Have you wanted to visit friends at other schools but thought it would be too expensive? How about going on vacation for a reasonable price? Luckily for you, there are some simple solutions on how best to travel on a college budget.
For small trips, like going to visit friends at other schools within driving distance, there are several options to consider. First is taking public transportation, such as the trains or bus. Nick Field, a sophomore majoring in political science, recommends doing careful research and planning in order to find the best deals.
“Adirondack Trailways has student discounts,” Field said. “Megabus is usually pretty cheap, too. Make sure to book your trip early to get the best price and plan activities ahead for the best deals.”
Especially around this time of year, look out for companies offering discounts on transportation for the holiday season.
If you have a car and would like to drive, one of the best ways to save money is to turn your travels into a road trip with friends.
Jessica Linda, a junior majoring in human development, encourages you to ask around before such a trip.
“See if your friends have anyone that wants to go to that school at the same time you want to go, so you can all go visit friends,” Linda said.
Traveling this way has many benefits, such as splitting the driving time, so you can relax in the back seat while your friend takes the wheel for a few hours. You can also split the cost of gas equally, which means the more people you can find to go with you, the less money each of you will have to spend fueling up the car. It also makes the drive much more enjoyable and exciting.
If you’re looking to fly somewhere for a vacation, both www.statravel.com and www.studentflights.com offer substantially discounted flights for students. STA Travel offers a multitude of flights domestically and internationally, while Student Flights only flies out of locations in Australia, Europe and South Africa, so you must already be abroad for their deals. The great thing about these services is that they list a variety of airlines and travel times so you have the freedom to choose whatever flight fits best with your schedule.
Another helpful hint is to try and choose places to visit where someone you know is living. If your cousin goes to school in Chicago or your grandparents have a condominium in Miami, you and your friends can save a decent amount of money by staying over at their place for a few nights instead of paying for a hotel.
For those of you who wish to travel abroad, one of the best ways to go might be doing a community service program abroad over summer or winter break.
International Student Volunteers (ISV) provides students with the opportunity to see the world while changing it at the same time. Programs such as these give you the option to travel anywhere from two weeks to three months abroad, combining once-in-a-lifetime community service opportunities, such as wildlife conservation and community building, with personal travel adventures. Not only will it be fun, but it looks great on a résumé as well.
In an article from April 2011, USA Today College listed helpful hints for traveling on a student budget. Some interesting suggestions included looking into your banking plan to avoid astronomical ATM fees abroad and researching the best place to exchange your money for an honest exchange rate.
They also recommended buying an international student identification card (also known as an ISIC card, which usually sells for about $20) in order to get major discounts on museums, transportation and access to local events only available with specific student identification cards. Looking for unique deals like this are the key to investing a little bit of money in order to save a lot.