Life is busy, busy, busy between school and work, but taking well-deserved vacation can be done! At the time of writing this article, I have been to 39 countries in the past five years, all while being a full-time student and working up to three jobs at any given time. The number one question I get is, “How do you do it?!” While juggling full-time school and work, there’s plenty of tips and tricks to help you get out of the classroom and onto that plane. Here’s six points that have helped me along the way:
1. Working A LOT- Currently, I work full-time, plus two side jobs, and go to law school full-time at night. What this means though is that there’s rarely a day off, as I usually work seven days a week. This means time management, sometimes not getting a lot of sleep, and excellent stress management. Also, that means not striving to be top of the class. Reading for class on the go and on lunch breaks is a must! Having a work-study job and doing homework during that time is essential.
2. Working Remotely- Find a job where you can work remotely. Editing, data analysis, or anything done on the computer and Skype meetings can be done not at the office and therefore abroad. There’s plenty of jobs that offer remote positions. This allowed me to work throughout many of my extended trips, including two study abroad programs. Once again, time management is key with this. Check out my blog post about what it’s really like to be a “Digital Nomad“!
3. Study Abroad- Something undergrad institutions won’t tell you: DOING A SEMESTER ABROAD IN CERTAIN COUNTRIES IS CHEAPER THAN A SEMESTER AT SCHOOL IN AMERICA! University in Germany and many other countries is free. Doing a study abroad semester in Fulda, Germany, paying rent there, airfare, and traveling to eight other countries was cheaper than paying tuition, fees and rent at a State University in the United States. For anyone outside of the United States reading this: tuition can be anywhere between $3,000-$60,000+ per year. Many people take out loans to pay for this and pay it back throughout their lifetime. In the U.S. you have to take general credits for your university and you should do those abroad, so plan early for setting up your credits. Take the max credits or overload on credits towards your major so you have time fit a semester abroad into your schedule. And if you’re taking out loans for your university semester normally, then could you instead take out the same amount in loans and just go to another school abroad?
4. Budget Traveling- Hello Hostelworld and Skyscanner! Staying in a hostel dorm can save you so much money, and Skyscanner can help you find the cheapest flights. Look for flights on days like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and on big “retail sales” days. Also sign up for email lists with the airline for promo codes, deals, and alerts for low prices! Pack light to save on luggage fees. Go to the grocery store when you’re there so you don’t eat out every meal, and use the local transportation if you can navigate it. Splurge on what’s important to you, but cut the unnecessary spending.
5. Unconventional Ways to Earn Money- From donating your eggs or sperm, selling plasma, selling clothes, gaining points through Lexis Nexis to save on groceries, getting the Achievement app that pays you to track your health, taking online surveys, or getting a credit card that gives you travel points: it’s a way to earn money! You can even earn money by getting in shape through DietBet or HealthyWage. These apps helped me get in shape and paid for part of my Southeast Asia backpacking trip. There’s babysitting, even apps where you can house-sit or watch and walk dogs. It’s a gig culture now, but every bit counts when you’re saving up for that next trip!
6. PRIORITIZING TRAVEL- If you want to go somewhere, then make it a priority. This is THE most important point. Pack lunches most days, stop eating out so much, skip the expensive coffee, skip a night out to pick up an extra shift, and cut the consumerism mindset. Ask your friends for a fun night in cooking dinner and drinking some Trader Joe’s wine instead of throwing down $60 between dinner and drinks. Don’t buy textbooks! Scan the pages instead and you’ll likely save $1,000’s. All of these little things can have a huge impact. On the topic of time, plan a trip during school vacations. Take off from work and go! Don’t think that you can’t take a few days (or longer) off because whenever you don’t ask the answer will always be no. As a student, your employer should understand you need flexibility. Lastly, if you’re spending a month or more out of the country then sublet your apartment and use the money that you would for rent towards the trip. Find a place while you’re home that you can return to if you can’t sublet! This means being flexible and not having many possessions.
When you make travel a priority, you’ll be set in no time for your dream trip! Work hard, travel harder.
Are you a student? What do you do to save up for travel? Comment below!