Many people ask us how we managed to travel for such a long time, especially while we are still studying at university. We both have been on a long trip together in the summer of 2019. From April to August we have been traveling through Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. This time still means a lot to us and has shaped both of us in a very unexpected way. In this blogpost we want to show you how we did it, why we did it and how you can make it happen too!
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Taking time off university to travel
We both decided pretty early that we wanted to take some time off between our bachelor and master studies. As we both studied engineering science in our bachelors, this was a pretty exhausting and challenging time for us. The degree took five years and mostly consisted of studying. Besides the long hours of studying in the library, we didn’t have a lot of time to travel. Our exams were taking place during the vacation period of the semester. That is the reason why the only time we could “escape” was during the beginning of the lecture period. Nevertheless, this time was limited too, since we didn’t want to miss too much subject.
As a result, we both definitely needed some time off after finishing our bachelor degrees. Our first thought was to do a work and holiday stay in Australia. However, this plan didn’t really pay up, because we only wanted to stay for a few months and not for a whole year. That’s why we decided to work and save money beforehand, and then travel for about half a year.
So, how did we manage to travel for this long during our study time? We both had totally different ways to achieve this goal. Since I (Sophia) graduated 6 months after Long, we did have some time apart in-between, where we figured out our travels for the summer.
My plans, in the beginning, were totally different from what they ended up being. I was planning to finish my bachelor degree in October 2018, which turned out to be March 2020 due to one exam I didn’t pass. But that’s life and in the end, everything turned out better than both of us could have expected. I decided to do the 6 months of traveling probably in spring/summer 2018. From then on I figured out ways to make this dream come true. I worked a lot during the last semester of her bachelors and together with Long we planned the whole trip.
I have graduated from university in June 2018. We both planned to finish our bachelors at the end of the semester but in the end that was not the case. That’s the reason why I had to figure out a way how to fill the 6 months until Sophia has graduated. I travelled South-East-Asia solo and afterwards, I got into a german company in our hometown. I ended up working and living in Bangladesh for this company. (But that’s a whole other story) As a result, I was able to save a lot of money during this time.
How we did it
How did we organize to travel during studying at university? The main things that are important for traveling during or after studying at university are preparation, time management and savings.
From the moment we decided to do this we both have been saving money. Also, Sophia was working as a scientific assistant at university and as a waitress in a restaurant afterward. That was the perfect job for her, because she was very flexible with her working times. She was able to work more when she wanted to and she was also able to get time off during the exam period. The clue is to get a job where you are flexible with your working times and where you can earn a good amount in a short period of time. Working in a restaurant, online jobs or seasonal jobs are perfect for that. In addition to that it is helpful to minimize your expenses by not eating out that much and only buying the essential things. This makes it possible to save a lot on a daily basis. If you are not able to raise enough money by working beforehand, you could also apply for an internship or semester abroad.
Another option to earn money is to sell old clothes. Since Sophia was moving out for these 6 months anyways, she was happy about all the things she could get rid of. In Germany ‘Kleiderkreisel’ or ‘EbayKleinanzeigen’ are perfect for selling clothes online. For some clothing or accessories you can still get a good price.
Of course you need to create time for this trip. In particular when you travel for a longer period of time, you have to set a time frame for it. Ideally, you plan your trip 6-12 months in advance. So, there is enough space in between to get your university duties sorted and get all the other preparations done. Especially, if you have exams or essays you need to finish beforehand, it is important to get these sorted out. For the case that you are planning to keep traveling for several months we would recommend taking a “holiday semester”, where you pause your courses for 6 months. As an option you could take a gap year after you finished your bachelors or masters.
After having all these things sorted out, it’s all about preparing your trip. This can be very time-consuming. That’s why you have to make sure you are organizing everything well. We will upload a separate blog post on everything you need to plan for a longer trip (like passport check, luggage, packing, etc.).
How you can also travel while studying
If you really want to do it, there’s always a way to achieve your goals. The most important thing is to decide what exactly you want to do, because there are several options to travel during studying at university. Afterward, you should plan when and how you are going to archive that. We believe that literally everybody can do it! And it’s such a good feeling to get out on adventures, instead of just sitting in the library day by day.
Since we are not able to travel right now, here are some tips on how to stay positive during quarantine.
See you soon,
Sophia & Long