The previous year hasn’t been great the travel industry, but things do look better for 2021. And for students who’ve spent their past year studying in isolation, there’s no doubt you’ll be itching to get out on the road.
Especially now that most colleges and universities have more fully embraced online learning, once borders reopen, it’s going to be a lot easier than before to plan travel while you’re studying.
Of course, even if there is greater flexibility it’s still important to balance out the excitement of travel with prioritizing your studies (ie don’t plan a trip at the time of the exams, make sure you stay on top of all deadlines, and if you need any assistance, like essay help or remote access to lectures, do all the preparations beforehand).
But definitely don’t miss out on the opportunity to make the most of travel this coming year – after-all, not all classrooms have four walls!
How Students Can Make the Most Out of Travel in 2021
Go for a Domestic Trip
Domestic trips are on the rise, and no matter which country you’re from, or find yourself locked in, there are plenty of things to see, and no better time to explore your ‘backyard’.
This option offers several benefits for students, the biggest being that domestic travel is usually cheaper than going abroad. There’s no currency conversion or need to worry about weak / strong dollars, and traveling shorter distances keeps more cash in your wallet.
Secondly, domestic travel is much easier to plan, ie you’ll not come up against any language barriers, and have the flexibility to be able to make local inquiries via phone if you can’t find information online.
And it doesn’t mean you’ll have any less an experience than you would have if you were traveling abroad.
Think about it this way – international travelers typically spend thousands of dollars to visit and tour your home country, so why would you not take the opportunity to, especially when we’re in the unique situation where normal tourist crowds are gone?
If you’re studying in Australia, there are plenty of vacation options available, from the Great Barrier Reef, to Uluru, or Tasmania. If you’re in the United States, you’ve got 19,495 cities and 423 national park sites to choose from.
Go by Car
Another benefit of domestic traveling is that it can be done by car. Why is it something to care about in 2021?
First, you can save a lot of money by choosing to drive instead of choosing a flight. Secondly, a roadtrip is a great adventure in itself. Thirdly, it’s safer in terms of a pandemic than flying.
In 2021 we’re looking at a year where flights could be canceled on a whim, border restrictions could change even between States, and there is more exposure to strangers when you’re traveling in mass numbers.
But a car on the other hand can be used only by you and members of your household that you’ve been quarantining with, and if you don’t have one, you can rent one.
The other option here is a campervan, and whether you reside in Australia, Europe, or America, towing a camper and hitting up local parks has become a global trend as travelers who would have been heading overseas choose to instead explore their own backyard.
Hotel bookings may be down during the pandemic, but RV’s and camping trailers are reporting massive increases in sales, and many dealers are equal to or ahead of their sales for last year.
Travel on Unusual Dates
It’s a well-known fact that each tourist destination has a high and low season, which influences the price. The only good thing from this pandemic is that more people can travel now on almost any date.
Obviously this will be dependent upon your studies, your exam dates, and whether you’re expected to be physically in class for certain lectures. But if you’ve got freedom and flexibility in this and you’re studying via virtual learning, unusual dates will make your travels cheaper.
As a general rule, the cheapest days to travel are when other people don’t want to. Tuesday is typically the cheapest day to fly, but also consider traveling on actual holidays.
The biggest savings typically come with flying on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Who needs a business class upgrade when you’re set up in a row of 5 vacant economy seats (remember to tuck the seat belts in the gap between the seats before you lie down … it’s quite uncomfortable otherwise!)
Check Out Private Rentals
As a student, you probably weren’t planning to stay in luxury hotels anyway. Although there are many discounts now, hotels and, especially, hostels, are not virus-safe.
The more people you encounter, the higher the risk of falling ill is. It’s always better to stay on the safe side.
The perfect solution can be a private rental. It can be an apartment, a cabin, or a house – depending on your finances and plans.
Nature Is a Great Choice
Big cities might not be the best choice now, so outdoor activities are gaining more popularity. First of all, they are safer as there are usually fewer people involved. Secondly, relaxing in the vicinity of some natural sight is quite beneficial for one’s mental health.
Nature is the best way to ground, renew, and engage with your life in a way that helps through college stress. People are seeking solace and sanity by getting back to nature, and finding new ways to travel by re-discovering old standbys.
We would caution that even though the outdoors is the perfect place to socially distance, the face mask has still become an essential item to pack for time in the outdoors.
Wearing surgical face masks in public was already a cultural norm throughout much of East Asia before the pandemic, but there has always been a certain stigma about wearing them in Western countries.
After the Spanish flu in 1918, wearing masks in public became a matter of ethics throughout countries like Japan and China, and this cultural norm was only strengthened by the outbreak of SARS in 2003.
It’s normal for people in these countries to wear masks even if they’re not ill, and seen as a sign of respect, and a sense of security for the people around you. People view wearing a mask as a civic duty.
Even though the science on the efficacy of face masks isn’t there, face masks have already become standard across many destinations, even when spending time at beaches and National Parks.
Benefit from Discounts and Last-Minute Offers
Being that the travel industry has been hit so hard, there are discounts and last minute offers at the moment like there never have been before, and this is likely to continue through 2021.
So it’s a perfect time for those who want to save some money. Look into all discounts and proposals, check when they are available. Book travel that’s flexible or can be moved or canceled for free in case any regulations change.
Remember to always do your research and make educated choices regarding your travels. This year you’ll need to choose something exciting but less crowded, take masks and antiseptics with you, and consider going by car.