Degree seeker, world traveler: Tips for earning a degree while traveling

If you plan to complete your studies while traveling, the first step is to pick an online degree program that is right for you. Choose courses that you enjoy and that are related to your career goals or personal interests. Being passionate about your studies can help you stay motivated and complete homework and other online assignments as you travel. This will make school seem less like a chore and more like one of the planned activities on your journey.

Many degrees are now available exclusively online or through low-residency programs (distance learning combined with short on-campus stays). Low-residency programs may offer their residencies in places you have never been, some even in a foreign country. Some programs even begin with summer abroad programs in different locations, followed by online coursework. This type of program allows you to start with the summer program abroad and then stay abroad, traveling while you complete your work.

You could also look for asynchronous online programs, which allow you to complete coursework on your own schedule. If you choose a college in your own state that offers the degree you want online, you could save money with in-state tuition and also apply for financial aid.

Technology tools for the trip

In order to complete your online degree while traveling, you will need the right tools. A laptop computer with a wireless connection is essential for turning in your assignments. Adaptors for your electronics to fit European outlets are also necessary. With the spread of smartphones and electronic tablets, you can use the rapidly spreading international phone and data services to stay connected. Applications for these devices can also provide you with translation tools, currency exchange, maps and city guides for all the places you want to visit while traveling.

Time traveling tricks

Since you will be traveling, keeping up with time zone changes is crucial. Smartphones can help you with this. Try to complete homework in advance or pick a set day or two each week, or a set time during each day for homework. That way, you have time to travel and explore, and you still keep a balanced schedule and stay on track with your online degree.

Time zone maps are readily available online, so print out or save a copy on your phone or laptop, so you know what time it is at your school. If you have the opportunity to move slowly from one time zone to the next, take it; it can make the transition easier.

Enter hostel situations

Traveling can be costly — but it doesn’t have to be. Hostels are widely available and provide inexpensive room rates. The locals and fellow travelers you’ll meet can provide you with information about the city you are staying in and offer details about where to find discounts, inexpensive meals and local treasures. Hostel workers can also help you locate Internet access to submit your assignments. You can find hostels online and map out your entire route that you want to explore.

Thrifty ways to make your trip last

Inexpensive lodging is a great start to helping you prolong your travel while earning your degree online, but you may also want to consider packing light. Packing light affords you the opportunity to move freely and at a moment’s notice if your plans change.

If you don’t stay at a hostel, try to find locations that offer complimentary breakfasts, and if fruits or foods that last are available, pick up a few for snacks or times when lunch isn’t easy to find. Buy foods that pack easily into your bag and last you for a while. Be prepared for unexpected costs. Budget your trip, but make sure to have extra put away in case of emergencies.

Since you will be in college while traveling, take advantage of assignments that pertain to locations you are visiting on your trip. If your history class requires a report or your writing class requires an essay, you can use your firsthand experience so that your trip works twofold.

Earning an online degree while traveling is a great opportunity to accomplish two goals at once. Be prepared, learn about where you will be going, and make a plan to suit your travel and college needs. Allow flexibility, so you can be successful in your venture.

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