Why You Should Definitely Spend Summer Break Backpacking

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Summer-Break-College-Travel-BackpackingSummer is here, and it’s time to lock down your plans. For many, it means taking a timeout for a long and relaxing vacation. However, if you’re more like us and in need of a great big adventure outdoors, backpacking may be for you. Whether you’re a beginner or clocked in hundreds of miles already, here’s why backpacking is the perfect way to spend your summer.

 

What is Backpacking?

For each person, backpacking means something different, but the basic definition is that you take everything you need for your trip in one bag. Trips are usually longer, such as a week or more, and require an extended period on your feet hiking, walking, climbing, etc.

Pro hikers use special, very expensive backpacks that are made to carry a lot of weight on your back. They may also have compartments for tents and sleeping bags, along with tools and food. Other, more casual backpackers, get away with basic packs that are more lightweight and made for short-term, mixed-use trips.

 

Where to Backpack

The best part of backpacking is that you can do it anywhere! You could even spend your summer backpacking the local state park, if you wanted. The destinations are unlimited, and even urban backpackers are welcome! If you’re looking for summer backpacking trips, here are top destinations in each region:

  • East Coast:

    • Appalachian Trail
    • New York City
    • Adirondack Mountains
    • Acadia National Park

 

  • Mid-West:

    • Sleeping Bear Dunes
    • Dakota Prairie National Grassland
    • Obannon Woods
    • Chicago Lakeshore

 

  • South:

    • Bartram Trail
    • De Soto National Forest
    • Florida Trail
    • Ozark National Park

 

  • Southwest and West Coast:

    • Crested Butte
    • John Muir Trail
    • Pacific Crest Trail
    • Grand Canyon

 

Going Beyond

With all those destinations, you could be traveling for summer after summer trying to cross them off your to-do list. But if you’re looking for a real adventure, why not save up for a trip of the lifetime by crossing the border.

Many college students are at the perfect point in their lives where they can travel internationally by backpacking. It’s affordable, safe (in most places, but always check travel alerts first), and the perfect way to see some spectacular, off the beaten path destinations.

Take a month and go to Europe using backpacks, hostels, and trails (or trains) to hit up your favorite cities. Visit South America to see ancient ruins from tribes long extinct. Or get a real culture shock from seeing Asia outside the major cities and tourist hubs.

 

Why You Should Backpack While in College

Backpacking is a great distance exercise. It requires a lot of strength to carry around enough food, clothes, tents, and supplies to last you. And you’ll be pushed to your limits if you take it up a notch by selecting a trail that’s elevated or headed through forestland.

In addition to exercise, you’ll save cash on gas, plane tickets, luggage fees, and more. You’ll just need to get to and from your destination, and the rest can be extremely affordable. Use friends or sale sites to source your camping gear or backpack needs to save even more!

However, the main reason to backpack is to see the world from the outside. When you’re able to take everything you need on your back, you’re not tied down by suitcases or expensive flights. You can see and do what you have always dreamed of with just your two feet.

Top Places to Study Abroad in 2017

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One of the biggest and most rewarding adventures you can have as a college student is to study abroad. There are so many programs you can choose from like studying opera in Italy or politics in China. But with all those options, how do you find a destination that’s perfect for you? This list of the 7 best places to study abroad in 2017 will give you ideas of where you should book your flight to in the new year.

 

Barcelona, Spain

 

Ceiling, Cathedral, Sagrada Família, Barcelona

 

Romantic, charming, modern, and vibrant — Spain really has it all. However, what really makes Barcelona, in particular, shine is its eccentric and quirky architecture, multilingual citizens (most speak Spanish and Catalan, and many can speak English and French as well), and tasty food culture. Spend your days visiting historical sites and art galleries, and at night, treat yourself to a round of tapas!

 

San Jose, Costa Rica

 

Blue, Bright, Happy, Leaves, Palm Tree, Palm Trees

 

Nature lovers and natural science majors absolutely must visit Costa Rica at least once. It’s rainforest, ocean, and urban environments make it perfect for those studying engineering or development or take on a project such as constructing hurricane-safe homes or studying fish populations along one of its many beaches. Added bonus: the cost of living is low and flights are relatively inexpensive!

 

Cape Town, South Africa

 

Beautiful, Amazing, Stunning, Mountain, Night Views

 

Just like Costa Rica, in Cape Town you’ll experience a rugged landscape full of mountains and oceans as well as an urban oasis that’s both friendly and relatively safe to travelers. It’s an international hub which means you’ll get the opportunity to work and study next to students and professors from all over the world.

 

Sydney, Australia

 

Sydney, Australia, Panorama, Night, Evening, City

 

For those intimidated by learning another language or living in a country where English isn’t spoken widely, Australia is a perfect place. There’s so much focus on wildlife, indigenous culture, and marine studies that you’ll have a million of options to fit your major.

 

Tokyo, Japan

 

Boat, Cherry Blossom, Park, River, Spring, Tokyo

 

If your ideal place is an urban landscape, there is no better place to go than Tokyo. Ideal for business majors and those wanting to learn a valuable new language in a growing global economy, you’ll feel right at home with the millions of people who call Tokyo home

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

Buenos Aires, Argentina, Obelisk, City, Capital, Street

 

With world-class music, art, fashion, and history, Buenos Aires is inspiring travelers and visitors from around the world. Because much of the city is influenced by Italian language and culture, you’ll feel very European without leaving the Western Hemisphere. And who doesn’t want to learn a little tango while dining on farm fresh steak?

 

Shanghai, China

 

Shanghai, Skyline, Architecture, Skyscrapers

 

Shanghai, the most populous city in the world, will completely change what your definition of “foreign.” From its street markets to its late-night scene, Shanghai boasts a culture completely its own. You’ll walk away with an understanding of the Eastern world and, hopefully, the use of Mandarin language which looks killer on many resumes these days.