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How to Balance School & Travel

Believe it or not, traveling regularly throughout the school year helped me be a better student. Think about it. Schools specifically place breaks around midterms and other stressful periods of the year in order to give students time to recoup, catch up or get ahead. Even going on a quick ”staycation” can allow you to walk away from a stressful situation, assignment or environment and come back refreshed and ready to tackle it with a new frame of mind.

1. Make the Perfect Schedule

Example of the table I use to create the perfect schedule

Plan out your schedule a few days before registration by creating a table. This really helped me! This way I could make sure my classes didn’t over lap and could strategically place them in a pattern. For example, I would place all my classes on only Mondays and Wednesdays or Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I would always try to avoid having a class on both Monday and Friday. If you don’t have Monday and Friday classes you automatic have a long weekend all semester.

As a freshman, this may be more difficult. Some universities, such as mine, has your adviser make your first semester schedule. Because of this, you don’t have much say over your schedule. I still encourage you to take a trip or two during this period. Stay on top of your school work and have some fun too.

2. Get Ahead on Assignments

This is partly why I feel traveling during the semester helps you as a student. One of my biggest problems as a student, which a lot of us deal with, is procrastination. Let’s say you have an assignment due Friday at 11:59pm but you’re leaving for a trip Thursday afternoon. Make sure you turn that assignment in ahead of time because we all know you don’t want to be worried about it when you’re relaxing on vaca.

I personally don’t like doing school work on trips, but I do like being productive during my travel process. If it's an assignment I know I can finish during my flight or my friends turn to drive I will take it with me.

Please believe, the moment I hit my destination I’m not looking at that assignment again. That doesn’t mean turn in a half finished assignment or just throw it together, really focus on it and turn it in so you don’t even have to worry about it.

3. Travel Outside Of Peak Season

The luxury about traveling while in school is that you have the freedom to travel outside of peak season. Feel like getting away to the beach for the weekend in October because you have Fall Pause? You will find great deals! Take advantage of those random days off, especially if they’re not days off for holidays.

You’ll likely find flights and accommodations at a lower rate since it’s not a popular holiday season. My university had both Fall Pause and Spring Pause and I took full advantages of those breaks.

4. Be Spontaneous!

See an amazing fare on Spirit, Kayak or Google flights? Take it! Honestly, being a student can be a luxury and we have to make the most out of it while we have this time. Buy that weekend round trip fare you found for under $100. When will you have this time back?

Really committed to traveling while being a student?

5. Get A Part Time Job (with travel benefits)

If you work a part time job you can save up some money for your travels. Whether it’s working somewhere that allows for a lot of flexibility with your schedule or an actual job that contributes to your travel, a part time job can be very helpful! You get bonus points if you work somewhere that helps your travel frenzy. You might think this is just another thing on your plate keeping you from traveling but it’s not!

My Personal Experience

My first summer not taking classes I decided to look for a job that would benefit me. For me, this was working at a hotel. When I interviewed for this job I made sure to tell them that I was a student and a student athlete and there would be times I would need off for those things. Many jobs near colleges, hiring college students, already know this. DO NOT be afraid to address it in your interview. At this job I got the best of both worlds, I could work as little or as much as I wanted AND I got rewards points and employee rates on hotels when I traveled.

Here’s how I used this part time job to my advantage. I decided to randomly take a trip to Chicago because I found an amazing fare on Southwest. The hotel I stayed at was right on Michigan Ave and in the center of Magnificent Mile. This is the place to be in Chicago! This hotel can go for $300 on a regular night but with my employee rate I got it for only $89 a night! After that trip, Chicago became on of my favorite cities and was my first partial solo trip. I flew out a day before my friend and was able to explore the city and do every and anything I wanted.

On the 110th floor of the Willis Tower (formally Sears Tower) in Chicago, IL.

Change your mindset that school is keeping you from traveling! Instead think, “How is this making me a better student?”

Traveling teaches you things you could never gain in a classroom. Use it to your advantage while you still have those student discounts!

Enjoy the journey!


Ariel Rose


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