To the Traveling College Student
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To the Traveling College Student

Whether you're traveling solo or with a friend, there are some things you need to know.

To the Traveling College Student
Erika Szumel

From the age of roughly 18-25, both young men and women find themselves with a desire to travel. It’s posted on social media and travel blogs, advertised on college campuses, and discussed in the classroom. Most college students want to travel with friends or family. But there are always a few that just want to go.

To these few brave individuals, it doesn’t matter who goes with them but it matters that they are going.

This past summer I took a trip with a friend, so I was not a lone soul. Although there were a few instances where we spent time apart, we were with each other for the large majority of the trip. I highly recommend travelling with another person – especially internationally.

But, I also highly recommend solo travel.

I’ve written an article before about going to concerts alone and I often like to take myself on dates, but I have not yet traveled for more than a day or two by myself internationally. I am embarking on another journey, very soon, in which I will be traveling alone for portions of the trip which takes me to the United Kingdom and Germany.

I recommend solo travel because if you are by yourself, you will not limit yourself because of someone else’s ideas, wishes, fears, or misunderstandings about the world around them. I was lucky to be on the same wavelength as my travel buddy, but I do sometimes wonder what the trip would have been like if I traveled it alone.

Some of my best advice for a solo traveler, if you like talking to and meeting new people, is to take advantage of hostels in different areas. In all of the hostels we stayed in, we met so many cool people who just wanted to talk and share their story. Also, many of them had been to the area before and knew where to take us. Hostels also usually offer social events free or at a very low cost for their guests to take advantage of.

If you are the type of person that would rather discover a city by yourself, then I would say take advantage of Air BnB’s and hotels. Of course, you will spend more, but this alleviates talking to new people and being surrounded by completely random people at all times of the day.

No matter what kind of traveler you are, take advantage of all that you can, but remember, you cannot trust everyone. Whether you stay in a hostel or in a hotel, you will meet locals or other travelers somewhere along the way, whether it’s waiting in a line or on a group tour. Everyone will probably be nice to you, but that doesn’t mean you can trust them!

This is more of a warning for the females, because men will definitely try to hit on you or use your vulnerability as a solo traveler to their advantage. But just be smart. Just like you would be if you were walking the streets of New York City late at night, attack your destination with the same mindset.

Hostels, hostel events, and free walking tours will help you learn about cities while on a budget. Plus, you can talk to tour guides about tourist traps and ask them what is actually worth your money.

Don't waste money on fancy food -- unless there are a few delicacies you absolutely have to try! Otherwise, try to snack on trail mix and granola bars throughout the morning/early afternoon to keep you energized, but not burn a hole in your wallet.

You can be a little cheap while you are away, but it doesn't mean it has to take away from what you are doing. As a college student, you just have to be more mindful of what is worth your money.

Lastly, have the time of your life. Not many people can say that they’ve traveled somewhere far from home by themselves or maybe even with a friend. It’s really impressive and it’s really inspiring. You will come back with some amazing stories and experiences, no matter what.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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