What’s a Travel Grant, and How Do I Get One?

The ability to travel opens your eyes to worlds apart from your own. While this type of experience is invaluable, it does cost money — sometimes, a lot of money.

That’s where a travel grant comes in. This type of allowance provides the funds you need to get yourself around the world and back again.

What Is a Travel Grant?

In general, federal or state governments — as well as educational institutions — can provide you with a grant. As far as travel goes, though, they’re most often awarded by the latter.

Students who propose to travel to a far-flung destination should come to the awarding officer with a detailed proposal as to why this trip is essential. In most cases, they’ll have to show the type of research they’ll be able to conduct while they’re out of the country. If the university or organization providing the grant sees the value in the trip — say, it’s for research instead of relaxation — they will likely give a plan the go-ahead.

There’s a slight difference between travel grants and scholarships. To obtain the latter, one typically has to show proof of academic excellence or another exceptional talent. The money awarded often goes toward tuition fees incurred while studying abroad, which might make it harder to obtain a scholarship for research pursuits or cultural immersion.

How Do I Get One?

It may seem as though graduate and Ph.D. students are the only ones who can pursue travel grants that fund research, but that’s not always the case. In fact, there are a few organizations outside educational ones that will provide grants for travel — check with UNESCO and the UN, as well as the SPRET educational trust, which tends to choose students based in designated areas.

All these groups will fund trips aimed at personal or cultural development, not just educational growth. There might be other options, too — be sure to do your research for the best fit.

Every application for a grant will be different. In most cases, you’ll have to come up with some sort of proposal that outlines what you plan to do on your trip, as well as what you think you’ll gain. Do some research into the background of the organization you’re applying to, then cater your aims to mirror their mission and goals.

Some organizations will require an in-person interview or presentation of your proposal. From there, it’s just a waiting game to see whether you get the grant.

What Are My Other Options?

The grant isn’t the be all, end all of travel funding. In fact, there are multiple ways to see the world without breaking the bank, and some may fit your bill better than an educational or research grant.

For example, many people travel abroad to teach English as a second language. Countries like Spain and South Korea have programs that only require you to be a native speaker. You can then live, work and get paid abroad, which gives you an immersive cultural experience and the chance to travel with a sizable income.

Some charities allow you to volunteer abroad, while you can also take on odd jobs such as farming to see other pockets of the globe for free. In many cases, you’ll have to fund your flight, but your host will take care of the room and board, saving you big overall.

No matter how you make it happen, one thing is for sure: travel is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. If you want to learn more about the world — and yourself — a travel grant might be the way to do it.


About the Author:

Kayla Matthews is a productivity and life-improvement writer who loves working remotely from her Pittsburgh, PA home. To read more posts by Kayla, subscribe to her blog, ProductivityTheory.com.

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