How to Keep Traveling When You Aren’t Studying Abroad
How do you adjust from traveling for a whole semester to life back in your college town? Try working travel into your life at school.
Anyone who’s spent a few weeks, or even a whole semester, studying abroad knows how hard it can be to return to school and stay in one place. As great as it can be to be back on campus with friends, nothing compares to the time you had abroad, so sometimes life in your old college town can be a little dull.
Personally, I studied abroad during the summer, so I’ve always had a severe case of travel fever during the school year. Eventually I had to fight this bug, so I got off of my “travel dreams” Pinterest board and found ways to work travel into my normal semester at school.
Here’s how it’s done:
1. Change your expectations. In order to work travel into your daily life at school you have to shift your mindset and get creative. If you’re like me, you may have taken for granted the fact that you were traveling almost every day on your study abroad. Now that you’re back at school traveling is a luxury instead of a norm, so in order to make it work in your regular routine you need to see it that way.
2. Take day trips. Open up your map app and find cities that are close enough to drive down for a day to explore! For me, this means traveling from my small town in Tennessee to Nashville, Atlanta, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Gatlinburg or the Blue Ridge Mountains. Each destination, even though they are close to home, makes a great day trip that breaks up my school routine. If you work hard to find unique spots and experiences in each place it will feel like sight-seeing all over again. To make the trip worth it pick a destination within three hours of your college town.
3. Take weekend trips. Have a weekend free? Jump in your car and hit the road! Weekend road trips are great experiences to have in college, and they allow you to travel farther than you could for a day trip. Pick places to visit that are between 1-5 hours away to make the trip worthwhile. Stay with a friend in the area or use couchsurfing for a new experience and free place to stay, or try a hostel.
4. Join organizations that take trips. For two years in a row I got to travel to NYC with my school newspaper. Because it was a group trip we got really good deals, and some expenses were even covered by the school! Look for organizations that offer trips like these during the semester.
5. Travel on school breaks. I know it’s tempting to hit the beach on spring break, but why not use that time to explore somewhere you’ve never been instead? Pick a city you’ve always wanted to visit, grab a few friends and plan the ideal weeklong trip. I would suggest picking a destination you can get to by no more than a day of road-tripping so that you can spend as many days as possible seeing the city.
6. Save money! Take advantage of your burning travel fever and set a budget for yourself that allows money to travel often. It will be easier to skip eating out and avoid impulse buys when you’ve got a travel goal in your sights. Put away money each week toward a travel fund that can cover gas, lodging and all activities you may want to do on your trip.
Even though your time studying abroad was once in a lifetime, that doesn’t mean all traveling has to stop when you get home. Take advantage of these tips and make travel part of your normal life back at school.
Photo taken on a day trip to Atlanta.