Where Will 2009 Take You?January 3, 2009
It all looks like gloom and doom in the news. The economy is a mess, college fees are going up to cover expenses, jobs are disappearing. Who can think about travel right now?
Maybe you’re in a situation this year where you’ll be lucky to afford school and living expenses, and travel seems impossible. And maybe a three-month jaunt around the world is impossible for you right now. But other, smaller trips may be within reach.
Here are some tips for getting off your couch and out of your ZIP code this year.
1. Think locally. Travel doesn’t have to include a passport. There are thousands of festivals and carnivals and celebrations held around the US every year.
2. Adopt a pack mentality. In some situations, acting with the group can be a bad idea. For travel, it can save you big bucks. A road trip with friends means you’re sharing expenses – gas, lodgings (maybe you know someone with a nice tent, or a relative with an empty cabin?), food (pot luck in the hostel kitchen) – as well as sharing experiences.
3. Look for deals. Research them. Do your homework before you get out your credit card. Cheap airfares, coupons and student discounts will rarely come knocking at your door, uninvited. Sign up for newsletters (studenttraveler.com has a good one), bookmark student travel sites (like the Deals of the Week at Travel CUTS) and get your ISIC (International Student Identity Card) for discounts to hundreds of sights and attractions worldwide.
4. Be realistic with your expectations. If Spring Break in Jamaica isn’t in your budget, what is? A campout at a local beach with friends? A road trip to Tahoe or Whistler with your family?
5. Find a way to make travel pay. Consider a working holiday so that you can earn money as you go. You’ll still have to come up with a plane ticket to start, but working with a reputable organization, you can live somewhere new, meet lots of locals, and make enough to pay for your extreme adventures, sightseeing and other playing around.
- Americans interested in working in Canada should try www.swap.ca.
- Americans who want to leave North America can take a look at BUNAC.org.
- Canadians who want out of the country can check out Gap Year Abroad.
Happy 2009, wherever you are and wherever you’re going!