The College Series: Student Travel on a Budget
“The only adventure you regret is the one you didn’t take.”
Whether you’re travelling during spring break, studying abroad, or treating yourself after graduation, travelling is a worthwhile thing to do as a young adult. Not only is it important to expose yourself to new places, people, and experiences, but the cultural exchange that occurs is invaluable and helps you become more understanding of the world around you.
Know When to Book
Know when the prime time is to book a flight for your desired location and time of year. If you don’t mind waiting a bit, don’t book too early. But don’t book too late either, you want flexibility when it comes to choosing your flight options and prices. Be wary of holidays as they often sell out quick or prices rise astronomically and be wary of flying out on certain days of the week as they tend to be more expensive. Explore your options and be flexible. Additionally, know when you actually buy your tickets during the week. I prefer buying on weekdays.
There’s nothing wrong with eating in while you’re on vacation or abroad. Going out every day, for every meal can and will rack up. Go to a grocery store or market and find out what locals are eating. It’s going to cost you a fraction of the cost. You can also pack up your food and dine where you want -- the park, a plaza, etc. If you’re traveling abroad, check local laws as the dining habits may vary! There are many places in Italy that may allow alcohol consumption in public piazzas. In contrast, eating and drinking while on-the-go or in the streets is considered very rude in Japan.
Hotels, Airbnbs, Hostels
There are many options for accommodations, but not all are equal. Use different comparison sites to see how different hotels and accommodations match up. Airbnb and hostel options are also money-saving options. If you can also book a place with at least a small kitchenette, you can also take advantage of it! Use my link to receive $40 travel credit from Airbnb!
Travel with a Friend (or two, or three!)
Consider travelling with friends to lessen the costs of things. Split the costs. However, be sure you travel with people you know you can handle being with for an extended period of time. Good company = good times.
Use Public Transportation
Not all places have Uber or Lyft (or other rideshare programs) so look into other modes of transportation. You don’t want to have to take a taxi everywhere. Some cities are very well equipped with efficient public transportation systems, whether it be a bus, subway, train, and light rail or even a bike share system. It might take some proper planning, but you can save a lot of money using public transportation over taxis and Ubers. Also, consider how often you’ll be travelling on said transportation method and buy your ticket passes accordingly. Should you buy a daily or 10-ride pass?
Otherwise, if you haven’t jumped on the rideshare wagon, use “elaineg1092ue” to sign up for Uber or click on this link for Lyft.
Maybe you’ve been low-key accumulating points and haven’t reaped the benefits of your travel rewards yet. If you happen to fly specific airlines a lot, you can gain frequent flyer miles for different airlines (and alliances). I recently got my boyfriend to sign up for frequent flyer miles for our trip to Seattle. It’s a start! You can also be gifted miles, which may help you if you’re falling short of a reward trip.
Trains, Planes, Cars, Oh My!
If you’re travelling in the US and don’t mind a long bus ride, look into studentuniverse.com or wanderu.com for cheap bus tickets to cities. Also, traveling from different countries within a continent is a lot cheaper than the initial flight to another country. It’s also worth a shot looking at trains, as many other countries have more developed rail systems. Don’t forget that being a student and having that student ID can work wonders for discounts. In many parts of the world, outside of the US, a lot of transportation costs are subsidized for students do don’t forget to ask if you can get a discount with your ID. A few dollars save can add up for another adventure.
Hopefully you can keep these things in mind the next time you book a trip!
Traveling the world shouldn’t just look good on your Instagram feed, but your bank account too.