“I’ve been homesick for countries I’ve never been, and longed to be where I couldn’t be.” – John Cheever
The need to travel fills the hearts of many of us. People inherently want to experience foreign places, eat exotic food, and submerge themselves in cultures that are completely new to them. Visiting new places offers expanded viewpoints on the world and a sense of adventure. Unfortunately, traveling isn’t exactly cheap. Traveling as a hobby or taking time off work or school to travel can be unrealistic and costly for many of us. Not many of us have the ability to travel to a different country a few times a year to fulfill our deep-seeded need for adventure. Fortunately, there are other ways to travel the world that are much more of a lifestyle change than a costly vacation from work.
There are opportunities for students to study abroad as a way to travel and experience a new country while obtaining college credit. Many universities offer study abroad programs to make the experience easier for both institutions and the students. For students that can’t afford to take winter or summer sessions to travel the world, the option to take classes overseas has the potential to fulfill the need to travel while helping add college credits to your transcript and also aid in resume building. According to National Study research, Study-abroad programs, whether short or long term, can significantly enhance students’ formal education and improve their future employment opportunities. This world-class education experience can offer many different study abroad programs in a number of countries, cities, and communities.
The cost associated with these programs varies by each program or school, but the experience isn’t free. Fortunately, since it’s a school sanctioned program many are covered by financial aid. Out of pocket expenses do add up, however, with the need for food outside the program or other expenses not associated with the education system. Even some online universities are offering opportunities to study abroad for their students due to the overall positive nature of the experience for those participating in these programs worldwide. By studying abroad you’ll be gaining educational credit, experiencing a different area of the world, and immersing yourself in a different culture for months or even years.
Volunteering your time is a great way to gain a real understanding of new areas while you are traveling. You will be submerged into the culture of your area in a way you wouldn’t be able to if you were visiting as a tourist. There are a ton of options on how and where to volunteer based on your financial status, desired job, region, and what you’d like to take away from the experience. Many volunteers say that volunteering around the world is not only a fulfilling experience for the wanderer, but also for the soul. You’ll be traveling the world while helping the community you live in which is a pretty unique experience to have.
You have the option to set up your own volunteer itinerary if you’d like, but the cost effective way to go is to join an organized volunteering program. They usually offer a payment package for housing, living costs, and travel costs. The key is to do your research and find the volunteer programs that have all of your required credentials. Make sure you share the same mission, have all of their bases covered, and offer a learning program to get you up to speed on your volunteer experience. Many volunteer options include working with children, teaching English, providing medical care, building homes, cleaning up cities, and many more possibilities to help the community you will be a part of.
Working seasonally is a great way to travel while making money instead of going broke to see the world. This is a great choice for student that have their whole summer free, or any traveler that wants to follow the seasonal work wherever it takes them. Summer work programs in high-tourism areas are seasonal worker havens. They tend to provide higher wages, housing options, and a community full of fellow seasonal employees to connect with. It gives you the opportunity to work fun jobs guiding, entertaining, or working in hospitality. You have the choice to follow the season of your choice and work at the job of your choice. If you do plan on working seasonally out of the country, the process to obtain a work visa needs to be done well ahead of time. Be prepared and cautious about the country or location you’ll be visiting as some work visa holders have been targeted by certain scams with threats for deportation. Do your homework and be knowledgeable on your rights in the region you are in.
Many seasonal workers choose to work for cruise lines, tourism companies, or hotels that have programs friendly towards the seasonal population. Because many seasonal locations have so many seasonal employees, they have programs and employment packages specific to their seasonal population. Just be sure to look into the industry and decide if seasonal work is really for you. And of course there is the added perk of making money while traveling instead of spending money while traveling. You will still have your living expenses and the expense of moving once the season is over, but it’s far better than spending a lot of money to experience a city for a few days as a tourist. For the cruise line workers especially, the traveling opportunities change by the day.
For those of us that crave adventure and have a need for travel, thoughts of traveling the world can be overwhelming if gone unfulfilled. Don’t feel caged by the thought that you’ll only be able to see the world as a tourist on your week long vacation from work or on spring break from school. There are many other ways to explore the world while studying, volunteering your time, or working. For the wanderer in all of us, it’s best to explore every path for adventure.
About the Author
Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Boise, Idaho.She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She is an adventurer, a photographer, and spent five years working seasonally in Alaska. She spends her time missing Alaska, exploring Idaho with her fiancé, and wishing she had taken more photos. Follow her on Twitter!