In an article about the invaluable lessons that traveling teaches, Amanda Machado reflects back on a trip to the country where her father was born. “That month in Ecuador did more for my character, education and sense of identity than any other experience in my early life,” reflects Amanda. Have a break coming up? Add some travel to your plans! You’ll gain experience that will help you become a better health care professional — and a better citizen overall.
Not everyone has the means to travel outside of the U.S. like Amanda did. In fact, U.S. culture seems not to emphasize the value of early traveling experiences as much as our neighbors in countries like the U.K. do. In the U.K., 75 percent of citizens have passports as compared to 45 percent in the U.S. In addition, some surveys show that more than half of the U.S. population has never traveled outside of the country at all.
One way to gain experience without having to spend a ton of money is to drive to closer destinations over your break. You could stay in the country, if your passport is an issue, or even travel to geographically close countries. After all, semester breaks mean you have more time than you normally would away from class — take advantage by covering some road! If you decide to take a road trip over the summer, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind to ensure you stay safe and are well prepared for the demands of traveling.
Stay Safe Out There
Choose a reliable vehicle, one that has enough seat belts for everyone and has gone through some maintenance lately. Check your windshield wipers, test the lights and ensure the tires have enough tread on them to keep you safe in whatever type of conditions you’ll be driving in during your trip.
Another great way to save money and stay safe: travel with a friend! Not only can you split gas and lodging costs, but you can take turns driving. Even if you are traveling in a group, ensure that everyone has enough sleep before getting behind the wheel. You should never rely on your passengers to keep you awake!
To make sure you’re covered no matter what you face on the road, consider joining AAA and check if your existing insurance has roadside assistance. You know what they say — if you have a plan, you won’t need it, so it’s best to have a plan.
Gain Experience on a Budget
Once you’ve got enough money for your trip, you can save money along the way as well. Plan out stops using an app like Gas Buddy to determine where the cheapest gas is going to be so you can fill up there. Plan ahead to make sure you don’t get caught in the middle of the desert running low on gas.
Avoid toll roads if at all possible, that way even if it takes you a bit longer you will have saved some cash. You can also use rest stops more than gas stations. For those stops that you don’t need to refuel the car, stop at rest areas instead. They have free bathrooms, water fountains, vending machines and lots of room to walk around and stretch your legs.
You can make this a valuable summer full of experiences that help prepare you for your health care career path ahead. Get planning today!