Due to the great amount of traveling I have experienced throughout my life, I have come to realize something. There are four main points of traveling that have the most money sucking capacity; housing, food, entertainment, and transportation. A lot of the resources you need in order to avoid spending too much money when traveling are right at your fingertips, you just might not know it yet. I’m here to help you know and understand these resources so you can have a great trip, no matter where you’re going. Bear with me throughout this article, because for each of the four main traveling “money suckers” I point out at least two tips or tricks to try and get around them! Keep reading for these money-saving tips to help you travel while on a college budget!
Housing may seem like it’s going to be the biggest drain on your resources, but if you play it smart, it can be the least of your worries.
To start, you have the app Airbnb. Airbnb provides access to single rooms, full apartments, or entire houses all around the world. You just enter the days you will be there, your price range, and any specific amenities you’ll need to be included, and presto, you get a long list of available places.
StudentRate is an easy-to-use website that helps students find discounts and promotions on anything from laptops to hotel rooms. Check it out their travel discounts here!
Now, if you want a more classic experience when traveling anywhere, it is a great idea to search for hostels in your city of choice. Don’t be fooled, a hostel is nowhere near as scary as it sounds. A hostel is simply a place where you can get inexpensive housing, while staying with other young travelers such as yourself. Check out this cool article about the best hostels to stay at all around the world!
Finally, you have the option of couch surfing. This is a website that allows you to make an account for free or make a verified account for $20 a year that increases your chances of finding a couch to stay on, and you use it to find a host you would like to stay with and get to know as you travel.
OK. First off, drop the idea that you need to eat at gourmet restaurants your whole trip. You just don’t need that kind of stress in your life. Plan your days out ahead of time, and maybe just treat yourself to a restaurant for special dinners! If you really want restaurant experiences, visit mom and pop restaurants a minimum of once a day; those are always the best restaurants anyways.
Visit a farmer’s or local market.
Start your trip off right with a quick pass through a local market, grocery store, or farmer’s market once you arrive. Pick up some fruit, vegetables, and other local foods- that way you’re still getting a local experience for less of the cost. Don’t over do it, though- keep in mind how long you will actually be needing these items.
Seek out inexpensive food vendors.
What I recommend (besides carrying snacks around with you) is to eat local street food when you need something more substantial than the granola bar you packed which just isn’t going to cut it, but don’t want to sit down somewhere.
Entertainment can mean anything from tours, to museums, shows, or visiting bars. There is so much to do, and usually your time is limited. Do your research and make a plan. While you may not stick to this plan completely, it’s a good idea to have some sort of layout so you’re not going in blind.
The best things in life can be free.
Start by looking up free things you can do before you leave and jotting down dates, locations and times; you’d be surprised how much stuff you can do for free at any given time anywhere in the world.
Research city passes or discount packages.
Now, if you anticipate visiting a lot of museums, tourist spots, or anything similar, it is a great idea to buy a citypass ahead of time! Many major cities will have a website online where you can buy a pass that lasts a certain amount of time and gives you access to multiple museums, tours and shows across the city, and can really save you money. As for bars, once you finish looking up free events and city passes it’s a good idea to pick a few bars ahead of time that have student discounts, low entrance fees, or maybe a ladies night for our women readers.
Can’t travel without transportation, right?
Can you use your own two feet?
Let’s start by stating the obvious: walking when traveling is probably your best friend. Even if you get a little lost, you’re just adding to the adventure, and as a bonus, walking is totally free!
Use local transportation methods.
However, if you need to get from one side of the city to the other, your best option is local transportation. So get out your computer again, and check out the local transport your city of choice offers.
Warning: You might want to avoid taxis because, while some are very wonderful, others will see you’re a tourist and take you in roundabout ways to bump up the charge.
Invest in a transportation pass.
Now, if you’re going to Europe, chances are there will be some form of above or below ground train. This fares well because in that case, you can buy a payment card (similar to a New York Metrocard) and put time on it that lasts for the duration of your trip. Usually these cards work for any train or bus that the city has to offer, which bodes well for you! (In London, for example, you can pre-pay your Oyster card and use it for the whole week on the tube and buses!)
So that’s it! I hope that these tips have helped you as you plan on where to travel during your college years, and help you save as much as you can while doing it. Have fun, and safe travels!