For many students, deadlines, student debt, and wanderlust are three of the biggest struggles on their minds. University can sometimes feel like a cycle of sacrificing a social life to get a good grade or sacrificing a good grade for a party. Students are cooped up inside, chained to their desks, in order to obtain a decent GPA and graduate with as little debt as possible – AKA they really need a vacation but can’t afford the time or money it would take to fuel their wanderlust, or so they think. Here are a few ways to balance all three.
Strategically book your vacation
Take advantage of the weekends, reading week is actually ten days (from the first Friday to the last Sunday), meaning if you leave after class on Friday, you can have a five-day vacation until Wednesday and still have four to five days to study afterwards. Many students find that booking a trip at the beginning of reading week motivates and forces them to get to work at the end of reading week. Whereas if a vacation is at the end of the week, many students will procrastinate and relax before the vacation and do little work while away. In addition, take advantage of the long weekends so you miss as little class as possible.
Study on the go
Plan ahead, so if you need to study while on vacation, you can do it easily. Photocopy the chapters in your textbook that you need so you can read on the plane or in the car before you even get to your destination. Or better yet, see if getting the audio textbook is possible and listen to your chapter while on the go. Set realistic goals for yourself and only bring what you need. Many students find that studying on-route is more realistic than studying on vacation.
Tip: don’t be that student that weighs down their bag with tons of textbooks and never opens one while on vacation. Good intentions are not the same as realistic goals. Plus, the guilt you’ll feel every time you see those unopened books will be all-consuming – which leads to less confidence and motivation after your trip.
Work hard before and after your trip
As long as you’re not going on a spontaneous vacation, you have the opportunity to get ahead before you leave. Take advantage of the time you have before and after your trip. Always make sure you have a day or two after your vacation to get caught up and work your butt off beforehand! You’ll be fine!
Budget your money
Without a budget, many students end up squandering away their student loan on food, drinks, and “treat yourself” impulse buys. All this could add up to a perfect little vacation that you will remember forever. The emotional value you get from travel will rejuvenate you and motivate you for the rest of the semester (unlike that stress-induced food coma). So, make a budget that includes travel and excludes frivolous impulse treats!
Plan a cheap vacation
Whether it’s staying fairly local, capitalizing on budget airlines, or promotions, make sure you plan a trip that’s within your budget. Plan every meal and take snacks and groceries instead of going out every day. Plan every tourist attraction and calculate the cost of each (and pick the free or cheap ones!), and use all the travel apps, sites, and discounts/promotions you can get your hands on as you plan your vacation. This may seem like a lot of work, but the more planning you do, the more money you can save!
Accept the need for balance
Remember that it is possible to balance your budget, GPA, and self-care. With a little planning, you can redirect your impulse shopping and stress eating to a much-needed vacation. You’re going to slip up sometimes, so why not plan the slip-up and make it the most enriching experience possible?
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