Seeing the World as a Poor College Student

Planomania.com is proud to introduce the site’s first guest blogger, KC Owens! 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.

Hiker andresAzp via Compfight

Going to college is a great experience; you get to meet new people from all around the world, study new things and live life a little. Now, it all sounds positive but it doesn’t come without it’s share of anxiety. The truth of the matter is that being a college student can be a remarkably stressful time in your life. As a result of all that stress, I always need to let loose for a little while and hit the refresh button. Personally, I like to travel around and meet new people; that’s my refresh button. It can be difficult because world travel is not cheap but college is a fantastic time for you to go see new sights and experience life in a different manner. Lucky for you, I’ve done this once or twice so I know where to cut corners to help make world travel more accessible for the average student.

Paying For It

The first concern most people have is money. Now, it really does take a fair amount of cash to go see the world but that doesn’t mean it cannot be done. The best way to cut corners is by plotting out your trip in advance. First, pick countries with positive currency exchanges so you get the most bang for your buck. For example, the US dollar is about three times stronger than the Polish Zloty. This makes everything more affordable!

Now, I work during school to help ease the pain in my wallet when it comes time to shell out money for plane and train passes but it doesn’t completely cover my costs. Not everyone has a few thousand dollars lying around, and that is where the research comes into play. I always try to borrow the rest of my funding so I know I am covered. According to Credit Card Insider, today, more students are borrowing money to help pay for vacations and education so hey, why not follow suit? The student credit card that I have for traveling is great. It helps convert currencies automatically for me and is much safer so carry than a wad of cash. Carrying too much paper cash in a foreign city can make you a target so watch out. Aside from being easier and safer, my card is great because it helps give me cash back on my major expenses. The tricky part is paying off the debt once I return home; if I do not pay it off quickly, then it becomes more expensive with interest. If you’re going to use a card, be responsible and do some research ahead of time to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

Packing Intelligently

To continue saving money: next, choose the right piece of luggage for your trip. A good piece of luggage will have plenty of locks, and it will also be relatively small and compact. It will be something that you can haul around over your shoulder and across your body, and it will hold everything that you need. That’s why I always bring a hiking backpack and nothing else. When you go to pack it, remember that you can get a lot more space out of your bag if you are willing to roll things up. Take a moment to think about the kind of clothing that you want to bring along. Choose clothes that are relatively light, and ideally ones that are a fifty-fifty cotton poly blend. Clothes that are only made out of natural fibers often hold water too long, and clothes with a bit of polyester in them resist wrinkles.

How does a backpack save you money while traveling? By having one pack, you make it harder for pickpockets to steal from you so you don’t end up buying things twice for one trip. Next, most airlines and trains will charge passengers more for extra bags or heavy bags; if you have one small bag, then you won’t be charged extra! Finally, while you’re staying in hostels (because these are the cheapest form of lodging) you will need to lock your bag a locker. If you have four bags then you’ll need four lockers as opposed to one small one.

Doing Laundry

When you are on the road, you are going to get dirty and your clothes will need to be washed. This means that you need to have your clothes cleaned, but where can you go to get the job done? While some countries have a laundromat on every corner, you may be surprised to find that others do not. Wealthier foreign travelers might have the hotel take care of them, but what do you do if you are a poor student? First, ask around for a coin laundry. When you find the coin laundry, remember to stay with your things. There are far too many people who steal clothes out of the laundry, and the last thing that you want to do is to keep come back and find that all you have now is the clothes that you are wearing. If you have packed wisely and you are using thin clothing, you can often wash the clothes by hand in a sink or even with a hose and hang them up to dry.

If you cannot find someone who can answer your laundry questions then be an advocate for youself and answer your own question. There have been several times where I needed to wash my clothes (badly) and I used Laundry Finder to help do this. It’s a great app for your phone that helps locate where the closest Laundromat is and shows you how to get there. I would highly recommend giving this a try.

 

If you want to see the world and really learn more about other cultures, it is up to you to see what is out there. There are so many things to see and do, so don’t limit yourself. Pick the destination that you have wanted to see since you were little and head on over!

About Rebecka Reddick

Budding writer/blogger and education major. My passions are travelling, writing, teaching, and Les Miserables.

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