College is a time for cutting back and living on a student budget. After all, it’s not a cheap endeavour and hopefully you are trying to get through college with as little debt as possible and graduating as soon as possible.
There are always those people, though, that tell you that college is the best time to travel. I think they mean travel abroad for work/study semesters, exchanges, and probably even on short spring break trips that American media tends to portray (do those really happen?). As “those people” always say, college is pre-job, pre-children, and pre-responsibility. You can get up and leave at any time. So why not travel?
I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all solution as to whether or not to travel during college, but here are some considerations when you are thinking about whether you should join the masses:
This is a personal finance blog, so of course I am going to point out that you need to be thinking about your budget when you are deciding whether you want to travel during college or stick around home base. Is travelling worth the debt you may have to take out to pay for your schooling if you spend your money on the trip? It may be, but that is a choice you’ll have to make for yourself.
Look at what your future self will feel about what your current self is doing. You may be able to save up money during the semesters a bit at a time to take a nice trip upon graduation if you can’t afford to travel right away.
They say time is money, and you have to look at whether or not you have the time in your plans to take time off to travel. Even if you are going on a study-abroad term, this often will still prolong your education. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth the travel, but it’s something that you should consider before hopping on the next plane.
Time isn’t necessarily a huge consideration if you are holding off to travel until you finish school though. It’s just pushing the date back a bit.
Travel can either relieve stress, or be stressful, depending on the timing and your financial situation. Stress is terrible for your health (physical, emotional, mental) so time your trip well and plan out a time to leave that won’t be too hard on you. School is difficult enough without throwing stress because of travel into the mix.
Travel isn’t for everyone, but it is a great experience that can teach you a lot. Keep these things in mind when making your decision about whether or not to travel in college; don’t just follow the masses and get yourself into a lot of debt.
Did you/have you travelled in college? What were the pros, cons, positives and drawbacks? Would you do it again if given the chance?