It’s summertime, the very best time to take a vacation. There’s warm weather, plenty of time, and lots of opportunities everywhere. But how do you take a vacation even if you can’t afford one? We’ll get to that in a little bit. In the meantime, let’s discuss the many reasons why you actually may need a vacation this summer.
It’s been a long school year, and as is always the case at the university level, your head has been filled with at least slightly more information that it can comfortably tolerate. You need to get out and do something completely different, something that will cause your mind to totally relax.
To some degree you can do that even by staying close to home. But it’s more easily done in a remote location, while you’re doing something that is completely different from your normal routine. The whole idea of a vacation is to get away to someplace where you can participate in activities that are totally beyond your normal ones.
To recharge your batteries for the next push
Probably the biggest tangible benefit to taking a vacation is that it offers you an opportunity to rest your body and your mind in preparation for the next drive forward in your life.
Some people try to do this in one continuous stream – they drive toward one set of goals, and then to another, which is always followed quickly by still another. That may seem to be the best way to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, but it’s also the perfect way to burn yourself out. In order to accomplish your very best, you do need to step outside of yourself and your routine and give yourself the tools that you need to continue to push forward.
To build experiences while you’re young
As a university student you are young and should be looking for experiences to supplement your education. There’s a strong degree of cramming where education is concerned, and adding experiences to the mix is a way of making your education even richer.
Because of the diversity that they bring to your life, vacations offer a perfect opportunity to create some of those new experiences, in a way that you can’t when you are in familiar surroundings.
To connect with life
Education involves a certain very real separation from real life. In a classroom setting you are not experiencing real life, but learning and preparing to live it. This is very different from real-world experience.
A vacation offers an opportunity to experience life in a compressed package. You’re typically in a remote location, doing things you don’t normally do, and interacting with different people than you are when you’re at home. New experiences equal real life, and vacations offer just that. They are a form of education – a different kind of education – but one that allows a student experience life outside the classroom. Those experiences will be a benefit to you later in life, and that’s why you want take advantage of them now.
Inexpensive summer vacations
So far we’ve covered the “why” of vacations – now are going to look at the “how” side of the question, as in how can I afford a vacation on a very limited budget?
The very word “vacation” usually conjures up visions of palm trees, beaches, and resort hotels. That is an expensive vacation. But let’s take a look at a few different types of vacations, the kind that can provide you with rich experiences but not leave you poor.
A road trip. Do you have any friends who are planning to make a long-distance trip sometime this summer? Maybe you can tag along for the ride and see where it leads. If you get a group of friends together to go, you’ll almost certainly have a good time no matter what the destination is or what the plans are when you arrive. If you share the cost of gas and lodging between three or four people, you can travel great distances on the cheap. The fact that it will be largely unplanned (other than the ultimate destination) holds great potential for memorable experiences.
Camping. This is the polar opposite of taking a vacation in a luxury hotel – but it also has a much lower price tag as well. The advantage here is that you will be out into nature, and challenging yourself in a completely unfamiliar environment. You will be out in the natural world, and functioning in a very different way from what you normally do. That will clear your head and tend to give you an entirely new perspective on life. Doing it with a friend or two will only add to the fun.
Visiting a city or province you’ve never been to. Have you ever thought about picking a point on the map and just heading to it? Not for any particular reason – it’s just something you feel like doing. That’s called being spontaneous, and all kinds of fun can be had with that. We can think of this as being an unplanned road trip, in contrast to the one suggested above. Just pick some place you’ve never been – some place you’d really like to go – and go there. You may be surprised how far you can travel on a very limited budget. Figuring out how to make it work for very little money will be part of the adventure.
Visiting family or friends in a distant location. Do you have family or friends in a distant part of the country that you have been thinking of visiting and just haven’t gotten there? Now maybe the perfect time. If you can stay with them while you are there, your room and board will be covered, and all you will have to worry about is paying the cost of getting there and coming back. In addition to visiting with people, you could also get a bicycle and travel around where they live. Visit some sites and shops that you normally don’t go into. It may not be the high road to adventure, but you’ll be having different experiences in a different place.
Attending a unique event. Is there a major event in another city that you have been thinking about attending? It could be some sort of festival or a multi-day concert that you’d like to attend. Maybe you could stay at a local hostel or even at university housing for very little money. There’s even the possibility of camping at a local campsite. You can use this destination in combination with some of the other suggestions above. For example, you can make this the destination of your road trip that you will be taking with other friends.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have an enjoyable vacation. The most important part is getting away to someplace different, to do something different, and in the company of different people. When you come back, you’ll be relaxed and refreshed, and better prepared to return to school in the fall.