Traveling on a budget as a university student – by KC Owens
The life of a college student is complicated. At the end of the semester you feel a surge of relief that you’re done with all the work and finally have a bit of freedom. What should you do with it, though? There are many options, from going home to getting a job in your university town, but when you think about it, this is the time you should really be exploring the world. Who knows whether or not you will even have the opportunity to do so after graduation? So why not seize the moment and travel between semesters this year? If you travel the right way, you can make some bucket list items disappear.
Funding the Trip of a Lifetime
Of course, if you’re going to take a whirlwind trip, you’re going to need to find a way to pay for it; that’s always the first thing that goes through your mind. How will I pay for this if I’m already trying to pay for school? While it’s definitely a good idea to work a few hours here and there throughout the semester to build up your savings a little – and it can’t hurt to beg your parents for some cash – you’re probably not going to have the funds to finance your whole trip. This leaves you with one final choice: you’ll have to use a credit card. Bring some cash with you, since not everyone takes a card, but don’t carry too much at once. It can be dangerous to travel with hundreds of dollars in your pocket. If you’re looking to buy food or drinks at a small shop in the middle of nowhere, you’ll need a few bills on you.
By using a travel credit card when I fall short on funds, I can live more comfortably during all my backpacking trips; it has worked well for me so far and I’d recommend doing your own research to see if it could be an option for you as well. It allows me to buy larger items without having the money up front. I buy my plane tickets, train passes and I book hostels with my credit card. Also, when you’re bouncing around from country to country, your card will automatically change currencies so you don’t have to waste time and money at small currency-exchange kiosks
Staying Overnight in a Foreign Country
You’ll need to find places to stay on your trip and this is very important. Hostels are a great option and usually the cheapest; though, you can also research networks of people who rent out their personal home or even invite guests to sleep on their couch. Couchsurfing is a great way to not only meet people, but save money while on the go. This is helpful because your host will be familiar with the town and can offer useful advice about which tours to sign up for, which monuments to see and where the best places are to eat. It can be unsettling to fall asleep in a strangers’ home, but if you’re comfortable with it, then go for it!
What should you bring?
Figuring out what to pack is always one of the biggest challenges. Traveling light is a good idea for a number of reasons. If you’re traveling through several countries and using many forms of transportation, then you’ll want something small and light so it is considered a carry-on item. Furthermore, having a small pack adds convenience to your trip and allows you to tour the city freely with everything you have and not be bothered by a heavy weight.
When I travel, I stick to one backpack. The convenience of this is incredible and quite affordable if you buy a pack from the right place. Of course, you’ll want a few necessities, including: good walking shoes and clothes that will dry quickly if you happen to get caught in the rain. Of course a wallet is an absolute must, and you should keep it in a zipped pouch in a zipped pants pocket if at all possible. This is one of your most prized possessions throughout your journey and you cannot lose it. Your ID and credit cards are in there and you don’t want anyone getting hold of those. Should you lose your passport and other forms of identification, immediately seek help from the Canadian embassy and they will begin the process of sending you home safely.
KC Owens has written and submitted this article. KC is a university student who loves traveling, university 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.