How to Travel While Studying or Working Full-Time

How to Travel While Studying or Working Full-Time

 

A love of travel was instilled in me at a young age (14-month-old me took her first flight as an immigrant to Canada!) and since becoming an adult, I’ve made it a priority to travel as much as possible. Working while in school full-time made that challenging, but I found and continue to find ways to travel. Read on to find 10 of my best tips for travelling with a full-time job or as a full-time student.

1. Study Abroad

I can just about guarantee that taking a semester or a year to study abroad will be the highlight of your degree. Most, if not all, universities offer some type of exchange program. Some even come with pre-approved transfer credit, eliminating the risk that the courses you take might not count towards your degree. Even if they don’t count, you might take a little longer to finish your degree, but that’s a rather small obstacle considering the benefits. Studying abroad means immersing yourself in a new place and possibly a new language and culture. You’ll meet people from every corner of the world, meaning you’ll have connections across the globe. Depending on the program, you might even get extended weekends or holidays for travelling!

2. Take advantage of long weekends

Canada has a long weekend nearly every month, which means that once a month we have a chance to get away! Travelling doesn’t have to mean spending weeks in an exotic location. Save your vacation days and make the most of the days that you already have off. Check out a national park. Go on a road trip through towns that are barely a speck on the map. Catch a cheap flight somewhere you’ve never considered going because it’s so close to home. Get a group together and go on a ski trip. Leaving town over a long weekend is one of the best ways to feed your desire to travel as you await your next trip or if you don’t have any big trips planned yet.

3. Apply for a Working Holiday Visa

If you’re lucky enough to be a citizen of one of the eligible countries (sorry, Americans :( ), a Working Holiday Visa allows you to work pretty much anywhere that will hire you for up to a year. The goal of the Working Holiday Visa is to foster an understanding for different cultures through cultural exchange. The visa functions as a bilateral agreement, so Australians are free to come to Canada on a WHV and Canadians are free to go down under. Check out your government’s website to see if you are eligible for a Working Holiday Visa.

4. Be prepared to be spontaneous

Keep your eye on flight deals and be open to spontaneous trips. It’s always good to be prepared if your friend wants you to come along on a hiking trip or you find a cheap ticket for a weekend getaway. Have a bag ready with the essentials so you don’t have to stress about packing. You never know when the opportunity to travel might come up!

5. Stretch your vacation days

If you live outside of Europe and don’t get a cool 4-6 weeks vacation each year, you’ll want to make the most of the time you’re given. Instead of using up all your vacation days in one go, consider tacking on a day or two to a long weekend or work trip. A few mini-vacations like these per year will help feed your need to travel.

6. Take unpaid leave

Some employers will let you take unpaid vacation. If you’re okay with not being paid for the length of your trip, this could be a great option to make more time for travel.

7. Join a club that lets you travel

If there’s one thing I regret about my university experience, it’s that I didn’t join enough clubs. (Correction: I joined about a half dozen each year; I just never followed through.) Not until it was too late did I realize that participating in certain clubs may have afforded me the opportunity to travel with a bunch of really awesome like-minded people. Be sure to check out the clubs fair at your school to find out about travel-related groups. Ski Club, Outdoors Club, and Rotary Club are a few examples, but there are surely many more!

8. Research conferences you’re eligible for

Whether you’re working or studying, why not combine your love of travel with another interest? Conferences are a great way to improve your skills, keep up to date with advances in your field, network, and share ideas. Do some research to discover what kind of conferences are available to you. Not only will you be investing in yourself, but you’ll get the chance to explore somewhere new!

9. Volunteer abroad

Voluntourism is a controversial subject that I’m no expert on, but it certainly can be done ethically. The most important thing is to do a ton of research before you commit to a program. Ensure that the volunteering you do will benefit the people who need it most and not those who try to exploit them. Nomadic Matt has a great article from an expert that goes through the steps you should take if you’re interested in volunteering abroad. If done correctly, it can be a rewarding experience for you and for those you’re helping.

10. Explore close to home

If you’re itching to travel but can’t get away, be a tourist in your own town. I know there are attractions in my city I haven’t been to for no reason other than that I live here. Even if you think you’ve seen everything there is to see, dig deeper. Venture outside the city into the surrounding areas. Ask friends and colleagues for suggestions on unconventional things to do, see, or eat. Spend the day riding the metro and find something to do at each stop. While you may not be going very far, you’ll be escaping monotony by discovering something new about the place you call home.

How to Travel While Studying or Working Full-Time

Whether you’re a full-time student or working 9 to 5, travel is within reach. You just have to be creative and find what works for you. Have you used any of my tips before? Will you be using them in the future? Do you know a tip I haven’t listed? Let’s start a conversation – leave me a comment below!

17 Comments

  1. Reply

    Lisa // Fjords & Beaches

    February 23, 2017

    Love this list! When I was a full time student I did everything in my power to travel as much as I can, and now that I have a ‘grown up job’ (haha) I’m still the same! I even wrote a free workbook on ‘How to travel as a full time student’ for my readers :) Loved this post, and I can vouch for all of these! :)

    • Reply

      Ivana

      February 23, 2017

      I’m happy you can relate! I definitely tried to travel as much as I could while in school. I can’t imagine how I would have gotten through four tough years without a mental break once in awhile! I still don’t have a “grown up” job, but one day I hope to be a teacher with loads of vacation time. I’m going to check out your workbook right now! Thanks for always being so supportive, Lisa :)

  2. Reply

    Magda

    February 25, 2017

    People always ask me what magic powers I have that let me travel so much… To be honest, planning is a key! I always make use of public holidays and make my vacation around them!

    • Reply

      Ivana

      March 3, 2017

      Exactly! It’s really not so complicated if you’re willing to be creative.

  3. Reply

    Veronika

    February 25, 2017

    Great and useful tips! Sometimes I feel people have excuses why they can’t travel as much but planning is the key :)

    • Reply

      Ivana

      March 3, 2017

      Yeah, I can understand financial difficulties, but when people say they simply don’t have time to travel, I think they’re probably not being creative enough ;)

  4. Reply

    transientexplorer27

    February 25, 2017

    I just extended a work trip to Belfast for a day so I could get over to the Giant’s Causeway. Definitely take advantage of work trips!

    • Reply

      Ivana

      March 3, 2017

      That’s perfect!

  5. Reply

    Kyntra Strickland

    February 25, 2017

    I’m a teacher and my husband is a student so right now we get summers off. Loved your tips for when we don’t both get three months of freedom from work and school.

    • Reply

      Ivana

      March 3, 2017

      Ahh yes, I’m looking forward to getting lots of time off as a teacher! Glad you found my tips useful :)

  6. Reply

    Sheena

    February 25, 2017

    This is a very cool post. Thank you for sharing this :-)

    • Reply

      Ivana

      March 3, 2017

      Thanks for reading, Sheena! Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Reply

    pennyglobetrove

    February 26, 2017

    Absolutely love this post. Most people feel that you have to give up your life to travel but that isn’t necessarily true!

    • Reply

      Ivana

      March 3, 2017

      It’s totally possible to have a make travel a part of your life!

  8. Reply

    Paris Russell

    March 5, 2018

    Ivana, when you are studying and working in Spain under a one year Student Mobility Visa, are you able to enter Europe as a tourist for a period of time before the initial entry into Spain or after the expiry of your student Visa? Having difficulty finding the answers we need ? Thank you for your helpful information

    • Reply

      Ivana

      April 5, 2018

      Hi Paris,

      You are able to enter the Schengen Zone up to 90 days before the start of your visa. Also, when your visa expires (as long as the visa was valid for at least 6 months), you’ll be free to travel around the Schengen Zone for another 90 days. The rule is that you can be in the Schengen Zone for 90 days out of 180, so you can spend 3 full months in the area as long as you leave and don’t re-enter for another 6 months. You can also split up the 90 days, for example, spending 60 days in Spain (Schengen), then 14 days in England (non-Schengen), then another 30 days in Italy (Schengen), then leaving the Schengen Zone. I hope that makes a little more sense to you!

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