Meeting new people, trying new dishes and seeing cultural monuments make traveling a dream for many. Yet, reality can quickly set in through time limits, added costs and the overwhelming anxiety that comes with traveling to an unfamiliar place. Instead of giving up on your travel dreams, consider these endless ways to travel that are both affordable and fulfilling, while providing a support system when traveling solo.
Traveling internationally provides the opportunity to embrace new cultural perspectives. Volunteering abroad offers the opportunity to visit a new country while embracing local communities through a grassroots perspective. Many organizations, such as the Peace Corps and GIVE Volunteers, offer opportunities such as teaching English in local schools, working on environment preservation projects or helping build new infrastructures, like schools. Not only do these projects benefit the local community, but it can also allow for rewarding experiences that will help you grow as a global citizen. Depending on the organization, traveling abroad can range from 2 weeks to 2 years. Many organizations cover living expenses with an upfront fee, while others offer aid through fundraising, making traveling more affordable. Remember to always research your desired organization for legitimacy before placing down any money.
Often the most popular for college students, studying abroad allows great opportunities to travel the world. Traveling with a university creates a built-in support system through the help of professors, administration and other study abroad students. Depending on the program, living accommodations can include a host family, dorms or apartments; each option gives you a prearranged housing plan to spare some extra anxiety. Because most study abroad programs last for one semester, students can experience the day-to-day life of the locals. Although rarely advertised, there are many different study abroad programs that run during the winter and summer breaks, offering alternative lengths of travel. If already enrolled in an undergraduate program, studying abroad can cost the same as a normal semester, or sometimes, even less! Study abroad can be an affordable way to travel because the expenses are so similar to that of a semester at your current university.
WWOOF, or the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, allows one of the most unique experiences for the lowest cost. This organization offers the opportunity to travel the world, while working on a local farm, for only a small yearly membership fee of $40. Learn about sustainable living, connect with locals and leave with a rewarding experience. While living with a host family, gain firsthand experience of working on a farm. This option allows for affordable travel as travelers work in exchange for accommodations; there is no money exchange necessary. WWOOFing offers the knowledge and experience of a lifetime.
Interning abroad allows for a unique work experience to build a career while simultaneously experiencing a new country. For college students, this type of travel experience can offer a global perspective while emphasizing any resume for future employers. Some internships offer stipends or an allowance, while other internships may cover the cost of living and food expenses. These internships can range from blogging about local communities to working with big companies. Interning abroad can help students spend several months traveling affordably. You can find international internships through colleges and universities, or by directly searching websites, such as Idealist or Handshake.
At the end of the day, there are endless opportunities to travel, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to find them – Remember to venture outside comfort zones and have fun exploring the world!