How My Sister Is Working, Attending College & Traveling

Hello! Here is a post from my wonderful sister who blogs over at FITnancials. She is getting ready to leave for the summer for a volunteer trip in Peru. I’m a proud sister! Also, don’t forget to enter the $100 cash giveaway at the end! Hello everyone! My name is Alexis and I’m the blogger…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 27, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

Hello! Here is a post from my wonderful sister who blogs over at FITnancials. She is getting ready to leave for the summer for a volunteer trip in Peru. I’m a proud sister! Also, don’t forget to enter the $100 cash giveaway at the end!

Hello everyone! My name is Alexis and I’m the blogger behind I am also Michelle’s younger sister!

She inspired me to create my own blog since I’m so incredibly passionate about fitness and saving money. I not only talk about fitness and budgeting, I also talk about traveling and how I plan on earning a living while seeing more of the world.

As you may know, our dad passed away due to lung cancer a few years ago (it will be 7 years on Saturday). My dad was just over 50 years old, but he spent his entire life traveling the world. He is a big reason for why I love traveling so much.

His wanderlust transferred over to me and I know he would be so proud to see all of the traveling I’m doing. I can’t wait to pass on this travel bug of mine onto my children as well.

I have traveled more than ever in the past several months, and with that I have also received many questions about how I’m doing this. I want to say that it is possible for anyone to do what I’m doing, if you truly want it. It might take a little hard work, but it’s mainly about good planning and time management.

Below are some of the questions I often hear. Hopefully this will help you be able to travel more as well.


How can you travel while staying in school?

I recently moved to Chicago to go to a university here, but I have since realized that it is not for me. I am transferring to a different university now that has an online option so that I can travel more. While this may not work for everyone and for every major, it does for mine (yes, it is properly accredited) so I am going with it!

This allows me to travel the world while finishing my degree. Yes, school is important but I am able to do both this way.

If you really want to travel now but you are working towards a degree, I highly recommend using any school breaks or even searching for a more flexible course schedule. Of course, still make sure that everything is properly accredited so that your degree is worthwhile.


How do you travel on a college budget? 

There are SO many ways to travel with a low budget.

Aside from all of the normal ways you hear of people saving money when traveling (using credit card rewards, Airbnb, etc.), I’m a participator of and that really helps me save a lot of money.

If you haven’t heard of Couchsurfing, I talk about Couchsurfing plenty on my own blog. It’s basically staying on someone’s couch for free, but you get SUCH a better experience from it than staying at a hotel. I’ve met amazing people from couch surfing.

If you haven’t yet, definitely check out

Would you ever couch surf?


How do you plan on earning a living?

Right now to save and earn money, I am a Behavioral Therapist for children with Autism. I’ve been working in this area or something similar to it since I was 16. This has allowed me to save money to fund my frugal travels.

I also recently obtained my TEFL, which allows me to teach English in a foreign country. This is something that I have been thinking about doing full-time more and more.

Depending on where you go, you can make a decent amount of money and save a lot of it. This job also allows you to travel the world and immerse yourself into an entirely different culture.

If you don’t feel like being a teacher though, there are other opportunities. You can go through organizations like Workaway or WWOOF and do a wide variety of jobs. These jobs can range from working at a hotel to working on an organic farm.

Traveling and earning a living has never been easier than it is now!


Why do I want to volunteer? Why do I want to spend the rest of my life traveling?

First off, I want to do my best to make even the slightest change in the world. A part of me wishes I could help every person in the world and create a strong foundation for all children to strive on.

I know that isn’t possible, so I would at least like to try my best to do what I can. I also love traveling, so it makes sense to travel to different countries that are in need of assistance.

Traveling by myself has allowed me to become the best version of myself. I get lost in a city, but while finding where my destination is, I’m also finding myself. I believe traveling by yourself is something everyone should partake in, at least once.

If you are a new reader and haven’t been following my blog, I am about to depart for a summer long stay in Peru. I will be in Cusco volunteering at a special needs orphanage. I’ll be volunteering in an orphanage that has about 50 kids to only 2-3 teachers/helpers. It’s an area that is definitely in need of help.

Also, I am a finalist for IVHQ’s scholarship to teach English abroad in a foreign country that really needs it. So this means in addition to going to Cusco, I could possibly be chosen to volunteer abroad in a different area.

If chosen, I will be given 2 weeks to spend at a school that really needs assistance. I’d be so eternally grateful to be given a chance to make even the slightest impact on these children’s lives.

So if you can please vote for me, it only takes 5 seconds! Steps:

  1. Click here to vote.
  2. Enter your email.
  3. Confirm your vote in a link sent to you.


You can vote 1 time per email. After 7 days you can vote again, which would really help me out a lot!

Thank you for reading.

How do you travel for cheap? Have you ever participated in TEFL, a volunteer program, or an organization like Workaway?



Today, I’ve decided to host a $100 cash giveaway to go along with my sister’s post. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Woohoo! Voted.

    We’ve couchsurfed, airbnbed, volunteered through a specific English programme, and also done HelpX (like workaway).

    1. Thank you so much!

  2. Holly Thomas

    voted, Good Luck!

    1. Thank you tons!

  3. Lisa Brown

    thank you for the chance to win 🙂

  4. Nikoletta D.

    I voted for you. I think it’s amazing that you are helping people while also traveling to their countries. I wish I can get out of my comfort zone in the future and volunteer to help people too.

    1. You can do it. Believe in yourself. I once thought the same way as well, I was too scared.

  5. Dianne

    Voted! Best of luck to you!! It appears you are well on your way to a wonderful life of helping others and leading by example 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Dianne. I am very excited for what’s to come.

  6. Amy @ DebtGal

    I admire your commitment, as well as your self-reliance in traveling alone. Have a wonderful trip!

  7. I’m trying to get my little brother to do a program like workaway or wwoof. I honestly think everyone should spend some time traveling and working abroad as part of their education. It’s one of the most illuminating and fulfilling experiences I’ve ever had.

    1. I believe so too. I think it’s very important for personal development.

  8. Just voted! Good luck!

    I did my Masters program online through my local University. I think online schools make sense for some people. It definitely gives you the flexibility as long as you have good time management skills. I certainly found myself at times doing assignments at the last minute.

    I haven’t couchsurfed yet, but am planning on it in Europe this May/June when I go. I’ve met people through it though and it’s awesome! If you’re interested in teaching English abroad look into the EPIK program in South Korea. You can make a good chunk of change working a year and then traveling. That’s my plan for next year. I’ll definitely be following along on your journey! 🙂

    1. Thanks for the advice. I am definitely looking into South Korea, but I believe you have to have a bachelors degree for that and I am still working on mine. I also plan on getting my masters online. =)

  9. Meredith

    Traveling during college was one of the best decisions I ever made. 🙂 Good luck with the scholarship!

    1. Thank you Meredith. I’m very excited.

  10. It really is amazing to do all three, wow!! I give her props for sure! I also voted I really hope your sister wins!

    1. Thank you Dana.

  11. Stephanie H.

    It’s amazing that your sister is able to do all three at the same time. I wish I had some of her ambition. Good luck traveling abroad!

    1. Thank you Stephanie!

  12. Carly

    Amazing! I like that you are so honest on your blog! You’ve accomplished so much at such a young age!

    1. Thank you so much!

  13. Erin

    My vote is in! Good luck!

    1. Thank you Erin!

  14. Raki

    Am glad you are following up on your dreams of traveling; in later years, you often do not get a chance to fulfill them.

  15. One of the most life transforming things that I have done is travel. I am so excited for you and I can’t wait to see your pictures and to read your posts about your trip.

    1. Thank you Michelle. I’m very excited. =)

  16. Haley C

    Best of luck to you!

    1. Thank you Haley!

  17. Kayla

    I’ve always wanted to volunteer with IVHQ. Hopefully I can make it happen someday 🙂 Good luck to you!

  18. crystal

    I voted I hope you win!

  19. I totally feel the same way!

  20. Thank you Angie, means a lot!

  21. amy pugmire

    Thanks for the chance. I voted!

  22. Sarah Cool

    I voted! My fingers are crossed for her!

  23. Tricia Hope

    What a full life!

  24. I voted. Good luck!

  25. nicole dziedzic

    Awesome! I Voted! Glad to help out in this! Very fun!

  26. Ashley

    Im curious, Ive found that online schooling is more expensive than going to school locally. I dont want to rack up any more debt than my already ridiculous student loans from my bachelors degree but I am very interested in getting my MBA. Have you found programs that are less expensive that are online?

  27. Marilou Scott

    Done! All the very best and enjoy your journeys xx

  28. Barire

    This sounds like an amazing opportunity for you this summer and I hope you have a great experience!

  29. Natalie

    I voted for you and wish you the best of luck.

  30. I voted! Good Luck! 🙂

  31. Kasia

    Just voted! All the best with it! Sounds like a great opportunity to see the world and do some good.

    I think it’s great that you’re going to be combining study and travel. It can be a challenge but it’s totally doable. I studied while being a TEFL for a couple of years in Europe. I really enjoyed teaching English and had the opportunity to meet lots of different people.

    Hope you win!

  32. Alexis – I love what you’re doing and what you’re all about. Good luck in your ventures, and I hope my vote counts! 🙂

  33. Shannon B.

    I voted! One of the ways I travel cheap is by sharing a room with a friend or family member. I just recently started staying in hostels and find it fun (and cheap!). Also sign up for airline e-mails. I just went to Hawaii because of a e-mail promoting cheap travel for Feb. It helps to go places off-season.

  34. Jacqueline Diaz

    Good luck with the contest. Teaching aboard would be a wonderful experience for you.

  35. ashley

    I don’t have much money for traveling right now. I’ve wondered about couch surfing but I wonder if it would be dangerous for a girl traveling alone.

  36. Arra

    voted 🙂 good luck to her

  37. Judy Thomas

    Good Luck with the vote. Thank you

  38. Karla Sceviour

    Thanks for the chance,,good luck!

  39. Amy Heffernan

    Voted for you sister!! Thanks and GL!

  40. Lisa Brown

    thank you for the chance

  41. veronica lee

    Voted! I wish her the best of luck.

  42. Lane Phillips

    Good luck! Best wishes! I hope you win.

  43. Janet W.

    I’ve never done anything like and am not a very well traveled person. Best wishes to your sister!

  44. rhonda miotke

    voted and entered, thanks for the chance for CASH!

  45. Lyndsey

    Love your blog! Thanks for an awesome giveaway!

  46. christine burd

    I voted for you , Alexis . I think the ideas in this post were very helpful for young people trying to juggle school, jobs and travel.

  47. Colleen Boudreau

    Thank you! 🙂 I already voted the other day for her, I will vote again in 5 days when it lets me.

  48. shaunie

    Voted for her, hope this helps.

  49. I voted. Good luck to you. Thanks for this commentary.

  50. Amy Jarratt

    Best of Luck. Voted.

  51. Kimberly

    I voted for you.I hope you win!

  52. Judy Thomas

    What an awesome prize, thanks for the chance 🙂

  53. Addie F.

    Oh gosh, your sister is doing something amazing. I’m working and attending school currently, but I’d LOVE to add traveling to it. I’m 23 and I’m thinking about getting a TEFL certification. For her to have done all this by 21 is really incredible! I voted!

  54. nicole dziedzic

    Congrats on being a finalist for IVHQ’s scholarship to teach English abroad! Sounds awesome!

  55. maria

    Have fun on your travels! Thanks for the chance!

  56. Barire

    As a family, we travel cheap by bringing snacks and food in a cooler.

  57. Denise A.

    Interesting way to travel… I never would have thought of this!

  58. Rita Corey

    I voted. Good luck, hope you win!

  59. Your sister is being an OT to work with children with Autism? That’s amazing! I’m an Autism teacher myself and give serious kudos to your sister and wish her the best!

    1. Sorry, *becoming an OT (autocorrect)

  60. Michelle L

    wow Michelle, besides sharing the same name, I also lost my dad, in his early fifties from cancer… condolences…

    1. Michelle L

      Sorry Alexis, I am more familiar to Michelle:) Been following this blog for awhile.

  61. Catherine Shaw

    I wish I’d done more travel “back in the day.” Hooray for your sister!

  62. just to let you know that the bloglovin link in thwewidget just takes you the bloglovin homepage, not your profile. I had to click on the bloglovin button in your sidebar

    1. Thank you so much. I had no idea so I will fix that now.

  63. Wanda McHenry

    Voted! Good Luck!!

  64. Shannon

    I voted, good luck!

  65. connie danielson

    I voted. Good luck! Thanks for this awesome chance to win! connie danielson

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