How To Travel Cheaply In Your 20’s

how to travel cheaply in your 20's

Traveling is a great way to immerse yourself in a culture that may be different from your own, learn new things about other countries, and get a couple of cute, artsy photos for Instagram. Your twenties is a great time to travel around — whether it’s a couple hundred miles from home or a couple thousand — because you have fewer responsibilities, there may be more discounts available to you, and you might still be discovering yourself and what you want to do. I don’t know about you, but I’d jump on a chance to have an adventure for less money. Here are some of my tips for saving some dough on your next trip!

1. Look for student rates. 

Websites like StudentUniverse help college students save hundreds of dollars on their travel plans, and you might as well take advantage of being a college student while you’re still in college! You can find deals on flights, hotels and other living accommodations, tours, and more. Don’t be afraid to really dig around for the best prices. I used to think that searching around was really tedious, but it’s definitely worth it if it means you get to keep a couple hundred dollars in your pocket.

2. Book travel packages. 

I really love going onto EF College Break to browse through all the travel packages they offer, even if I’m not planning a trip immediately. They allow you to take trips to multiple cities around the world for a certain number of days. You must follow the itinerary they provide, but most of the trips include transportation between cities, breakfast, and city passes. This is a really great way to see multiple cities for one price. Sometimes, you can find packages that include trips between different countries, too.

Related: How To Be Money Smart While Traveling Abroad 

3. Apply to be a volunteer. 

Volunteering abroad is a great way to do something that’s bigger than yourself while also getting to see different parts of the world. Some programs may only provide you with living accommodations and food, so you may have to pay for your own ticket. You may have to check really early for programs, though; application processes could close earlier than you might expect. Lots of college campuses also have clubs/organizations where students travel to different countries to volunteer. My school has Students Helping Honduras and Alternative Spring Break Outreach, for example.

how to travel cheaply in your 20's

4. Get a job or internship abroad. 

This is often easier said than done…getting a visa to work in another country is only one part of the process. You’ll also have to think about where you’re going to live and how you’re going to eat, and whether your compensation at work would be enough to cover these costs. I guess this one can sometimes work out to be a little more expensive than you might expect, but I really wanted to put this one on here. I think that this idea is so extremely life-changing if you can swing it. Sometimes local universities will host interns, but be sure to call ahead to ask.

Related: 6 Terrible Cover Letter Mistakes To Stop Making

5. Check out Groupon.

You never know what you might find on Groupon! My friends booked an all-inclusive trip this summer for less than $800 through Groupon, and I was blown away by the amount of money they saved. I had no idea that Groupon could help you save on trips, so I really wanted to put this one on here in case anyone else wasn’t aware of this.

6. Find the cheapest destinations. 

What better way to travel cheaply than to visit a cheap destination! Kiwi.com basically shows you this map with some of the biggest cities and the prices for flights there, so you can easily pick a destination that suits your budget. This is a super handy tool!

7. Book your tickets ahead of time. 

As much as I love spontaneous, last minute adventures, booking ahead of time is an important step to securing your travel plans for cheap. The closer you get to your intended departure date, the more you’ll likely have to pay for the tickets and any other accommodations. I know sometimes you might get that random urge to get out of your city and go somewhere else, but try to keep this in mind.

8. Use Amtrak. 

Who says travel means only going by air? If you’re trying to travel to other states, it may sometimes be cheaper to book Amtrak tickets, depending on which state you want to visit. Be on the lookout for those Amtrak ticket prices, especially if you don’t plan to spend longer than about a week in another state.

9. Stay in a hostel. 

I didn’t have great experiences when I lived in hostels in Ireland, but I will admit that they’re great ways for travelers to have a roof over their heads for a short amount of time. I wrote a slightly sassy article about my experience in hostels over on Thought Catalog if you’re curious about what that was like (p.s. it got over 600 shares and I’m super excited about that!) If you aren’t too keen on living and sleeping with complete strangers at night in a foreign country, I recommend traveling with a small group of friends and booking a room in a hostel that’s just big enough for your group.

10. Stay with friends or family. 

Time to call up your father’s stepsister’s great aunt and ask her if she wants company in England this summer! If you have friends or relatives who live in another city or country, staying at their house would be a great way for you to save money on your trip because you won’t have to worry about paying for a hotel or hostel. And when they want to visit you in your city, you can return the favor.

What are your tips for cheap travel? 

How To Recover From An Unproductive Day

how to recover from an unproductive day

This past Saturday was one of the most unproductive Saturdays of my life. I laid in bed watching Facebook videos for most of the day, and while I was really cozy and content doing it, I knew that there was some important work that I would probably try to high tail it to finish on Sunday. I should probably actually call this post “How To Save Your Ass Before Monday.” But sometimes unproductive days are very much-needed, like when you’ve been running around all week and just want a day to be lazy. They’re sometimes good for your mental health, but bad for your GPA! You can’t go back in time and redo the entire day (oh, I wish!) but you can ensure you make a comeback so you can try to salvage what’s left of your good student rep before Monday.

1. Admit that you were unproductive.

The first step is to essentially admit that you screwed up. You had the entire day to study for Tuesday’s exam — there was nothing stopping you. You had enough sleep the night before, you ate well, you even got dressed to head to the library, but you just didn’t do anything. Netflix might’ve won that round. Now you can stop beating yourself up for screwing up and work towards preventing this from happening the next day.

2. Make a plan for tomorrow.

Create a to-do list in your favorite planner. This will help remind you of all the things you should’ve done today but didn’t have to do tomorrow. I like writing down tasks in the best order for doing them because it helps me stay on track; I don’t have to think about which of my 99 problems I should tackle next. My plan for the following day consisted of me going to the gym in the morning, coming back to my room for a shower and heading to my second home (a.k.a. Starbucks) to get work done for the rest of the day.

3. Get your sleep (but don’t sleep in!)

Sleeping adequately is crucial to ensuring that you have enough energy the next day to finish all the things you put off. However, be careful to not sleep in! I find that when I sleep in, I feel lazier during the day and therefore less likely to actually finish all the work I planned to do. Start your day off bright and early (sure, I guess 9a.m. can count as ‘early’). I know Sundays are ideal for sleeping until noon, but you can offset any early morning grumpiness using my tips for making mornings more exciting.

how to recover from an unproductive day

4. Put errands at the top of your list.

Gotta do laundry? Need to run to the pharmacy? Want to go to the gym? Complete all these first so you don’t have to worry about them later in the day. Plus, running errands are a good way to ease into your to-do list. Personally, this helps me stay on track with everything else I have to do because my mind is too distracted to jump right into studying first thing in the morning.

5. Get dressed up.

Get dressed up??? How will this help me be more productive??? If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that you’d spend half a day alone trying to figure out what to wear, but hear me out. How many times have you thrown on a pair of comfy sweats and a workout top and then proceeded to chill in your room because you were already comfortable so you figured: why not get even cozier in bed? Your clothes can be pretty influential on your overall mood. I find that when I, as well as people I know personally, dress nicely — jeans, a nice top and nice shoes, business casual or like we’re going on a casual date — we tend to be in the mood for getting shit done and going out of our way to make things happen. Plus, it’s a good excuse to show off how cute you look to the rest of your campus. Take your wardrobe into account the next time you’re feeling unmotivated to work. I decided to do my makeup extra nicely to put myself in the mood for tackling homework.

6. Work with a group.

Don’t feel like struggling through chemistry alone? Hit up some of your friends and propose a study group. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, being in the company of other people who have to get shit done will help you get your shit done. I do this all the time — even though half my friends aren’t even Journalism majors. It’s just really nice to be around friends when I have to do something I don’t feel like doing.

Related: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

What are your tips for being productive? 

How To Make Class Enrollment Less Stressful

how to make class enrollment less stressful]

Let me tell you a story: I was but a wee sophomore about to enroll in classes for my fall semester junior year. Since my school made us enroll online based off of times given by seniority, my enrollment time was 10a.m. I’m usually an early bird, so I didn’t mind having my time in the morning. I had no choice, really. But it was good because that meant I had a chance of getting into my classes before they filled up. So the night before, I go to bed and set my alarm for 9a.m. This way, I could also get ready to head to the library to study.

Fast forward to the following morning. My alarm went off. I turned it off and went back to sleep. The next time I woke up, it was 10:01a.m. I never jumped out of bed so fast in my entire life.

That was probably the most stressful class enrollment for me because I only got into two out of the six classes I wanted to enroll in, I was scrambling to add “filler classes” that were still open so I could retain my status as a full-time student, and I was running around campus like a crazy person trying to see which departments would take pity on me and just let me into their classes.

Moral of the story: class enrollment is stressful as hell. It’s just as stressful as room selection, to be honest. And that’s pretty much why I decided to write this post. I have a different post on how to create the perfect class schedule, that you’ll definitely want to read before you continue reading this one, so be sure to check that out. But here are my ~expert~ tips on stressing less when it comes to enrollment.

1. Visit your department advisor.

This is the BIGGEST reason why people stress so much. Self-advising is fine sometimes but not all the time. At the journalism department at my school, we are instructed to have a 45-minute meeting with our department advisor, and during the meeting, he basically tells us exactly which classes to take for each semester. We can go back and see him as many times as we want to, depending on whether or not something changes (we took a summer class, or couldn’t get into a class, etc.)

Visiting your advisor ensures that you stay in the loop of all of your degree requirements. Things can change, and your plan doesn’t always go the way you want it to. You might have fallen behind because you were unable to take the summer class you needed, or maybe you can even graduate a semester early because you took two extra classes this semester. Make an appointment ahead of time and be there early!

2. Have a few back-up classes ready to go.

I love back-up plans. Make sure you have a couple of extra classes in mind that you can enroll in just in case you don’t get into some of the classes you wanted. School curriculum courses are great back-up plans, but I don’t want to get into them too much here because I’m going to talk more about them in my second to last point.

If you have a not-so-good experience like I did, a good back-up plan would be to enroll in classes you’d like to take just for fun. Yes, taking classes for fun is actually possible in college, and this is coming from the girl who started her major a year late. It also never hurts to ask your advisor what other classes in the program could be an option for you.

3. Keep your enrollment date marked down and set reminders. 

Circle the date in red on your calendar. Create 10 notifications on your phone. Do whatever it takes to remember the date and time of your class enrollment. We tend to get really busy and caught up in our classes, extracurriculars, jobs and anything else going on in life. You probably don’t want to remember about class enrollment at the last minute!

4. Don’t schedule anything 30 minutes before or after your enrollment time. 

I say this because you’ll give yourself enough time to find a strong wifi signal (if enrollment is online), get settled, and open up your laptop. You definitely don’t want to be beating down on your keys or tapping your fingers impatiently because you’re just seconds away from having to click ‘enroll.’

Worst case scenario, if you have trouble enrolling or a class you really need is closed, you can head to an advisor’s office ASAP for help. If you can make sure you have more than 30 minutes after your time, that’s even better.

5. If all else fails, keep a few curriculum courses in mind.

And now we’re back to those curriculum courses. Most colleges that I know of require students to take curriculum courses that help them become more well-rounded…but to most people, those classes are just a way to accumulate credits while getting an easy A. I like to think of them as opportunities to do something a little different. Look for a curriculum course or two to fill in your schedule just in case you can’t get into some classes for your program. You can choose to keep these classes in your schedule, or have them act merely as placeholders so you remain a full-time student.

6. Wait-list yourself. 

People tend to drop classes, especially after the first week of a new semester. Put yourself on the waiting list for any classes that might have been closed before you got to them. You never know when space might open up.

How do you get through class enrollment?

How To Create The Perfect Schedule For Next Semester

how to create the perfect class schedule

Some people have all the luck when it comes to class enrollment. During this time of year, you’re probably going to see Snapchat stories or Facebook posts of your colleagues boasting of their perfect schedules for next semester — commuters end class by 2:30pm everyday; residents don’t begin class until 2:30pm everyday. But sometimes enrollment doesn’t always work out since some classes tend to fill faster than others, thereby turning your “perfect schedule” into complete crap (or almost crap). Over the last six semesters, I’ve had some great class schedules and some not-so-great schedules. I actually created my next semester schedule just a couple of days ago, which is why I decided to write this post. Since time is obviously of the essence (speaking of time, when is your enrollment date???) and I don’t want to drag this intro on for too long, here’s what you need to know on creating the perfect class schedule.

Avoid early morning classes if…

  • You prefer doing work and studying in the morning. I personally am horrible at doing work at night. I get sleepy around 10:30p.m. because I have so many classes that require so much attention during the day (welcome to college, Jasmin). So, I prefer doing work and studying in the morning hours. Unfortunately, this semester I couldn’t get around having to take an 8a.m., so I don’t have as much time to work and study in the morning. Starting your day with putting a dent in the mountain of assignments on your desk is good because you’ll (hopefully) be well-rested and attentive enough to get shit done. 
  • You have the late shift the night before. If you work until 3a.m., you probably don’t want just four hours of sleep before you have to wake up for class. If you can’t avoid an early morning class right after your shift at work, try to leave a gap in your schedule after that morning class so you can at least take a nap. 
  • You have a really long commute in the morning. Personally, I wouldn’t want to sit in an hour of traffic at 7a.m. to get to class on time, but this depends on you. If you like driving in the morning then maybe morning classes are something you would like. But if you’re bothered by the fact that the first thing you’d do in the morning is hit the road for angry car horns, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and your coffee staining the front of your shirt because you just slammed on the breaks to avoid an accident then maybe rethink early morning classes. 
  • You prefer to sit down for a full, proper breakfast. I have been attending a three-hour 8a.m. twice a week for the last nine weeks and, let me tell you, barely getting to stuff a granola bar in your mouth before class SUCKS. First off, a granola bar isn’t enough to keep me full. Second, there’s no eating or drinking allowed in my classroom. Normally, I’d break that rule anyway, but staff at my school are extremely strict about this because there are computers and other pieces of equipment in there and I have seen people be punished for breaking the rule. Third, we don’t even get a 10-minute break, so there’s no stepping outside to finish up your granola bar. As a result, I have been eating what’s quick and simple for breakfast: junk food. And I hate doing this to myself, so I created a schedule where I don’t have super early classes so I can actually take the time to make a healthy, filling breakfast for myself. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you know the drill. 
  • You simply aren’t a morning person. Why punish yourself? Figure out what times are best for you to wake up and start classes an hour or two after that. Keep in mind that doing this may mean that you’ll have a few classes that run into the evening, but if you’re cool with that then it’s totally worth it. 

Enroll in early morning classes if…

  • You’re a commuter and you prefer being able to go home early. I have a lot of commuter friends who make going home after class a priority. A lot of commuters don’t try to stay on campus for longer than they have to and who can blame them — driving up and down for college is NOT easy. If you’re a commuter who doesn’t mind the early morning commute if it means you get to end your day at 2p.m. then early classes will probably work in your favor. 
  • You study better in the evening/night. Get all your classes over with so you can have ample time to study afterwards. Some people are just better at focusing during this time than others. 
  • You’re an early bird. Well, good for you. I seriously admire the skill it takes to actually love waking up super early. I’ve had hell in the mornings when it comes to waking up, so to help myself out I started doing a few things to make my mornings more exciting. But more power to ya if you love the rise and grind of 7a.m. 
  • You enjoy a peaceful campus. I’ll admit that the campus is more peaceful in the early morning than it is at other times of the day. There are no people on their skateboards cutting in front of you at the last minute, no people walking slow as hell in front of you like they don’t have anywhere to be — ah, yes, you can’t argue with the serenity of a campus at 7:30a.m. 

 

how to create the perfect class schedule for next semester

 

I just really wanted to pay special attention to morning classes and when you should and shouldn’t enroll in them because I know for a lot of people (myself included) morning classes can really make or break their schedules, and not simply because of the promise of less sleeping-in that comes with them. Really consider everything above before you decide to enroll in a morning class. But now that that’s over, here are my other tips for having a schedule your friends will be jealous of.

1. Make sure you’ll have enough time to get to each class.

I don’t know what made me think that I could walk from one side of campus to the other for my next class in seven minutes. Oh wait, my degree requirement did. Basically, I can’t even walk that distance on my huge ass campus in 10 minutes. Give me 15 and I’ll make it through the door just a little out of breath. Don’t put yourself through the pain of having to do a 20-minute walk in 10 minutes. Of course, at times it may be unavoidable because of required classes — especially if there’s only one section of a class offered. If this does happen to you, let your professor in the previous class know that you might need to leave five minutes early to get where you need to be on time, and let your professor in the following class know that you might be a few minutes late because you’re basically walking from Mars.

2. Don’t enroll in a class that meets at the same time as your favorite club. 

If you live for Culinary club or the dance team at your school, make sure you can actually attend the meetings. My entire freshman year, I couldn’t attend some of the clubs I wanted to because I had class at the same time their meetings took place. Some clubs don’t always know ahead of time what the meeting date/time will be for the following semester, but try to go off of their current meeting time. Usually, they keep it.

3. Check ratemyprofessors.com for reviews on potential professors at your school. 

I used to not care what professor taught my classes but then I got a D in a class I put too much effort into. Familiarize yourself with each potential professor’s teaching style. Do this by checking out ratemyprofessors.com or simply asking upperclassmen who took the classes already. This can help you save so much grief by not having to suffer because your professor’s teaching style doesn’t match your learning style.

4. Avoid having class on Fridays. 

There have been a few semesters where I has zero classes on Fridays and, let me tell you, the feeling is AMAZING. Usually, many campus offices are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, so it’s really nice to have the whole day to make appointments, run errands, and visit the offices I need to visit. I can also go home at any time on Fridays, or take trips to the city and not have to worry about being back before class. I also like using my Fridays to workout and study. You’re pretty lucky if you can manage to not have classes on any one day of the week, but use that day wisely!

5. If you like taking naps during the day, make spaces in your schedule. 

I know many people who have the luxury of having one class in the morning, a break for nap time, and then class again later in the afternoon, and I’m honestly jealous. Well, kind of. I don’t take naps. But that’s still pretty awesome, especially if your dorm room is relatively close to all your classes. Naptime is something to be aware of for next semester, especially if you get limited sleep the night before.

6. Avoid evening classes if you have a long walk back to your dorm or if you don’t like driving at night. 

Can you tell that I’m rarely able to avoid this scenario? Late night walks back to your dorm room are nice and relaxing in the summertime or even in the fall, but during the winter time, 0/10 do not recommend. Long walks on icy ground or in blustering breeze are extremely miserable.

7. Throw in a class that’s just for fun.

You can start your day at 1p.m., have ample time for naps, and have the best professors at the school, but the icing on the cake is when you get the chance to take a class that isn’t required of you purely for enjoyment. It makes your experience much more fun. I’m not a Business major but there’s this social media marketing class that I’ve been eyeing for the last couple of semesters. This semester, I was able to enroll in a creative writing class because I wanted a way to get my creative fiction juices flowing again and decided that this was my chance to do so. It’s actually my favorite class this semester! Go out of your way to enroll in a class out of curiosity rather than out of necessity.

What are your tips for creating the perfect class schedule? 

Related: 10 Tips For Surviving Room Selection, The 8 Best Apps For College Students