Traveling the World: Travel Tips for College Students

Krakow, Poland
As a general rule, college students experience a lot of stress. On breaks from school, it’s important to take time to blow off a little steam. Since most of us are still young, traveling the world makes for a great way to unwind. Of course, we also seldom have much money, but that won’t get in the way of traveling as long as we are careful. Here are a few tips I've found useful when globetrotting during breaks.

I am commonly asked how I afford my travels. This is a fair question; most college students are in debt from loans and other bills. Me too. At first, my travel buddy recommended I do some research to see which types of resources could be available to me. According to Credit Card Insider, many students get a travel credit card that gives them rewards, which help offset their expenses. This worked out great for me even though I spend very little money on things other than airfare when traveling. Although I work a regular job while school is in session, I have found it helpful to borrow some of the money for my journeys; this way, I don’t need all the money up front before I go. I use the card to pay for most of my travel expenses. Then when I return from my trip, I pay back the money with earnings from my job and it works great.

The credit card helps with more than just financing different vacations. Unlike cash, a lost or stolen credit card can be easily reported and replaced. It’s also a lot easier to keep track of than cash; I keep mine inside an ID wallet that I always leave in a zippered pants pocket. I can then use the card for payment at most establishments, although I keep a little cash to spend at outdoor markets or small local pubs. The best part of the card is the automatic exchange of currencies. When you’re bouncing around from country to country, the last thing you want to do is exchange your cash at a little store because they’ll charge you with a heavy fee.
Many people also ask me what I pack to take with me on my travels. In short, I take as little as possible. It’s much easier and cheaper to travel with a small amount of items. For luggage, I use a small, lightweight backpack that fits easily into lockers for safe keeping at hostels as well as into compartments on planes and trains. Packed, it weighs about 10 pounds. In it, I pack a couple basic travel outfits, all made from wrinkle-resistant, water-wicking fabric. I always include a travel-friendly collared shirt and dress shoes so I can get into clubs with a dress code. Instead of a bulky umbrella, I pack a lightweight travel raincoat. Other essentials include a roll of toilet paper for emergencies, a power converter, a couple locks to secure belongings and a chamois to dry off after showers.

Inexpensive lodging is pretty easy to find as long as you know where to look. I use an app called Hostelworld on my smart phone to help plan my trips. When looking for accommodations, you need to keep a few things in mind. First, always make sure your accommodations allow 24-hour check in. Arriving after hours might result in loss of a down payment as well as no place to stay the night. Most hostels will offer lockers for guests to use, but be sure this is the case before booking your stay. Also, locate hostels that offer student discounts. These can help cut costs of lodging as well as food and drink. A nice amenity to have at hostels is Wi-Fi, but it isn’t as important as other things.

If you’re looking for a way to enjoy yourself while seeing the world, consider using these tips to do some of your own globetrotting. Just remember to bring your student ID along with you so you can take advantage of the student discounts available around the world.

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.

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