6 Tips For College Students Traveling On A Budget

by Elise Mansour
Shield Staff

Caroline Huey and her fellow travelers in front of the COLISEUM

Caroline Huey and her fellow travelers in front of the COLISEUM

As students, most of our time is spent in either the library or a classroom, where foreign adventures and exotic lands are merely a part of our daydreams. Like many other college students, I dream of exciting travels; however, the cost of doing such is a setback.

Luckily, a bountiful supply of tricks and tips on traveling for the young budgeter are available for the campus-bound daydreamers. Vacations don’t always have to break the bank; the trick is to spend your vacation dollars wisely with proper planning and smart travel.

1. Plan Wisely

Prior planning is essential for young travelers to have a stress-free and relaxed expedition. With transportation, food and room expenses, costs can escalate quickly. While spontaneity is exciting, the best thing to do is give yourself time in advance to save for a trip. By keeping a realistic timeline of how your travel savings will compile, you will more accurately be able to gage your target-spending zone and determine when you will be able to comfortably book your transportation and housing details.

2. Plan Early

More often than not, the farther in advance you book your travel arrangements, the more ranges in price you will find. Plane tickets alone tend to double in price if you wait until closer to the date of departure. Overseas flights can be on the pricier side; however, certain airlines offer student discounts. Kayak.com is a good website to visit when you are trying to look for inexpensive flights, and the website offers hotel and transportation options too.

3. Find Discounts

Look into student discounts to save some spending money.

Caroline Huey, a junior at Rochester College, says “Airbnb was a very helpful way to save money during my travels. This is a site through which people can rent out their homes to travelers for a period of time. While traveling in London, my friends and I rented a flat. We split the cost among ourselves, and it was a lot cheaper than renting a hotel or hostel….”

Also, take into consideration how you will eat. Perhaps a resort fee will cover all meals, or on the contrary, you might be dining out three meals a day in a tourist town. Considering the cost of living in the area in which you intend to stay is important for this reason.

4. Spend Wisely

Preparing for a trip may be stressful at times, which is why I find it best to start by making a to-do list. Start with what task is going to be the biggest expense. This will also help you when deciding how much money you want to put toward other expenses. Keep in mind, you are traveling for the experience more than the cute souvenirs; invest your travel money in your stay and buy only a few knick-knacks.

Caroline and friends walk abbey road in london

Caroline and friends walk abbey road in london

Stephanie Mansour, a junior at Oakland University studying journalism, says, “My trip to Nashville this summer went more than smoothly and stayed well within the confines of my budget. All it took was organization and proper planning. And taking time to find the right deals- that was important too! I customized my experience around what I knew was affordable, and it honestly was fantastic.”

5. Smart Travel

Transportation can be tricky, especially if you are planning on traveling overseas. Caroline said to look for passes to offset the cost of paying for trips individually. “Traveling in Europe can get very expensive very quickly. But before we left the United States we bought Eurails, which allowed us to board most trains without having to make costly reservations. The Eurail was a big money-saver for all of us, and it allowed us the freedom of being able to travel anywhere by train,” she said.

When it comes to saving money, don’t write off connecting flights just yet. Yes, almost everyone will agree that connecting flights are a pain, but they can also save you a huge amount of money. This also gives you the opportunity to see a bit more of the world you’re living in.

“To save money, my friend and I chose to use layover flights in order to get to Tennessee,” Stephanie said. “We stopped on the way there and on the way back in North Carolina. It was a nice break from flying.”

6. Pack Light

 Traveling light is an important task to help save money on travel expenses. One clever trick when packing your bags that will allow you to use you suitcase to the maximum capacity without breaking a zipper is the “rolling method.” If you like to pack for any possible weather occurrence, this method is for you. Rolling uses less space than folding and gives you more room for necessities.

All in all, there is hope for those of us who find ourselves longing for adventure but lacking the funds. Many opportunities are available for students to explore and enjoy the diversity of our world. After all, experiences make some of the best teachers! Good luck in your future travels, fellow college students.