Here's Exactly How To Travel in College Without Breaking the Bank

Here's Exactly How To Travel in College Without Breaking the Bank

As a college student who loves to explore new places I have tons of experience when it comes to travel budgeting. Over the past several years I have been lucky enough to travel to places such as South Africa, New York City, France, California, Ireland, and Belgium. All the traveling that I have done in my early twenties has led to some of the best and most challenging moments of my life. Put quite simply, traveling has made me a better person. It has deepened my understanding of the world, exposing me to new languages, lifestyles, and cultures. It has humbled me in so many ways, and made me realize just how much there is to learn outside the college classroom, as well as how much I crave these kinds of experiences as a young adult. Traveling in your twenties is fantastic — and I would argue essential — but financing a trip on a college budget is intimidating.

That said, traveling in your college years is not impossible. You really can see the Eiffel Tower or Coliseum without breaking the bank! There’s ways to cut corners and save money without skimping on truly experiencing all your destination has to offer. Lucky for you, I’ve got all the travel budgeting tips a college student ever could need so keep reading!

01. Book tickets far in advance

Spontaneous last minute trips might sound fun, but they are almost always more expensive than planned trips. Booking airline tickets in advance is essential if you want to find good deals on flights and save money. I highly recommend using sites like Google Flights, Kayak, and Sky Scanner to track prices for the dates you are interested in traveling. And, pro tip, never book your flights on the weekend because prices are always listed higher. The best days of the week to buy airline tickets are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. These are also cheaper days to travel, too! 

02. Pack light 

Save yourself the time and effort of lugging all your unnecessary items around with you on vacation and pack light. I recommend only taking one carry-on suitcase and one personal item or backpack. Now I know that this may sound really hard to do, but not only will you save money from not checking a bag, you will also be more mobile while traveling. And, when you are traveling to tropical destinations, packing light can be very easy! I went to Europe for two months over the summer with just one suitcase and a backpack — It worked out just fine!

03. Stay with family, friends, or in a hostel 

Traveling is all about discovering a new culture, trying new things, and getting outside of your comfort zone. In my opinion, where you stay shouldn’t be the top priority of your trip. After all, why would anyone travel to Paris just to sit in their hotel room all day? Staying with family or friends is a great way to save lots of money. However, if you don’t know anyone in your country of destination, I highly recommend looking into staying in a hostel. I have had great experiences in all the hostels I have stayed at during my travels. It’s a great way to meet other young people who are traveling, too. However, it is important to do your research beforehand. Sites like Hostel World and Hostel Geeks are two great websites which rate hostels all over the world. 

04. Brunch and dinner 

Food can be really expensive while traveling on a budget. Going out to eat every night adds up rather quickly. So, take advantage of any complimentary breakfast if it is induced in your stay, and carry snacks around with you during the day. I always have a granola bar or piece of fruit in my bag. For meals, my general rule is that I usually eat two larger meals rather than three; brunch and dinner. I have my coffee in the morning and then I eat brunch around 12:00 and dinner at 7:00. Don’t forget to drink lots of water!

05. Lookout for student discounts

There are often great student discounts for many experiences while traveling abroad like museums, walking tours, bar crawls, and even travel. Wherever you go, make sure to ask about discounts and always have your student ID on you at all times. You never know when it might come in handy.

06. Use public transportation

Heading from place to place in rental cars, taxis, and Ubers adds up quick. I always try to walk or take public transportation when I can. Especially if you are traveling with a group of friends, it can be a great way to get around a city all together. Lookout for student discounts and deals on weeklong or month long tickets depending on how long you will be traveling. In Europe, trains are a great way to travel between cities and also see the countryside. These trips are the perfect time to relax and look out the window! 

07. Arrive earlier at bars and clubs

For anyone who is 21 and up, going out to bars and clubs can be a great way to experience a new city and meet new people. However, before you go out make sure that you do your research. Many places start charging for admission after certain hours. When I was in Dublin, I didn’t know this so I paid way too much to go to several different bars. Get there early enough so you can get in for free!

08. Utilize Airbnb experiences 

Airbnb experiences are a great way to get a local tour of whatever city you are visiting. These tours are cheap, laid back, super fun, and you will meet lots of other college students! I have done canoe trips, chocolate tours, and bar crawls through airbnb!

09.  Always pay in the local currency

When traveling abroad you will often be asked if you want to pay in US dollars or the local currency with your debit or credit card. Always pay in the local currency so that you are not paying extra! And, as an extra safety tip, never carry more than 30 dollars in cash in your wallet at a time. 

10. Don’t stress too much!

This may sound cheesy but it is never fun to be stressing about money when on vacation. So, plan ahead and give yourself some flexibility. That extra five dollars you spend on the ice cream cone is definitely worth all the joy it will bring you! 

I hope you found this list of ways to save money while traveling as a college student helpful! Don’t forget to tag @cfashionista in all your travel photos!  

Featured image courtesy of @_dezsmith