How do I do it?
So I was asked how I am able to travel so much with limited funds/as a student. The short answer; through a wish and prayer but seriously I have been blessed with a supportive family and a determination to travel no matter what obstacle is placed in front of me.
I have been able to travel numerous places under the pretense of education. The very first trip I raised money for was when I was 16 years old and was invited to go to Australia through People to People Student Ambassador. If I can remember correctly the total cost of the trip was $5200 and I was able to raise more than that. (I don’t remember the exact amount)
The formula to success you may ask is DETERMINATION+STEPPING OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE=SUCCESS. What do I mean by stepping out of your comfort zone, for me that meant asking any and everybody and not accepting the word No. I was given a template letter to follow with spaces to add my personal information with the People to People logo (to show it was legit) and I sent it to everyone. I got the email addresses and physical addresses of banks and businesses both corporate and family owned and sent them out. No matter how many No’s I received I kept pushing.
I am also fortunate enough to have a large church base and I sent the letter to every church (probably about 50) and personally asked individuals as my family and I visited churches. I also asked churches in general, local Baptist, Pentecostal and Catholic churches in my area or who had a website. (pretty much any church I could get information on)
Traveling is extremely possible no matter what your circumstances are. I remember in college my roommates and I were trying to plan a spring break trip but at every turn they kept telling me that they didn’t have the money. (mind you, sneakers were mailed to our apartment like weekly and they actually got a refund). What does this mean; depending on your PRIORITY will determining if you travel or not.
Ways to get funds,
1. sponsorships (from people, local businesses, churches, etc.)
2. fundraisers (selling candy, baking goods, coupons, etc.).
a. this all depends on how creative you are and how much you think out of the box
3. saving money (picking up odd jobs around the house/neighborhood, allowance)
a. I never really got an allowance but whenever I got any money from my parents I would pocket at least 80% of it. Trust me, the one dollars and five dollars really adds up. Even collecting all the change around your house/area.
4. Grants/scholarships (college students- free money is lurking around at your school you just have to find it. Most schools have partial/full scholarships to study abroad)
Now I am not saying that everyone or every place that you reach out to will give you money. It’s all about persistence. For every no you receive you ask or send out 3 more requests.
Lets put traveling into a little perspective:
• A round trip ticket from New York to California is $312
• A round trip ticket from New York to The Bahamas is $320 not including all the deals/sales various airlines have (and forget about a flight from Florida even cheaper)
• A round trip ticket from New York to Houston, Texas is $260
• A round trip ticket from Houston, Texas to Mexico (and practically all of Central America ie. Costa Rica, Belize) about $250
What this all means is that most places you travel to in America you can also find the same or comparable ticket to a place outside of America. (and of course I am not even mentioning how cheap it is to travel within Europe)
Traveling is indeed possible. I hope I have shed some light on the different ways to accomplish said travel.