while in school. 

I don’t think that we realize how important and rewarding traveling can be, no matter where you go or where you're at in your life. 

With the daily stresses we face with studying for classes full-time, while also holding down a steady work schedule, we all need to release some steam during the weekends or holiday breaks. 

Instead of paying for overpriced drinks at the local bars every Friday, why not take a weekend off from partying and travel out of the state, or even just out of the city?

One of the main reasons why it’s so important to travel and experience the world is because it gives you more experiences and knowledge about what life is like in another part of the country, or the world.

Experiencing the world first-hand is so much different from watching documentaries, or scrolling through a social media influencer's Instagram filled with pictures of them in beautiful places. In reality, there are no filters or posed photos. There are different sights, sounds and smells of regular life. 

As cities around the world are growing, so is the world’s demand for globally-minded people, and the best way to achieve that is through traveling. 

Traveling while in school is an investment in your education. The things you learn and the skills you acquire while traveling can help you achieve a global perspective that no textbook or class lecture can give you. 

Even if you are traveling for pleasure, no matter where you go, there is always going to be something to learn – whether it be a new perspective on a different culture from your own, parts of a new language or just how people in that area live and experience life. 

As someone travels more, their independence and confidence improve. By visiting a new place, you expose yourself to a new environment, which many people break out of their comfort zone and adapt to something new. Meeting new people and going to new places could mean new opportunities for you that wouldn’t have been available if you hadn’t traveled.

Since I graduated high school in 2016, I’ve been able to travel to a handful of U.S. cities including San Francisco, California and Savannah, Georgia. I am planning my second trip out of the country to Carvoeiro, Portugal in May of this year. 

Traveling has allowed me to understand that there are many opportunities around the world that I wouldn’t have been exposed to if I hadn’t traveled to that area. 

I’ve been able to meet new people who have made a lasting impact on my life. Traveling has made me force myself out of my shy, comfort zone and experience new things like jumping off the Blackrock Diving Tower in Galway, Ireland.

But most of all, traveling has taught me that life is not just going to school, getting a job and starting a family. There is so much out there to be experienced. 

However, traveling doesn't have to be just for pleasure. Students can apply for Study Abroad, take Alternative Breaks and apply for internships across the globe. 

Even on a budget, students can take trips during a holiday break or long weekend without breaking the bank.

First, choose where you want to go carefully. Depending on the location, you might be able to save more money while still having a great experience. For example, $100 might last you one or two days in Paris, France, but just a train ride away in Angers or Poitiers, $100 might last you one week. 

We all know that airfare can be very pricey, but plan it right and you can get a pretty great deal. There are different ways to find the right ticket. If an airline decides to post a sale, they will go on sale on Tuesday mornings. Flights are also generally cheaper when the departure and return trips are set for a Wednesday. As for when to by the ticket, about three months away from the departure date is usually the best when purchasing an international flight. Domestic flights are usually flexible and the prices are best between three and one months before departure. 

There are various flight-booking sites that can get you a cheap ticket, but StudentUniverse is a student-only booking site that provides discounts for flights and hotels. 

To further cut travel expenses, hostels can be a cheaper alternative to hotels or Airbnbs. Most offer group rooms will small bunk beds for groups of travelers or private rooms. To get around the city cheaply, use public transport like buses, trains and subways, or if possible, walk, bike ride or take Uber. 

Last, but not least, use your student status to your advantage. The International Student Identification Card allows you to get student discounts around the world. It can get you discounts on airfare, public transit, area attractions and more.

Overall, there are many different resources for students that can make traveling the world on a college student's budget. One of the most common phrases I've heard from past college graduates is that they regret not traveling during college and that they don't have time to do it now because of work. 

With some of these resources, you don't have to be one of those people.