Rumor has it the best time to travel is when you’re young, but whoever said that must’ve never been a young, full-time college student. As if balancing classes, extracurricular activities, and any hope of adequate sleep is hard enough; finding time to travel during a semester is on a level of its own.
Traveling in college isn’t limited to summertime, holiday breaks or study abroad programs. With the right planning, time management and good resources, finding time to take a trip during the school year may be easier than you think.
Planning is the most vital step in traveling and planning early is key. This is where everything ties together and can be what makes or breaks a trip.
• At the beginning of each semester, check your university’s academic calendar.
When are the holiday breaks and three-day weekends? Take advantage of these long breaks, but also remember this is peak travel time and rates may be higher.
• Look over your syllabi for class schedules and attendance policies.
Check for class periods canceled in advance. Avoid planning trips before or during weeks when big assignments are due.
• When it comes time to schedule for a new semester, give yourself longer weekends and try not to schedule any classes on Mondays and/or Fridays.
• Plan transportation well in advance.
Car or plane? Uber or train? Make these decisions, along with hotel reservations early. Have a backup plan in case these arrangements fall through.
• Allot transportation time to study unless you’re able to complete assignments prior to a trip.
Homework is a great way to kill time at the airport or make the most of a long road trip. Plus, it’s nice to return and not be behind on assignments.
Although planning is key, there’s nothing wrong with an impulse travel. Traveling can be as simple as visiting a nearby city, and what better way to escape from responsibilities than with a weekend getaway?
Cities like St. Louis, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Asheville are less than a six-hour drive from Lexington. For a day trip, visit nearby states like Ohio or Indiana, or keep it local with lakes and hiking trails throughout Kentucky.
If a full class load and other responsibilities leaves no time for recreational traveling, check out the opportunities offered by the university. Using academic breaks to travel and earn credit? Count me in! The best way I’ve found to travel during a semester is with study tours and service trips.
• Alternative break trips
These travel opportunities take place during fall, winter, and spring breaks. It’s a fun way for students to travel and volunteer in a new city or different country, plus it doesn’t hurt to put on a resume.
• Study abroad programs
Studying abroad sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t always mean committing to an entire semester. Many colleges and certain majors offer embedded programs during the winter and spring where students can travel abroad for a shorter period and still receive school credit.
If money is more of an issue than time, there’s ways to make travel cheaper with discount codes and student rates. At the same time, don’t pass up the chance for the occasional splurge on a travel experience. A short trip won’t put you in debt and a weekend getaway won’t cause regret. If the rumors are true, the best time to travel is now, so what’re you waiting for?