June 24, 2024

Studying while traveling can be a challenge even for the most disciplined of students. However, thousands of young adults travel while pursuing a degree, with mixed rates of success. You know the drill: take homework and research work along on a trip, with the best of intentions of getting a lot done. Next thing you know, the trip is almost over and you’ve logged exactly zero minutes of study time.

What’s the remedy? It’s some mixture of making a plan, not having out-sized goals, and facing the reality that the trick of studying-while-traveling is a tough act to pull off. But it can be done. Here are some tips to make your next trip more productive, study-wise.

Plan Ahead

Before heading out the door to your trip destination, ask yourself a few questions. How much studying do you really need to get done during the trip? Are there certain books or papers you need to take with you that you can’t access online? Are all your digital files in a place where you can access them in-flight or during a long train ride? Have you memorized important bits of information like LSAT test dates and medical school application deadlines?

The best way to make a travel-study plan is to map out each day of your trip and realistically determine how much time there will be for studying. After that, try to set specific times for sitting down and hitting the books. Put this study calendar into your favorite database or simply email it to yourself. That’s one way of being certain that you’ll always be able to view your study commitment for a particular day of the trip, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Use the “Less is More” Principle

Don’t try to do too much. It’s better to snag a few hours of high-quality study time during a short trip than to force yourself into a low-quality study rut. In other words, don’t over-commit when you make your study plan.

Follow the “No Long Sessions” Rule

One simple rule can be very powerful: “No long sessions.” Learn to study in 10- and 20-minute segments. It’s easier on your schedule and will help you avoid putting off a planned study session. “Hey, it’s just 10 minutes,” you can say to yourself before beginning.

Ask Someone to Keep You On Target

Having a study-buddy can make a big difference. Even if the person is not along on your travels, they can call, text or email you just to say, “Have you done your studying today?” Knowing that there’s a third-party out there who will be checking in on you from time to time is an effective way to adhere to a plan.

Whether your trip lasts for three months or three days, you can get some valuable study time in if you are smart about planning. Having a “helper” who knows you well is another key ingredient. The next time you schedule a trip during your college or grad-school years, take the time to sit down and write out a detailed study schedule. The LSAT test dates or med-school application deadline might be around the corner, but you’ll be ready for them if you follow a study plan.