You are young and ambitious. You know that you want to experience life and not to settle for existence where you happen to have been born. You want it all. You want a good education and a satisfying career. People will encourage this and give you plenty of “atta boy’s!”
If you happen to mention that you want to see the world while you are in your student years, the atmosphere changes. You are suddenly met with cold silence. Your parents look at you in horror. Why is travelling the world while you are a young student met with such disbelief?
Fear of the unknown
It does not matter if you are 2 or 32 if you want to venture to an area in life that your parents did not go before you, fear takes over. Mothers have visions of trying to speak to the police in a language that they do not understand. Fathers see you out partying it up and throwing away your future. This is the battle at hand. It is simply fear.
It is a good idea to have your plans in place before you tell your family that you are leaving the country. Be ready to answer their questions. Show them that you have thought it out and you are ready for the adventure. That doesn’t mean that they will give you their support, but it will make it clear that you are able to decide for yourself and they will eventually come around.
Do the math
It is absolutely true that students can travel cheaper than other groups of people. But, cheap is not free. It still takes money. You will have to sleep somewhere. You will need food, travel funds, and supplies. You may want to take cheap train, plane, bus, or bike rides. This makes it difficult to take your luggage. You can travel very light or have your luggage shipped instead, to your final destination.
Here are some tips that will help you make your dream a reality:
Learn the exchange rate of currency. It makes a big difference.
Research the costs of living in the places you are going. Some countries are much more expensive than others.
Work as many jobs as you can and save the money. Having work experience as a handyman, gardener, cook, dishwasher, and window cleaner may give you the edge you need to help you earn your way around the world.
Set up a crowdfunding account. Ask family and friends to contribute to the account instead of graduation gifts, birthday gifts, and holiday gifts.
Research places to stay. Sometimes you can rent a room in a private home cheaper than going to a hotel or hostel.
Check out volunteer programs. Often you can get free lodging in exchange for volunteering for a project. This is a great way to give back to the country, build your resume, and save some money.
Download apps that will help you communicate. Perhaps the hardest part of world travel is the language barrier.
Use your smartphone to identify where you are and where the nearest police, U.S. Embassy, and hospitals are.
Check with your bank to see if you can access online banking from your phone or computer in another country.
Check with your phone service provider to ensure that you will have service.
Make an itinerary
This not only makes your family feel more comfortable, but it is a smart move. If you get lost or ill, people will need to know where to begin to help you. Set up an online itinerary.
For some reason, when people leave home, they tend to leave their common sense behind. Here are some things you should keep in mind.
Do not carry large amounts of cash.
Do not be totally without cash. Sometimes cash is the only currency a place takes.
Do not overindulge with alcohol. If you get loaded in a foreign country, it is an invitation for a mugging.
Speak half as much as you listen. Do not get thousands of miles from home and tell everyone that will listen that you are traveling the world alone.
Keep copies of all your documents. Have a spare copy in your luggage or fanny pack. If you lose your wallet, you will need copies of all of your documents, credit and debit cards (front and back), and emergency contact information.
Traveling the world while you are a student is possible. It is a wonderful opportunity for you to experience life while your responsibilities are limited. Have faith in yourself. Make a plan and make it happen. You only get one life, make it a memorable one.
This post was by the lovely Wendy from OutreachMama – go check her out if you enjoyed this post!