Does anyone else have May circled in red on their calendar and a countdown that leads to a day written over with “SUMMER”? Or maybe it says “freedom,” “party-time,” or “Mexico–here I come!” I think all students look ahead to that summer sunshine with hopes of napping, swimming and not having to use your brain. Sometimes we complicate the simplicity of summer and stress ourselves out instead of tanning with leisure. Don’t be that kid this summer. Here are some tips for how to prepare for summer, moving out, and student summer storage, and some ideas for making this summer the best one yet.
3 Ways Students Can Utilize Summer Storage
Let’s imagine that you live near your college campus and are going away for the summer. It could mean going home, study abroad, traveling the world, internship, etc. The point is you don’t want to pay rent for an apartment you won’t even be living in for 3 months, so you decide to move out. That leaves you with a bunch of stuff and a couple of options:
- You could take all of your stuff home with you (or have it shipped there). But the problem with this is that it could be pretty expensive to get it all there and a bit of a hassle to have to move it all back once summer is over.
- You could rent out a storage unit and keep all of your belongings there. This is a pretty decent option–that is, if you can find cheap storage that isn’t too far away. It will usually be about $60 a month.
- You could use Neighbor, the Airbnb of storage, and find a place nearby that is cheap and flexible to you. Neighbor will help match you with a host that has the amount of storage space you need, so you don’t have to pay for what you don’t use. And it’s flexible for whatever you are storing–a car, your skis, textbooks, etc. The best part, Neighbor is 50% cheaper than any student summer discount you can get at any storage company because they have partnered up with local apartment complexes to use their empty summer apartments for student summer storage space. Neighbor offers summer storage starting at $25/month with moving services starting at $35! They are the cheapest option around. (You can also be a Neighbor host and use your extra room to make a few bucks.)
We spend the rest of the year learning about calculus and astronomy and literature, and then sometimes think that summer is our time off. Well I would argue that summer is just as much of a learning experience as the rest of the year–if you do it right. What better way to learn about a certain culture than by traveling there? What better way to learn about the gastronomy of other countries than by eating their food? If you are unsure about traveling this summer and getting away, remember that learning about the world we live in by actually exploring it is just as useful as reading about it in a book. So go on an adventure. Here are some of my favorite adventure ideas:
- Alaska. Might not be your first vacation spot, but hear me out. I have a friend who loves to spend her summers in Alaskan rivers fishing for salmon. She comes home with a year’s supply of salmon and a collection of breathtaking photos of Alaskan nature. If you are a high-adventure kind of person, Alaska is the place for you. Spend your time hiking, soaking in hot springs, riding ferries, exploring glaciers, and more. There are Alaskan cruises and tours offered throughout the year, but the summer is just beautiful (and not very cold). Check out Alaska for a unique vacation that might end up being your new favorite place.
- Houseboat. Ready to take a break from the noisy world? Take that break out on a boat in the middle of a lake, and just hang out there for a week. With a ski boat, jet skis, paddle boards, etc., you can whip around on the water and explore canyons and forests. Camp out at night beachside with a fire, or sleep on the top deck under the stars. A houseboat combines the perks of a hotel with the fun of camping, so you can please the whole family. Here are some of the best boathouse getaways.
- Cruises. A party ship, free buffets, and shore excursions to beautiful places around the world–it’s no wonder that cruises embody what is summer for some of us. A cruise can sometimes be the best way to hit up a lot of sites without having to worry about booking hotels or getting from one place to another. Like the Norwegian cruise line says about their European cruises: “Unpack once and wake up to a new city every day.” This site can help you find your perfect cruise.
- Islands. My dream vacation would be spent on an island with a private beach and plenty of coconuts. Islands are great for relaxing on the beach, beautiful hikes, fun cuisine, snorkeling and scuba diving, and cultural presentations. For example, if you are ever in Venice, make sure to visit the glass-making island of Murano. Walk the beautiful streets, look at all the little shops, and even watch as the natives mold their beautiful glass creations. Here are some of the best island adventures.
- Backpacking. If resorts seem a little pricey for your pocket, consider backpacking. International travel can be a lot cheaper than it seems if you plan ahead, find cheap airfare (I use this), and stick to the backpacking trails. Stay the night in hostels or dorms and eat street vendor food. What better way to immerse yourself in another culture! Check out this list of ideal backpacking vacations around the world.
If you want to enjoy your summer, but are stressed about your future education/career, think about a summer internship or study abroad. It’s a great way to do something new and exciting for your summer while still keeping on track with your plans.
Internships can be hard to fit in during the year, so the summer option might be best for you. If you still really want that summer experience, look for an internship abroad or with a company that interests you. Make the best of it. You’d be surprised at the numerous possibilities for traveling abroad for an internship. Many companies have branches all over the world, so be sure to investigate the possible intern sites. And the international experience looks pretty good on job applications. Internships are a smart, adult way to spend your summer. Here is a list of general in-country internships, and here is a list of the coolest summer internships. If you want to gain job experience, you might as well do it somewhere near a beach. Here are some general internship ideas:
- Co-op Internships. Cooperative Education internships allow you to receive school credit and job experience through your internship (usually major-related).
- Externships. These are short-term internships (1-3 weeks) where you can investigate a field by shadowing a professional. This really helps if you are deciding where you want to specialize.
- Apprenticeship. This is a paid internship in which you both learn and work. Your pay increases with your experience, and an apprenticeship can lead to a full-time job.
- Service Learning. This is a combination of volunteer service efforts with a learning outcome. It’s different than just normal service because there are required learning objectives and generally a self-reflection process.
Study abroad and keep the education going this summer. Especially if you are worried about safety or losing school time, a study abroad might be the perfect way to satisfy your travel dreams. Immerse yourself in another culture by not just being a tourist there but a student. You’ll be in a group with other students and get to explore cultural sites with experienced guides who will definitely know the best place to eat. And what is cooler than getting school credit for an extended vacation? If you are worried about money, many times you can receive a scholarship to be able to travel on a study abroad that will cover your time there. It can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you are enrolled in school, check out the offered study abroad programs, especially those by your major. Or look for other summer study abroad opportunites here.
Summer Service Trips
Growing up, my mom was the kind that didn’t like endless TV watching or mindless entertainment, but sometimes that seemed to clash with my idea of an ideal summer. So I found the perfect compromise–summer service. Through the HEFY program, I spent a couple of weeks in Africa after high school graduation, building houses and teaching English. Oh, and hanging out with the natives every night at the beach, restaurants, etc. It was my dream, and my mom’s too, and since then it has been a source of valuable experience in applying for schools and jobs. There are hundreds of organizations around the world that look to make a difference. What better way to spend your summer? There are tons of types of service you could assist with: construction of homes, schools or bathrooms; teaching English or other practical skills; medical services; religious service; etc. Here are some sites to find the right service organization for you:
Summer Bucket List
I remember making my first bucket list the summer before my junior year of high school. It had fun ideas of filling a pool with glow sticks to night-swim, sunrise hiking, and buying ice cream from a real ice cream truck. Funny thing is, my list hasn’t changed too much since then. Summer is a time to embrace our inner child and just have some good fun. Here are some ideas off of my summer bucket lists and a couple of other examples so that you can make your own.
- Go to a drive-in movie theater
- Spend a day at the beach
- Go to an amusement park
- Drink out of a coconut with a little paper umbrella
- Go on a camping trip with your friends
- Attend an outdoor concert
- Find a small ice cream shop and sample all of the flavors
- Go cliff jumping
- Make a new meal every week
- Go night hiking
- Drive down to Mexico for the weekend
- Nap in a hammock poolside
- Go thrift-shopping for your summer outfits
- Stay in an Airbnb
- Grill hamburgers and hotdogs for a poolside barbecue
- Go neon golfing
- Do a waterfall hike
- Stay in bed all morning
- Read a new book
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Play in a waterpark
- Try out geocaching
- Road trip to your grandparents’ house and write down family memories
- Make new friends at a summer class
- Buy a polaroid camera and capture every moment
Check out The Ultimate Summer Bucket List for more ideas.
Make this summer yours. The future is bright (literally) with that sunny beach awaiting you or that dream internship in Paris. Be smart and plan ahead. Get your housing/storage affairs in order before the summer begins so you don’t waste a single precious second. The time is now to apply for internship and study abroad programs and/or service trips, and to start looking for cheap airfare so you can afford to travel. You really can enjoy your summer break even while working or studying, but it’s also okay if you take these few months off to just relax and recuperate. It’s healthy for our brains to take a break or switch educational gears with some hands-on experiential learning in the meantime. Enjoy the summer! Take lots of pictures, eat lots of ice cream, swim in lots of pools, and do lots more. Every summer can be your best one yet. Just remember to always apply sunscreen and don’t fall asleep for too long by the pool.