Being in college shouldn’t stop you from becoming well traveled. Many students feel that they have no options when it comes to wanting to travel. This reality is often due to financial struggles, strict scheduling, and lack of resources in general. Fortunately, there are ways for college students to travel. Despite having a strict budget, you can make your plans come true with careful planning and consideration. Here are 10 ways to afford travel as a college student.
Savings: Having extra money seems like it’s impossible when you are paying for your tuition, groceries, and other essentials. Millions of students struggle to barely get by when it comes to primary and basic costs of living. A huge way to counteract the absence of extra funds is by saving money. Any money left over once expenses are paid can be put towards a savings account. Regularly saving money is a healthy habit to get into while you are in the early years of adulthood. Whether you are saving weekly, daily, or monthly, this extra money can go to opportunities such as travel.
Travel With Others: Sharing expenses can be an easier way to afford travel as a college student. You can travel with a significant other, friend, or entire friend group. Though plane tickets will be individual costs, you can collectively share the costs of a place to stay. Hotel rooms rarely accommodate more than a few people, so if you are traveling with a friend group, look into hostels and air bnbs. “Road trips are also another option for traveling with others so all you have to worry about is paying for gas. Food costs, activities, and other expenses can be shared amongst you and others to make traveling as a student more inexpensive and achievable,” shares William Moses, finance writer at Write My Thesis.
School Opportunities: Have you heard of studying abroad? Your school may offer affordable opportunities that allow you to study in another country. This gives you a wonderful chance to both travel and get your education simultaneously. Depending on your tuition costs, scholarships, or other factors of your unique situation, you could get part of your stay covered by your school. Studying abroad also has tons of benefits: getting to learn about a new culture, getting a refreshing educational approach, and one in a lifetime experiences.
Choose Cost-Effective Activities: Along with transportation costs, activities are also one of the most expensive parts of travel. Though some paid activities are worth the price, many dismiss the free or cheap activities when traveling. Having fun and enjoying travel doesn’t require you needing to go over budget. All countries have cost effective activities available to tourists and travelers. Museum tours, outdoor exploration, walking, and going to local markets are all activities that tend to be affordable and cost effective.
Utilize Your Student Status: Students aren’t always made aware of the discounts and savings that they can have. In order to utilize your student status, take your student I.D with you when you travel. Tons of destinations will give you discounts on accommodations, flights, transportation, and attractions. If you don’t see any information about student discounts for traveling expenses, reach out to companies and see what they can do for you. You’ll likely get some type of discounts for certain parts of your traveling experience.
Travel at Specific Times: Though you may want to travel in summer while school is out, going at the peak of vacation season truly isn’t the best idea. Typically winter and summer are the two most popular seasons of the year for travel. This means ticket, hotel, activity, and other accommodation costs are at an all time high. Don’t travel at a costly time if there is no valid reason to do so. Unless an opportunity you want to experience is taking place at a high demand travel period, select a time when traveling costs less. When taking a plan to your destination, try to get tickets from Monday to Wednesday. Most people travel on the weekends, making that part of the week more expensive for travel. Traveling at specific times, and being flexible with when you go on a trip can save you hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.
Choose a Destination With Free Public Transportation: Traveling within your destination can be extremely pricey as well. Renting a car, or paying for a taxi adds up fast. Most college students would not be able to chuck that much money just to get from point A to B during travel. There are tons of destinations that offer free, or cheap public transportation. New York, Chicago, and New Orleans are three places that provide locals and tourists with free, accessible transportation.
Pack Wisely: Another travel expense is luggage costs; overpacking is a huge travel disadvantage. If possible, pack everything you need on a carry-on suitcase. Try to pack essentials, clothes that can be worn more than once, and other items that are necessary for your trip. Packing a carry-on suitcase will help you avoid the costs of heavier luggage, and ensure that your belongings won’t get lost along the way. Packing wisely will also help you have less junk to lug around, making traveling more enjoyable. You can also pack a small bag like a backpack or purse to hold essentials you need to access for emergencies or quick and efficient usage.
Paid Job Opportunities: Around the world, there are paid job opportunities that you can take. These opportunities cover accommodation costs like a place to stay, food, and give you a memorable, valuable experience. Europe is one of the best places when it comes to seeking out these traveling options. You can volunteer your time for positions like waiter/waitress, tour guide, farmer and other similar roles. Through organizations WWOOF and Workaway, you can find job opportunities around the world. Getting a short term job is one hack that helps college students afford the costly experience that is travel.
Pick a Budget Friendly Destination: Some destinations cause travelers to empty all of their money down the drain. This is due to the high costs associated with certain places in the world. On the other hand, some places are extremely cheap for travelers to visit. Food, housing, and other essentials serve as minimal costs to travelers within some countries in the world. This is due to differences in money conversion and a destination’s economic status. For those who live in North America and Europe, traveling to a location in Asia is extremely affordable. Romania, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and China are some of the cheapest places to travel to in the world. This means that you can travel far away from where you currently live, and still afford your trip by choosing a budget friendly destination.
It is possible to afford travel as a college student. Although it can be hard to find the money to, travel doesn’t have to be an unobtainable experience. Saving money, getting extra income through a job or side hustle, and finding the best deals can help you plan an affordable trip. Don’t let your student status control how you wish to live your life.