Although the traditional study abroad route is a great way to travel during college, it isn’t the only option. There are plenty of other ways to travel that can save you money and add something unique to the experience.
If you’re strictly looking to save money, try traveling for something you’re already involved in. Are you on a sports team? Do you take part in band or choir? Anything that has competition is bound to offer travel at a limited cost, and you get to travel with people you already know.
Bailey Scalise, 19, chose that option when she left for San Francisco with her marching band last year. She got to perform in the 2012 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl game and see the sights in San Francisco at the same time.
“It was totally free and it gave me the rare chance to perform and see a new city with my friends,” Bailey said.
If your goal is to see as many places as possible, it’s worth trying a circumnavigation trip, like a semester at sea. Whereas a study abroad trip might take you to only one or two places, a semester at sea lets you visit multiple countries on the same trip. The downside is less time spent in each place, but it’s definitely worth it.
To see a great example of the opportunities in circumnavigation, check out Julia Anglin’s blog.
If you want some professional experience along with your travel experience, look into out-of-state internships and programs. These are growing in popularity among college students, and there’s so many to choose from that you’re bound to find something right for you.
One program to try out (although I’m slightly biased) is the Disney College Program. It gives you the chance to work for an international company and get professional contacts, while still seeing something new.
Noelle Franks, 22, chose to apply to the Disney College Program for both the professional experience and the fun. In addition to working and living in a new place, the program offers courses and seminars geared toward a wide range of careers.
“How often do you get the chance to travel across the country and make money doing it?” said Noelle. “Instead of going on a study abroad trip to one place, I get to go to a place where people come from all over the world!”
If you’re goal is to make a difference while seeing the world, there’s also the option of going on a missionary trip. You can help build homes, deliver food, or clean up the local community. There are plenty of missions out there looking for help at any given time.
Thomas Ventura, 23, jumped on the chance to be a missionary for a summer in college. It gave him the chance to visit Mexico and get out of his comfort zone, and still leave a positive impact on the region he visited.
“A vacation to the same place wouldn’t have provided me with the same experience, because that’s just a different version of our comfortable life,” said Thomas. “This trip gave me the chance to help those less fortunate in a way I couldn’t have otherwise.”
There are many ways to travel that offer more than just the location. So when you’re planning your next trip, make sure you don’t limit your options to something traditional. If you look, you can find a trip that’s more than just a vacation.