Law school is such a busy time. We spend hours and hours studying or in class each day, and it seems like the weekends are spent endlessly catching up on school work. While semesters are short in the grand scheme of things, the weeks can really drag on if you end up doing the same thing on repeat. For me, I go to law school in a place where there are cold, snowy winters. So when the days get shorter and darker, and I follow my routine, it's easy to start feeling trapped and isolated.
During my 1L year, the feelings of being trapped got to be too much, and I ended up buying a last minute plane ticket to visit my family. While I now comically refer to this as "The Great Mental Breakdown of 2016," this incident showed me that I needed to be more intentional about getting out of my college town, and experiencing something different than just the mundane daily law school classes I was taking. So I made it a goal of mine to travel more during my 2L and 3L year. And that decision has seriously been life-changing.
Now, I know you might be thinking that it's impossible to travel during law school, especially because travelling during law school comes with two big challenges:
Travelling is EXPENSIVE, and takes a LOT of time!
The first challenge - cost - is something that can be hard to get around for some people. As law students, we are already on really tight budgets. And while I like to think of myself as someone who is fairly good at making a budget and sticking to it, this doesn't mean I have a bunch of extra cash floating around. However, there are ways to travel without spending too much money. Further, if you work travel expenses into your budget at the beginning of the year, the travel splurge will feel like more of an anticipated expense than like you are spending money you don't have. I personally set aside some of the money I made from my paid summer internship as a travel fund, so I knew that I would have the money for my adventures. I've also figured out ways to reduce costs when I'm travelling as much as possible. See some of my tips listed below!
Ways to Save Money Travelling:
- Plan early and shop around for deals! Turn on Google alerts for flights, or wait for holiday sales on attraction tickets or travel necessities.
- Don't be afraid to make last minute changes! Sometimes if I'm going to a city where I know there are plenty of places to stay, I will wait until a few days before to book a hotel room or an AirBnB to get some last minute deals.
- Use rewards programs! I exclusively stay at Mariott Hotels, so that I can save up my rewards points to get free rooms. I also use a Delta American Express Credit Card for flights, and in the last year alone I've gotten three free flights using my points. Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you're approved! http://refer.amex.us/BAILERqhrv?xl=cp27
- Travel with a buddy! Splitting the cost of a hotel room or gas on a road trip greatly reduces costs.
- Go to places with free or cheap activities! I've gone on trips to place like Washington D.C., Philadelphia, or National Parks where the cost of activities is low or free because they are operated by the government. This means I've had trips where all I pay is travel costs, lodging, and food.
- Cut spending in other areas to increase your travel budget. Are you someone like me who is addicted to coffee? One time I realized that if I cut out my Starbucks habit for a month, I could pay for another night in a hotel room easily. It really made me think twice about ordering my matcha latte.
- Small trips are okay! You don't have to travel to Italy to make it count. Take a small trip to the closest big city, or travel to Disney World. These trips are cheaper but still amazing.
So there are some of my reasons why you should travel in law school, or even in college. You're only young and able to travel with no job or family ties for so long. You might as well take advantage of it. Plus, you'll make memories of a lifetime, and finally be able to post a pic from somewhere other than the library on your instagram. What more could you need?