Traveling as a student may seem almost impossible to some. Between the cost of all the student loans, study commitments and lack of income, how can one possibly afford or have time for traveling? Well, meet Rithi. She’s an MBA student who has traveled to 33 countries and is showing no signs of slowing down! Here she gives us her best travel inspiration and insights as well as tips on how to budget for travel.
33 Countries: MBA Student Shares How To Budget For World Travel
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To start, could you please give us a short introduction about yourself and what you do?
My name is Aakriti (friends often call me Rithi) and I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area.
A few months after completing my Bachelor’s Degree at UC Davis, I moved to New York City where I lived and worked in the digital media space for about 5 years.
In July of this year (about a month ago) I moved to Melbourne, Australia and am currently a full-time business school student, completing my MBA.
When did you first start traveling independently and where did you go?
I started traveling independently in junior year of college while I was studying abroad in Italy. We had about two weeks off in between courses and a few friends and I decided to do a mini backpacking trip through Europe.
Our first stop was Interlaken, Switzerland. We were there for literally 8 hours – enough time to go hangliding over the Alps!
Our second stop was Heidelberg, Germany where we had some friends studying so we were able to stay with them and get the real local experience for a few days.
Our third stop was Amsterdam. We arrived there one day after the Netherlands lost the World Cup to Spain, which was really sad but incredible to see. Everyone was dressed in orange, ready to welcome their team back home.
On the way to our fourth stop (Paris) we had train problems so ended up in Belgium for about 3 hours – just enough time to get some Belgium chocolate and beer!
All in all, 5 countries in two weeks was definitely a success in our eyes. 🙂
What then inspired you to travel more?
With a mother in the travel industry, I’ve grown up traveling and have always been passionate about seeing the world and experiencing other cultures. I’ve been to 33 countries so far, so I have a long way to go!
What is your favourite travel destination and why?
If I had to pick one place it would have to be Bhutan. It’s the most beautiful country I’ve ever seen – both because of its natural beauty and its unique culture. The country has really preserved its cultural heritage unlike any other I’ve visited due to the way it protects itself from outside cultural influences.
Where have you you found traveling to be most challenging? What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
Getting lost in a new city, while sometimes exciting, can definitely be challenging. I rely heavily on Google Maps on my iPhone when I have WiFi, but once I’m out of network there’s not much it can tell me. That’s why physical maps are super important.
Even though technology has replaced physical maps for most, when traveling the first thing I do is get a map from the hostel and figure out where I am and where all I need to be. That map goes everywhere with me. By the end of the trip it’s pretty beaten up…which serves as the perfect souvenir. 🙂
What is your travel style and how does this impact the way you budget and earn money before and during your travels?
I’m very into food and feel that’s one of the best ways to really experience other cultures. So when I’m traveling, right there on the list next to site seeing is checking out all the best local spots to eat. It also provides a great way to meet the local people there and learn more about the area.
In regards to travel and accommodation, public transport and hostels all the way. As long as you figure out all the logistics ahead of time, they truly are a great value for your money…which is necessary when traveling on a budget.
What strategies do you use to fund your adventures? Can you share how to budget for travel?
I use the “envelope budgeting” method on a monthly basis. It seemed really daunting at first, but now it’s second-nature to me. Aside from having one envelope dedicated to travel, at the end of each month on any other categories I come in under, I sweep the excess into my travel savings.
What are your top go-to resources for booking flights and accommodation?
I always compare flights on a few different sites including Kayak, Google Flights, Expedia, and of course direct airlines sites. For accommodation, I honestly love forums and reading the most recent posts about what hostels are popular/best value at the time.
What is the most important thing you have learned through travel and with that in mind, what valuable advice can you give aspiring travelers?
Probably to go with the flow. I’m the type that plans everything to a T. I create an itinerary for each day I’m abroad, and if there’s anything I’ve learned when traveling it’s that things will change and that’s ok. Embrace it. It’s part of the experience. And that change can end up leading to even better things than you had initially planned.
That being said, I still encourage everyone to have some framework when planning their trip…it’s essential to ensure you see and do everything you would like. After all, you’re spending all this money and taking time off work…you want to make the most of it.
And finally, what have you got planned next?!
Well, considering I’m living in Australia for the next couple years, I definitely want to explore the country and also New Zealand and Tasmania – when else will I get to live so close?!
Thank you Rithi for sharing your inspiring travel insights as well as your helpful tips on how to budget for travel as a student!
Rithi is currently exploring beautiful Australia! To see her adventures within Australia and it’s surrounding countries, remember to follow her on Instagram: @guptaa_.
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