Tag Archives: vacation

Making the Most of Student Jobs

Filed under: College Life, Money/Budget, Seasonal Celebrations - Angelina
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Being a college student means wracking up a pretty big education bill. With the costs of tuition, housing, food, and school books – students usually find that they cannot break out of the “broke college student” stereotype. For some college students the amount of time outside of class required for a major can make having a job during the school year impossible. School break is a great time for this because students can work 40-hour weeks at internships or minimum wage jobs.

I know that I have spent time between jobs and internships during college breaks to gain experience and extra cash. Below are some of the best types of jobs I’ve held as a college student that I would recommend for other college students looking for ways to get extra cash.


Although any customer service job is good, being a server means raking in tips that you may miss as a busser or host. Serving is a hard job but it is well worth it if you can handle staying polite with even the rudest customers. If you live in a popular vacation town or talk to a potential employer then it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a seasonal serving job in a restaurant.


If you can handle children and possibly over-protective parents then being a nanny is a great way to earn some money over the break. Working as a nanny means that you can sometimes choose your own hours and almost always set your own price per hour or child. If you want a position outside of your hometown, a lot of websites offer nanny programs in other countries or states that will provide a place to live as well.


If you are having trouble finding a job or a company that is willing to hire someone for a seasonal position, you can always find odd jobs in the town instead of a normal minimum wage job. Mowing lawns, walking dogs, raking leaves, and painting houses are all jobs that will give you a paycheck and allow you to be outdoors!

It takes a little time to research for potential job opportunities but with enough digging, I have always been able to find something. If you are returning home from college, then plan ahead and try to go home for a weekend to scout out potential employers. Even to just get your name out there a month or two in advance could secure a good seasonal summer job.


Happy Hunting!

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4 Tips for Summer Travel on the Cheap

Filed under: Travel & Abroad - Social Community Manager
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photo of girlBy guest blogger Sophie Howe

Sophie is a freshman at Des Moines Area Community College, currently majoring in Liberal Arts, and then transferring to a four year school to get a degree in Environmental Studies. Guerilla environmentalist, blogger and avid reader. In her free time she enjoys working out, finding ways to put a healthy twist on foods she loves, and going on adventures. She hopes to travel the world and experience as many cultures and traditions as possible.

After a long year of school, who doesn’t want a bit of a vacation? Of course everyone loves to travel, but between summer jobs that pay minimum wage and paying off student loans, most of us students don’t really have the money to take a trip. I’ve combined four of my most pocket-friendly vacation tips that will give you the trip you want, without breaking into your “for college” reserves.

1. Visit family and friends

Families are a lot more spread out than they used to be. Use this to your advantage, and enjoy it too. Most of the time, family and close friends are happy to accommodate guests (and they generally feed you a few meals too!). Now, I’m not saying you should overstay your welcome or run them dry, but in my experience they love having the chance to spend some time with you. You’re in college, you’ve changed, and more likely than not, family members and friends don’t all live near you. Visiting them can be fun because you get to meet their friends, explore their town, and meet extended family you’ve heard so much about during the school year.

2. Group trips

It’s true: the more the merrier. Pooling money for food, gas, and lodging is another great way to go on vacation while saving some money. You can road trip, rent a cabin at a lake, or even just go to a nearby city and explore it for a few days. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll end up making some great memories with friends. Websites like Student Universe and Airbnb make group (and student) travel much more affordable.

3. Camping

I was always that outdoorsy kid that was getting in the dirt, and finding some sort of trouble to get into. When I was growing up, my family would have campfires, make s’mores, and go hiking. Who says that you can’t do it now when you’re all grown up? Getting a group of friends, a fairly large tent and reserving a campsite is tons cheaper than renting a hotel, and you get to experience the great outdoors!

4. Staycation

Last, but definitely not least, is a staycation. Honestly, as well as you may know your hometown, things are constantly changing! You never know what great things you will find when you pick a weekend, set a budget, and just have some fun. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit touristy in your own town sometimes. A staycation could be as simple as trying some type of food you’ve never heard of, or going on a relaxing walk to take in the sights from a different perspective. And if done right, it is just as much fun as going on a traditional vacation.

Now I know this isn’t the Ritz, and it may not be that destination vacation you’ve always dreamed of, but they’re definitely getaways worth pursuing.

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Our Summer Snap-off Winner: Natalie Pena!

Filed under: Contests and Promotions - BookRenter Team
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Congratulations to Natalie Pena, the winner of our Summer Snap-off! From the University of Texas at San Antonio, Natalie rallied her friends to win over 500 votes in two weeks. She will be rewarded with a $1,000 gift card to make the most of the end of her summer vacation.

Check out her beautiful photos below, and congratulations again, Natalie! Thank you to everyone who participated in the Snap-off.

Fishing as the sun sets

Sitting pretty and ready for a picnic

The end of another short summer day

We wish we had her summer vacation.

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We Woke In a Bedouin Tent as the Sun Rose Over the Dead Sea…

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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My own life-changing trip – and some journeys that might turn out to be yours.

By Guest Blogger Rachel Freeman I SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY Undergrad degree – cum laude – in communications. Currently pursuing a master’s in broadcast and electronic communication arts. Not-so-secret passion: Baseball (go, San Francisco Giants!).

So I just got back from the trip of a lifetime – a free 10-day trip organized by Birthright Israel for Jewish students and young adults between the ages of 18–26. It was a life-changing experience, and one of the greatest aspects of the trip was participating with 44 complete strangers.

We met with musicians and other important Israelis. We went wine tasting. We floated down the Jordan River, visited the holy sites of Jerusalem, and rode camels (you know I wouldn’t skip the camels). We slept in a Bedouin tent, waking at 3 a.m. to hike Masada — the ancient desert fortress that today is one of the Jewish people’s greatest symbols – to watch the sun rise over the Dead Sea. And these were just the highlights of my experience in Israel.

The trip got me thinking: What other summer travel opportunities are out there for people my age? For Birthright Israel, being Jewish is a requirement. But I knew there must be other awesome trips that were open to anyone.

Here are some trip organizers whose offerings sound like an epic way to spend summer break or gap year abroad:

1. EF College Break has trips of different lengths to many different parts of the world. You can sign on for a 7–10 day journey or travel for 35 days. The company offers a menu of great destinations like Australia, Turkey, Africa, and Spain, with well-planned itineraries that have plenty of free time built in so that you can explore the local scene on your own. Trip prices include airfare.

2. Projects Abroad provides internship and volunteer opportunities for university students, recent grads, and anyone else who is interested. Whether you’re planning a summer break or taking a gap year to explore the world, the organization offers you the chance to be part of a wide range of international service projects in fields as diverse as law & humans rights, performing arts, archaeology, and journalism. Great in-country support from an international staff.

3. Ever wanted to visit the Incas? Or explore Vietnam? Gap Adventures, another student travel organization, has these trips and others. The company’s slogan is We Love Changing People’s Lives, and they do. With these folks you can tour the catacombs of Paris, ride a yak in Sikkim, or – right here at home – mountain bike the Grand Staircase of Bryce Canyon. If festivals are your thing, Gap Adventures can get you there: Think Germany and Oktoberfest, Rio for Carnival, and the Zanzibar International Music Festival.

4. The last place I checked out is Contiki, an outfit that will take you to six of the seven continents (who wants to go to the Arctic anyway; it’s cold!). Contiki offers trips every month of the year. Trip lengths range from 4–45 days, so even if you work or go to school full-time, there’s a trip for you. The company says its mission is to “create hassle-free vacations with an unbeatable mix of sightseeing, culture, people your own age, and free time” – not a bad combo.

Through a trip organizers or on your own, where would you go if you could pick anywhere in the world?

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Fall Break is Broken

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team
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Guest Written by BookRenter Andy

So this week we polled some peeps on the Book to find out where they were going for fall break. We did get some nice responses, but not ones we expected. Turns out not many people have fall break (I did, suckas):

I’m heading to bed for my break. I need sleep! – Zuagy

(Ed. Sleep on Zuagy, Sleep on!)
Some were amused that we even suggested such a ridiculous notion:

Hahahaha… What break!? – Jennifer

Who gets a fall break? Where do I apply for one? – Paulette

Some were confused and thought we asked about the Instant Win game:

It wont let me play keeps loading – Shelby

Some of the responders wouldn’t even want a fall break (my personal favorite):

Fall break is the dumbest thing I ever heard of. Ohio State don’t do that!


Well, perhaps Fall Break is the dumbest thing ever. But I doubt the students in France would think so (Students Adopt Pension Movement as Their Own). These guys decided to take their own fall break because The Man was trying to make them retire later! Sidenote: Not sure who convinced these crazy kids that proposing to extend France’s retirement age by two years is worthy of blockading the schools, but I’d like to meet them. We could use their powers of persuasion over here! So while your French counterparts are dancing around the Arc de Triumph, chanting “liberte, liberte, libert”, or whatever they’re chanting over there, you’ll probably be studying in the library. Well, we’re here to tell you that you’re hard work will pay off. How do you think ‘Merica got to be #1? It ain’t easy being on top!

Just in case you do have fall break (like me), here’s a few nice place to go.

1.      Half Moon Bay, California, to see the world’s largest pumpkins! 1810 pounds!  http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/etc/worlds-largest-pumpkin-2010-101021.html

2.      Pittsburgh, PA, to see the “Original Most Haunted House in America” (accuracy not guaranteed) http://pittsburgh.about.com/od/history/a/congelier_house.htm

3.      Go to wherever these kids live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIip6UKAJE4 to jump in their “Ginormous pile of leaves”

OK, go get you some break!

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