Are you dreaming of travelling the world but are still studying? No problem, even as a full-time student, there are ways of seeing parts of the world step by step.
Now, let me say there is no magic trick that allows you to travel long-term and automatically have a degree appear in your CV. But with a little budgeting you might be able to fit in a bit of traveling every now and then. Here are a few suggestions of how to travel as a student.
1. Study Abroad
Now studying abroad is probably the easiest way and the first thing you would think of when wanting to combine studying and getting to know a new culture and country. Basically, you can either choose do to your whole study abroad or only do a semester during your study. I did both and both definitely have their benefits.
Doing you whole study in a foreign country can be a great idea because often tuition fees abroad can be cheaper than in your own country (depending on where you live).
And also if you want to study something really specific, foreign universities can have better and more diverse course offers. Additionally if you live in a very expensive country, maybe moving abroad where living costs are generally lower would not be a bad idea as well.
Or if you’d rather not move to a new place for the whole duration of your study then only one semester abroad would be a good opportunity to discover a new country.
Some study programmes make it a requirement to spend some time abroad in order to graduate others give you the opportunity to add some time abroad if it is not included in your programme. For more information make sure to contact your study advisor or find more information on your university’s website.
2. Do an Internship Abroad
Some study programmes again have mandatory internships. But even if that is not the case, doing an internship anyway will only come with benefits.
If it is for a couple of months or only for a couple of weeks is totally your call. Other than getting to live in a different country, you also get new insights into possible career prospectives. You even get to know a place so much better by actually working while traveling and not only being on vacation.
3. Work for Accommodation
This would be something I would recommend maybe for the summer holidays if you would like to go to a new country but your budget does not agree with your travel choices. If you work for accommodation you will have to do actual work but in return you get free accommodation and sometimes other benefits such as discounts or free breakfast.
A lot of Hostels offer the possibility to work for accommodation so you can always check out their website or try to contact hostels in advance in a country of your choice. The reason why this activity would be best for a longer holiday is the fact that most places want people to work for a minimum amount of time (about 4-6 weeks at a lot of places).
Anyway if you have the time, working for accommodation is a cool way to be abroad but not spend a fortune on accommodation.
If you don’t know what that means, WWOOFing stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms. And it is basically a unique form of working for accommodation. How it works is, that you will be working on a farm and in return get free accommodation and food. A lot of countries have their own wwoofing networks (e.g. Australia, New Zealand, loads of places in Europe, Costa Rica, South Africa etc.).
In order to be able to participate in the wwoofing network you have to sign up for a specific country’s network in advance and pay an annual fee. With this membership you will be able to access all the farms and contacts that participate in the programme and are able to contact them yourself to find out about availability.
The cool thing about this programme is that you will get to live with locals for a while and understand their culture and also see a country from a whole different perspective. You also won’t spend a lot of money. Usually there is not much to spend your money on around farms. And the best benefit I believe is that you can be a lot more flexible about the duration of your stay. Some farms only have a minimum duration of stay for three or four days.
I have done some of wwoofing in Australia and it has always been a great way to meet Australian families and also save some money at the same time. I had never had a bad wwoofing experience so far and I would definitely recommend everyone to try it out at least once.
5. Couchsurfing/ House sitting
All us students constantly have to budget and keep track off our expenses so couch surfing and house sitting are two cool ways of staying at a country for FREE. With couch surfing you get to stay at someones home and meet some locals which is always great. By doing house sitting you get to take care of someone’s house while they are gone or on vacation themselves.
6. Explore your own Neighbourhood
As a German I always get asked questions like: “Which city would you recommend to travel to, Berlin or Munich?” And I always have to answer that “I don’t have a clue” because I’ve been to Berlin once when I was 10. Also up until my first Oktoberfest experience two weeks ago I had never been to Munich. And now, I still can’t say I’ve actually been to Munich because all I’ve seen was Oktoberfest and the camp site.
When I was still living in Germany, I never had any interest to travel anywhere in that country but after being gone for years I feel like I want to see some places at some point. At least to be able to tell you which city would be better to travel to. So what I’m saying is that a lot of us never actually travel their own country. We always try to travel as far away as possible and we never actually really appreciate the places that are close to us.
So why not travel around a little in your own country and neighbourhood. You might be surprised on what you have been missing out on all these years.
7. Take Student Trips
I don’t know how else to call these and I am not sure if all universities do it. Anyway, I know some student associations or international student programmes offer short weekend trips or study trips to neighbouring countries or regions.
These trips sometimes include company visits or anything that makes it study related to some extent. However, these trips can sometimes be a lot cheaper than traveling individually because it will be booked as a big group and the study association might also have a little budget that is contributed to the trip.
Therefore it is always a good idea to keep track of ongoing travel events offered by your university.
8. Stay in Hostels
And use Hostelworld to book your Hostels! This doesn’t really feel like a point that I should mention but I still can’t believe how many people I have met outside of backpacking that have never stayed in a Hostel before. That is just super weird to me because most people I met in my life I have met in a Hostel.
So if you are not used to staying in Hostels you are missing out on a place where amazing friendships are formed. And also it is so much cheaper than staying at expensive hotels. And not just the accommodation itself is cheaper, Hostels also offer travel discounts or free activities.
9. Set your priorities
Moving on from budget travel tips to the right mindset. If you want to travel on a budget prioritising is key. Basically, if you spend all your money on going out and expensive food while you are not traveling, there will be no money left to travel at all. So think about how important it is to you to be able to travel while being a student.
Because most likely you will have to make some sacrifices. Therefore, if you want to be able to travel as a student, traveling has to be one of your priorities. Do you really need to buy clothes again? Do you really need to go on a night out? You decide how you are going to spend your money.
10. Look for free activities
Now we have figured out how to stay at places on a budget but the next step is to also make your travels budget friendly. So I would suggest before choosing on where you want to travel to you can have a look online to see how many free activities are available at that place. And also if it would fit with your budget.
Most cities offer free walking tours, or free museum entries at specific days. So knowing all of this in advance can be useful when figuring out if traveling will fit your budget.
And I guess that was it, here were 10 tips on how to travel as a student. Of course traveling cheaply and budgeting will only work to the extent where you actually have money coming in. So further, getting a side job beside your study is probably necessary if you want to be able to travel.
Anyway, if you are reading this, I hope you got at least some ideas of how you might be able to travel as a student. So let me know what experiences you had in the past about traveling while studying.
Talk to you soon x
And are you looking for cheap accommodation anywhere? Then go check out Hostelworld, my favourite website when it comes to booking accommodation abroad 🙂
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Wow, that is quite a list! You did all of them? I would love to do a Europe tour and visit all these wonderful places.
It’s very useful, thank you for sharing! Some of this tips can be used even after graduation which is great.
i have done this when I was around 22 year old. Sadly, in India, these things don’t work because of family restrictions and prejudices.
What a great post! Love all the creative solutions and I definitely agree that being a student is something that doesn’t stop you from traveling. I myself worked part-time while studying and rented my room out on airbnb while I was gone to make the most out of my travels:)
As an older traveller I wish I had spent more time travelling when I was a student, and there are some great tips here to help people do so. I always saw money as a barrier, but with communities like Couchsurfing and WWOOFing it’s possible for students to travel these days without a huge bankroll. Excellent advice!
So useful! When I was a student I didn’t travel. Now that I am headed back to school I have been looking at how I could do it still! This is very helpful.
Suxh great ideas! I’ve done most of these and think they are great ways to travel for less. I love workaday and also studied abroad in Korea and Germany. Thanks for such great tips.
Whenever I traveled as a student I fixed a defined budget for the respective trip and never allowed myself to go over, unless it was an extreme situation (like illness). It helped me travel with a light heart!
Wish I had done more of these things when I was a student 🙂 ! But I am glad to pick a few and try now too. WWOOF and couch surfing are great ways to budget travel and setting the priorities is important! As backpackers who typically do slow travel, we so resonate with quite a few tips shared here!
Great tips! Looking back at my student years, I really wish I did travel more, but I’m glad that at least I have a chance to do it now. This it great for students though, because the opportunities you mention are real and worth trying!
That’s some really good advise. I did rather a lot as a student and always stayed in hostels, and did practically every free activity I could find. Even did a study abroad which turned out be a really rewarding experience.
Excellent tips for budget travellers. It is really important to stick to a budget once you have worked it out or else you could find yourself in all kind of difficulties.