“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.” – Anthony Bourdain
(editors note: guest post by KC Owens)
Experiences for College Students: Tips on World Travels
We all know that people like Hemmingway who traveled the globe when they were young, why not be one of those people? Today, college students experience high levels of stress as we strive to succeed at both work and school. During breaks, I like to spend as much time as possible traveling, and I do it by keeping my expenses at a minimum. In the process, I’ve also learned a little about the best ways to explore new lands and cultures.
How to Finance an International Trip
Of course, college students don’t typically have much cash on hand so working is a great way to earn a little extra spending money. I always hold a regular job while school is in session. While this doesn’t leave me a lot of spare time, it helps me fund my travels. During my time abroad, I sometimes do a little work to bring in a bit of extra spending cash. Rather than waste time and effort acquiring a work visa, I do odd jobs for individuals and small companies like bartending or washing dishes. It’s never an exciting job, but it helps ease the pain in my wallet and I get to meet new people from all over the world. In addition to working, I also bring a student credit card along on my journeys abroad. Most students will be able to find a decent credit card, and young people in particular can use this as a way to build good credit. I charge most of my travel expenses, including lodging and food, on the card and pay it back once I’m home and working more steadily. Often, this makes my monthly payments much easier. You won’t want to put small expenses on the card because that’s just a waste. Therefore, you will need some cash to cover purchases at such places as outdoor markets and some pubs. Overall, a credit card is more convenient than cash, and you will be able to easily report and replace a missing credit card. Missing cash, on the other hand, cannot be traced or recovered and most pickpockets will only want cash or a camera.
How to Pack for World Travel
Backpacking all over the world is best done with just a backpack. Leave the other luggage at home. Your backpack should be lightweight and small enough to fit in train and airplane compartments. It should also fit easily into lockers at hostels. Obviously, in order to fit everything into this backpack, you’ll be packing light. For clothing, bring only moisture-wicking travel gear. You’ll want to include a good-looking shirt or travel-friendly dress for getting into certain clubs, and don’t forget a pair of dress shoes for those occasions as well. Besides clothing, you’ll want a couple of locks to accommodate lockers at hostels where you will keep your belongings when you sleep. Don’t forget a power converter so you can keep your phone and camera charged. Bring toilet paper for emergencies as well as a chamois for drying off after a shower. This works much better than bringing a full-sized towel because they never dry well in your pack and they can be very heavy.
Where to Stay
Hostels are a college traveler’s best friend. I use a free app called Hostelworld on my phone to locate hostels wherever I will be traveling. This app helps me find affordable accommodations that have what I need. Specifically, I look for places that offer student discounts as well as hostels with available 24-hour check-in. You need to be sure that arriving late won’t result in spending a night on the street. Also, make sure your accommodations offer lockers for the safe keeping of your belongings. I generally prefer a hostel with available Wi-Fi so I can send emails and pictures. Although this isn’t entirely necessary, it is nice to be able to check in online now and then.
(Editors note: KC Owens has written and submitted this article. KC is a college student who loves traveling, college 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.)