Many college students get excited about studying abroad but never get the chance to do it because they can’t afford it. Paying for somewhere to stay, tuition, out-of-state car insurance, and food while studying abroad are major costs for some families.
To get the same experience of traveling and studying in a new place, students can “study abroad” in their home country. This lets them potentially defray costs, and even stay on their parents’ car insurance.
There are many cultures in the U.S., and you can get a different experience by visiting a couple of states over a semester. We’ll discuss the benefits of traveling from state to state in the U.S. and how you can save more money on insurance and other expenses.
Why travel within the U.S. instead of to a different country?
Traveling through America may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about backpacking or traveling. While other countries have hostels (a cheaper alternative to hotels and rental properties) and various cross-country transit options, this nation has limited variations in transportation and accommodation.
Despite the transportation limitations, America has a lot to offer tourists who are willing to put in the time to explore it. There are beautiful national parks, scenic landscapes, wonderful and diverse culture, world-class music, and a wide range of delicious food in each area.
While the coastal communities are enjoyable, the true character of the U.S. may be found in the center and rural areas of the country. It’s in America’s nooks and crannies that you get a feel of its peculiarities. It’s also less expensive in the middle and countryside.
There is so much to see and do in the U.S. that you could spend months traveling across the country.
How can I study abroad in the United States?
If your home country is the U.S., it’s easier to travel to different states right now since many universities may still be offering virtual learning. Thanks to technology developments, students may simply travel while learning online.
Virtual study programs frequently combine online chats and coursework with live meetings, and the course style varies greatly among schools.
With many institutions offering virtual courses because of the pandemic, this is an excellent opportunity to get credits while growing your global or national network from the comfort of your own computer.
If you plan to travel across the country, make sure you’re up to date on coronavirus-related travel restrictions and public health precautions before you begin arranging your study abroad trip. With COVID rates picking back up, many states and cities are enacting mask mandates, and some are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test.
Even if your school has started face-to-face learning, you can choose to study abroad online. For example, after I had my daughter during my junior year in college, I scheduled all my classes online so I could be home with my baby and still graduate on time.
Many large universities offer classes online, and with COVID still being a threat, there are more available online than before.
Study With Another University in a Different State
When you study abroad traditionally, you are going to another university in another country. Though most exchange programs in universities work specifically for international students, some may be willing to work with students that are simply visiting from another state.
You can research study-abroad programs within the U.S. online and see what their requirements are for exchange students. Once you have a few promising universities to choose from, submit your application to their program as soon as possible.
Funding Your ‘Study Abroad’ Trip
Making a reasonable vacation budget that allows you to have fun while taking classes will help you best fund your trip. A realistic budget ensures that all of your essential needs are met while leaving some money for pleasure.
Applying for extra scholarships and grants might help you pay for your virtual education while traveling or participating in exchange programs with another university.
You may also pay for it with money that would typically be used for room and board while at a university. If such choices are not practical, you can generate income while traveling, like finding a remote job or a job local to the area you are studying in.
Additionally, easing up on some expenses such as expensive accommodations like eating out every night might help you save a significant amount of money and make your next trip more reasonable.
Places to Study Abroad in the U.S.
The U.S. is enormous, with so many locations to see and activities to do that it might be tough to select what to include in your trip. Trip planners like the discoverybit travel directory could help you plan your trips.
Here is how it works:
Knowing where to go and what to see may help you explore the country, save money, go off the traditional route, and enjoy most of what America has to offer. Below are some of the best cities and sites in the country.
#1 – Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park, located along the Pacific Coast, is a vast expanse of tall redwood trees with picnic spots, camping areas, and miles of hiking paths. The trails range in difficulty from simple to hard, and several loops lead to local beaches. The trees range in height from 200 to 240 feet.
The view of the landscape is breathtaking and uplifting in every sense. Although admission is free, the three neighboring state parks, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, charge $5 each.
#2 – Asheville, NC
Asheville is packed with excellent craft beer, terrific cuisine, and hipsters. The community is next to spectacular mountain climbs like the Carolina Mountain Trail, and the picturesque Smoky Mountains are only a short drive away.
If you’re in the mood for luxury, the massive Biltmore estate — the largest privately held property in the U.S. — lies on the edge of the city. The town also boasts a variety of parks like the Asheville Botanical Gardens.
#3 – San Diego, CA
San Diego’s weather is nearly always beautiful, resulting in a perpetually cheerful community that is sociable, extroverted, and enjoys being outside. Hiking, days at the beach, and running are all popular ways for locals to go outside and enjoy the sun.
The downtown Gaslamp district as well as the famed Pacific Beach are teeming with fashionable restaurants, buzzing clubs, and some really life-changing taco carts.
#4 – Portland, OR
Portland is fantastic, thanks to its excellent food truck culture, stylish custom bars, and cocktail lounges. Their craft beer scene is religious to locals. Their peaceful parks, like their serene Japanese garden, allow you to relax and unwind.
Portland also has a lively art scene and hiking in the surrounding mountains. This city is a lovely place, especially in the summer when the weather is beautiful and there are several festivals and events to attend.
#5 – Historic Deadwood in South Dakota
This hamlet, nestled in western South Dakota, was famous during the Old West era. It is notable enough to be the subject of the namesake HBO series, “Deadwood.” Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, and a slew of other notable gunfighters spent time here.
Although this site may be gaudy and re-animated, it is a pretty fascinating place where you can get a flavor of the old Western days. It’s also close to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore, so it’s good enough to warrant a day trip.
#6 – Washington, D.C.
Many of the greatest museums in the country can be found in Washington, D.C., America’s capital. Given the huge number of multinational embassy personnel in the region, it is a particularly international city.
While visiting the capital, be sure to visit the National Mall and all its monuments, the Holocaust Museum, and the numerous Smithsonian museums.
The Smithsonian museums have some of the best exhibits, like the Air and Space Museum, the Museum of the American Indian, the African American Museum, the National Zoo, the Smithsonian Castle, and the American Art Museum. If you go in the spring, you can witness the
cherry blossoms bloom along the Mall.
#7 – New Orleans, LA
New Orleans is a notorious French-influenced city that boasts fantastic seafood and Cajun cuisine, as well as excellent live music. The environment makes this a perfect city to visit if you are a jazz or blues enthusiast.
In the city, live music is accessible every night, and several walking excursions emphasize the city’s distinct culture and history, like ghost and voodoo tours.
However, the city is most known for its infamous Mardi Gras festival season every year before Easter. New Orleans locals and others from around the country gather in the streets to play loud music, have parades, picnics, and floats, and celebrate together.
#8 – Montana
Montana is one of the most breathtakingly gorgeous states thanks to its magnificent mountains and hills. It’s the perfect state to stop in if you’re a nature lover.
The state also has a thriving craft beer culture, with hundreds of small brewers spread around the state. Hiking through the mountains of Montana can serve as a great escape.
#9 – Chicago, IL
Chicago has stunning architecture, beautiful parks, delicious cuisine, and lively nightlife. It’s a gentler version of New York except it’s more beautiful and clean. The city is known for its significant St. Patrick’s Day events and gorgeous buildings.
Stuffed-crust pizza and deep-dish pizza both originated in this city, so of course, it’s known for deep-dish. The city also has Millennium Park’s renowned “Bean” sculpture and Lake Michigan, the third largest of the Great Lakes.
#10 – U.S. National Parks
Aside from the mountains mentioned in Montana, there are 63 other national parks in the U.S. as well as many state and local parks. These parks showcase the finest of America’s wilderness.
Yellowstone, Yosemite, Glacier, the Smoky Mountains, Rocky Mountain Park, and the Badlands are just a few examples. If you love the great outdoors, visit as many national parks as possible to get a feel of the vast and varied terrain that is America.
How can I get out-of-state car insurance for my study abroad trip?
Most reputable insurers don’t provide temporary auto insurance. A vehicle insurance policy can only be purchased in six-month or one-year increments. However, many insurers provide payment plans that allow policyholders to pay month to month.
Think twice before getting a short-term or temporary vehicle insurance policy. Businesses that offer one-day, one-week, or one-month vehicle insurance may not have the optimum coverage for your requirements.
Motorists in need of temporary insurance could alter their existing policy or look into other possibilities, such as rental car insurance or non-owner auto insurance.
Fortunately, semesters in college usually last around four months, so you can alter your current insurance policy to cover you in another state.
Verifying Vehicle Insurance and Registration Requirements
Since most states require auto insurance, you’ll need to purchase an auto policy to legally drive around in the state and city you are studying in. When you have a car that’s registered in your name (or someone else’s name), you must have insurance that satisfies that state’s insurance requirements.
You will be penalized and required to pay substantial uninsured driver fines if you don’t get vehicle insurance from a licensed carrier in that state.
Additionally, most states require that the named insured on your auto policy matches the name on the vehicle registration.
You can reach out to your current auto insurance provider to discuss options for your specific policy and the state you will be studying in.
Other Traveling Options in America
If your customized study abroad trip in your home country requires backpacking from state to state, you may want to consider other transportation options.
Since the U.S. is a bit larger than the size of the whole continent of Europe, you can’t just hop from Washington, D.C., to San Diego, to New Orleans without some planning.
The distances between sites are deceptive, and the country’s finest attractions are spread out over thousands of miles. Below are varying transportation options available in the U.S.
#1 – Traveling by Air
It would be extremely difficult to backpack the U.S. without splurging on a flight. Since this country is so large, plane travel is usually always the most efficient option to travel between two places. However, there are still airport problems in some cities, so research before planning your travels.
Fortunately, the U.S. has an excellent aviation infrastructure, with over 80,000 flights flying each day. Plus, budget airlines such as Spirit and Southwest have pushed the top airlines to fight on pricing, which means that buying an airline ticket doesn’t have to bankrupt you.
#2 – Traveling by Train
The train service in America is not as vast and reliable as other rail networks in the world, but there are some available here. Amtrak is the main rail network within the country.
If you want to travel between Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., there is a pretty acceptable Amtrak service that will get you there. There are also a few regional rail networks that may be useful, especially in and out of New York City.
If you do decide to travel by Amtrak in the U.S., be sure to book your tickets ahead of time. Costs are significantly higher than you may think, but buying tickets in advance helps you get the best deals.
#3 – Traveling by Bus
The U.S. has a poor bus network, with Greyhound providing the majority of countrywide service. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to go somewhere, and the savings aren’t always significant when compared to renting a car or flying.
This general norm is not without exceptions. Budget carriers such as MegaBus and BoltBus have sprung up to service the Washington, D.C., New York, and Boston region. They provide modern, spacious buses with services like WiFi and onboard bathrooms.
Though these three options are available within the U.S., the best way to travel throughout this country is by car. Most Americans own or have access to a vehicle, which results in lower demand for public transportation. The country boasts a vast interstate network, making road vacations a great way to see the country.
Planning Your Home Country Study Abroad Trip
If you want to study abroad, do it — even if it is only in the U.S. However, the process of studying abroad may be daunting without strategic planning.
To begin, you must select a location and a university, and then decide how to pay for it. Finally, you must plan your time away and choose how to make the most of it.
Things may be different when you return from studying abroad. Even more so, you will be different as a result of the experience. Many people don’t recognize how different cultures can be in a single country, but much of this shift is for the better.Tags: college students plan a trip Students study abroad Tourist Attractions