Why Travel Now When You’re a Penniless Student

September 27, 2015

by — Posted in Travel Wisdom

You’ll never get that much time off when you start working.

Why travel later when you can travel now. Once you step into the working world, say goodbye to month long holidays. You would be restricted to 14 to 18 days of vacation leave. Of which have to be approved by your boss. You may not be able to take vacation days on certain busy periods or may be restricted to taking just a week off at a time. A month off or two is a luxury you wouldn’t have anymore when you start working. As a student, you would get up to 3 months off a year. Finish your assignments before the start of the break and you would be commitment free for the entire month. Your schedule is open and flexible, there’s the option to take the cheapest flights during the off-peak days which saves you money. You could go on longer trips, travel slow and far. Which brings us to the next point.

You get to travel long and slow – the best type of traveling to do.
It’s cheaper to travel long and slow, you would get to see more too. Really, each trip should be at least a month long to see a place economically and justify the money spent on a long haul plane ticket. Especially if you are traveling from Asia to see Europe, South America or Africa for example. Traveling slowly on land via local transport (as opposed to planes) lets you see more and allows you to mingle with the locals. What’s more, it could potentially save you money – local transport is less costly than air in regions with few or no budget airlines.

You will earn the money back.
As a penniless student, your bank account will be pretty empty. The hours you put in at your minimum wage student job will not translate to a lot of money. However, fret not as your earning power should double or triple when you graduate. By then you’ll have the money for traveling but no vacation leave to spend it – don’t let that happen! Don’t be afraid of spending the hard earned money from your student jobs on traveling. You will most definitely earn it back over the course of your working years (estimated to be 27 years). However, do not go into debt – only use the money you earn and save.

You’ll have more responsibilities .
As the years go by, you would have more responsibilities. Right after graduation there’s the pesky student loans. A few years later, a mortgage and a family (assuming that you want it) – all very expensive and time-consuming stuff. Travel when you’re young and you’ll travel with a lighter load of responsibilities. Also, you feel less guilty about spending your money on travelling as student than a working adult, kind of. With little financial obligations there’s less stress about money. When you’re older it is likely that you’ll feel guilty about spending money on travelling instead of repaying your mortage or on your children’s education. You’ll worry more about spending the money, then you end up not taking that trip at all. Which you might regret.

You get discounts and student prices.
As a student, you stand to gain free/cheap admissions to museums in major European cities. Also you would be able to get discounts on rail, bus or even flight passes. Always remember to ask your air carrier if there’s any student discounts available and if you could get more luggage allowance if you need it. I used to book with STA, they offer students 10% off air fares with an ISID card. Although 10% doesn’t seem like a lot, savings can be substantial especially for long-haul flights (you get to save $250 when you book a $2500 flight), definately beats paying full adult prices. As an international student studying in the UK, I used to call airlines and ask if I can get more baggage allowance. I got 10kg more with Thai Airways and 5kg extra baggage with Singapore Airlines. Some countries like Bhutan offer discounts to students too. The National Tourism Organisation of Bhutan offer students 25% off for visiting their country (http://www.tourism.gov.bt/plan/discounts), that’s a major discount especially since Bhutan can be quite an expensive country to travel.

You regret things you don’t do more than the things you did.
This is scientifically backed. Researchers identified two types of regret:

  • Action regrets – regretting something that happened
  • Inaction regrets – regretting something you did not do but wished you did

Guess which one is more painful than the other? Have you ever said “I wish I didn’t go on that trip.”? I thought so – chances are that you have never. Scientists say that most of the time regret about actions are less painful in the long run than those about inaction.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. ” – Mark Twain.

“I do not regret the things I’ve done, but those I did not do.” – Rory Cochrane

Inaction breeds regret, so make plans for your next trip while you still can as a student. Travel now!

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