We live in the era of travelers and explorers. In the era of uncountable opportunities, where you don´t have to work your whole life anymore to be able to travel somewhere. On my last trip to Israel, I was stopped at the passport control with a question: ´You are 24. Did you say you were a student? How come you have so many stamps in your passport? ´ Well, no, I haven´t won a lottery. Here is how I do it, and the best thing is, that you can do it too. 😊
Find your opportunities
Searching for you opportunities online is the number one thing you should do. When I have a desire to travel I usually spent days on my computer looking at various courses, programs, scholarships, or travel opportunities. You can simply Google some pages, or check your Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is automatically in my browser´s quick search now - no idea how that happened! The Internet offers various options based on which you can choose anything that fits your personality, or your professional portfolio. Let´s have a look at what you can find.
Study and travel
The best options for me so far were scholarships and study programs. There is just one catch with this one - you have to be a student. Many times, there also is an age restriction, but that can be quite wide so you have a big chance to fit in the program whether you are 19 or 35 (you can study and travel in any age, trust me).
When I studied my bachelor degree I have applied for a Chinese Government Scholarship in Tianjin, China. Chinese government paid for my accommodation, course, air tickets, and every month I was receiving a pocket money. There are hundreds of scholarships like this out there, you just need to find the one you are willing to fight for with other determined studying travelers. However, once you are in, getting a scholarship like this is just a beginning! There were many people who liked good food, partying, or shopping way too much. When all you are living from is scholarship and you want to use it for traveling, you cannot expect miracles. Your budget will be very tight, so I would recommend this for a person, who would rather save some money, and head for an adventure afterward. Of course, many people use those programs just as a help with funding or visa, and they are coming with some savings, which gives you a whole bunch of options how to enjoy your life and still have enough funds to travel afterwards.
I have managed to save one-third of my scholarship each month, and thanks to that I was able to travel to Inner Mongolia, Malaysia, and Singapore at the end of my course. The way you live DOES MAKE THE DIFFERENCE because some of my classmates did not have enough money to pay for their monthly living! This doesn´t mean you shouldn´t be exploring the city, the life, culture, or food. This means you should walk instead of taking a taxi, eat from a local guy on the street rather than in the restaurant (this is also the way how I avoided all stomach problems), or shop at the local market instead of supermarket.
One year later I dreamed of a beautiful and warm place, where I could have a rest and relax. No problem! Slovak and Indonesian Ministries of Foreign Affairs were offering a program that was exactly what I was looking for. I went to study culture, Bahasa Indonesia and spread love and peace to Bali. This was a bit different from my previous experiences, because Bali is way more touristy and expensive, and so, naturally, my scholarship was not enough for me to cover my monthly bills. I had to use my savings. BUT you would be surprised, there still were people, who managed to live from this little amount of money, so again, it is only about your standards and commitment to your daily budget. Everything is possible. In the worst scenario, I could have applied for staying in Sumatra, Borneo or Java, where, according to my friends, living was much cheaper and the scholarship was more than enough.
Work and travel
You can apply for a work and travel program in the US, Canada, or Australia. This option requires an investment first but don´t worry, you will get all your money back. You are able to legally work in the country for a couple of months, while your last 30 days could be spent by the traveling (so you can spend everything you have earned, how fun is that!?). I have been working in Myrtle Beach, SC via CCUSA for three months, and then traveled from California, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Washington DC, to New York. Amazing experience!
There are also programs for professionals
What is more, you can also find a program of professional mobility and get a grant for traveling as an adult, no matter if you are a teacher, administrator, or work somewhere else. There literally are programs for everyone! The only thing is that you may be forced to choose between the destinations that are already set up, but I believe that, if choosing between applying for Mexico or Japan would be our only problem, then we are fine 🙂
The fantastic thing about all this is that EVERYONE can do it, and everyone can find a program or grant to apply for. If you speak English (or language of a country you are applying for), you are willing to travel, you love planning your trip by yourself, sleeping at unknown places, using different types of public transports, while wondering what will happen tomorrow, and most importantly, you are not lazy to search the internet, you are almost there! Prove them you are the one, and travel!
Good luck, guys!