The Daily Evergreen

Wanderlust should not just be for wealthy

The cost of traveling is too heavily tied to class, should be attainable

TEVA MAYER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

TEVA MAYER | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

ALAINA BEAULAURIER, Evergreen columnist

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Travel has become the new display of wealth for our young generation. We’re skipping the cars, houses and white picket fences for something less material. Travel has become part of one’s social status, which can occasionally lead to shaming those who do not take it upon themselves to get out and see the world.

Rachel Bigler, a digital technology and culture student, spent her spring break in Pullman. Bigler simply did not have the ability to travel, regardless of whether she wanted to.

“Even if you do save money, you have to use it for paying for school or groceries or rent,” Bigler said. “So you don’t really have extra money.”

A classmate of mine was reading an article, which explained that by resisting the purchase of a latte every day, she would be able to afford a trip to Europe within the year. The thing is, not everyone is buying lattes every day. They’re paying their rent instead.

Social media perpetuates this cultural idea that travel is effortless. Because traveling doesn’t involve a material item — like an expensive car — it doesn’t always have the symbolism of upper class attached to it.

Instagram pictures of exotic locations have captions like “The world is a book, and those who have not traveled have only read one page.” Trends like #wanderlust make it seem like people who do not travel simply don’t have a desire for it. The problem is, not everyone has the opportunity to “wander.”

“I think terms like that tell you to just forget about all the expenses,” Bigler said, “but logically I don’t think it’s in my cards to do that.”

You can travel cheaply by staying in hostels, but plane tickets alone are a damaging cost to many who are just scraping by. Because staying in hostels and backpacking can be cheap, many overlook the combined cost of the whole trip.

Plane ticket prices jump during college breaks. It’s ridiculous to overcharge the members of the most indebted community in the country want to travel outside their college towns.

Aryn Allen, a junior human development student, also spent her spring break in Pullman. She explained that there are other considerations to make when choosing not to travel, aside from paying rent.

“It’s beautiful to travel, but you also have to think logistically,” Allen said. “What happens if I lose my luggage or my wallet gets stolen? I don’t have the luxury to call my parents and say, ‘Hey, I’m stuck somewhere.’ ”

Study abroad programs offer an opportunity for college students to travel outside of the typical spring break trip, but these programs can be extremely expensive.

Bigler said she wants to study abroad in spring 2019. She has already started saving for this expensive education opportunity. Tucking money away for more than a year, Bigler knows the strenuous fiscal hardship that travel can bring.

According to WSU’s study abroad website, students cannot forward their financial aid to their study abroad program. Some programs even require you to pay tuition at WSU and the international school that you attend. No matter which program you choose, you will always have to pay some WSU fees.

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Wanderlust should not just be for wealthy