American Culture

Students should travel while still young

by Zack Witzel

Go somewhere.

Drive a car. Take a bus. Board a plane.

Pinpoint a spot on a map, and find a way to get there.

Yes, students have loans to worry about and résumés to build, but the luxury of being young is a time-sensitive gift. Don’t waste it.

Studying abroad strikes many students and their parents as a great opportunity to experience the world while still furthering an education. And it is. But basing a trip around required courses can stifle what excitement a destination can hold.

So simply travel for the sake of traveling.

Now, the romanticism of a road trip can sometimes seem impossible or impractical, but viable options exist. A college-student budget, while often small, can fund more than one might realize.

The importance of fuel efficiency has given some consumers reason to buy gas-sipping vehicles. Everyone knows someone with at least a somewhat economical car. Carpool and divide gas costs accordingly.

A 2010 Toyota Prius, with an engine capable of 50 miles per gallon, can travel about 600 miles on a single tank of gas. At a national average of about $2.90 per gallon, that’s less than $35 to go from Buffalo to Chicago.

Rather have a professional do the driving?

Megabus services run to and from major cities all over the country for less than $100. A trip from Buffalo to Philadelphia would cost a mere $29.50. Philadelphia to Boston? $10.50. Boston to New York City? $13.50.

Want to travel a bit farther?

Book a flight on Travelocity or Priceline. A one-way ticket to Miami from Buffalo would only cost $88 on both sites. Buffalo to Dallas runs $118.

Of course, each trip’s cost varies based on departure date and the number of connecting flights, but cheap tickets exist. A traveler just has to look.

And that’s exactly what a student should want to do—explore. College life teaches undergraduates to discover themselves. It urges them to expand their lived experience. And what better way to gain life experience than to tour some unfamiliar territory? Discomfort itself breeds growth.

Everyone feels stir-crazy sometimes. Everyone has that moment of “Wait a minute. I don’t want to be here.” And everyone wants something new.

Students are no exception.

Envying photographs of unknown places won’t satisfy. And watching strangers enjoy themselves on the Travel Channel will never quite fulfill a person the way the physical act of making a trip can.

And, with graduation less than four years away for just many, if not most, undergraduate students, time is running out.

Soon members of the student body will become members of the workforce. The days of spring breaks and summers off will effectively end.

So, before it’s too late, go somewhere.

Zack Witzel studies journalism and mass communication and English at St. Bonaventure University. He writes in his free time, in his not-so-free time, and probably in his sleep.

3 replies »

  1. “The luxury of being young is a time-sensitive gift” — great line. But for some of us, the luxury of being young at heart is a gift that’s timeless.

    Nice piece.