You’re young, adventurous, and full of energy. Oh, but you’re also broke. That’s life as a student for you. You have all the desire to travel, but none of the money to do so. So how do you manage that fun, tropical trip or cozy, weekend getaway?
I’m one of the cheapest people I know and yet, I have traveled to a dozen different countries. So, I have a bit of experience when it comes to travel on a budget. Here are some tips on how to see the world without breaking the bank:
I get it. You’re busy. You don’t have much time to work. But unless your daddy is paying for your spring break trip to Cancun, you need money. Most universities offer jobs, and usually they’re not that difficult.
While at Columbia University, I worked for the library 10 hours a week. $100 a week isn’t much, but it adds up. Besides, I find the work to be a relaxing break from all my studies.
If you can find a job in the summer, even better. And if you can find a job related to your field, that’s perfect! I know. No one likes work, but it’s a sad necessity for money.
I cannot stress enough how much I recommend studying abroad. I studied Russian, so it made sense for me to go to Russia. However, anyone can study abroad. Find a program in a place you like.
And don’t just think of study abroad as one place. You will study in one country, but you can easily travel to other countries while there. It’s the perfect opportunity because the tickets will be much cheaper for you. While I studied in Russia, I traveled to Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia. I never could’ve done that if I stayed in America. The tickets would have been way too expensive. On study abroad, you can travel cheap practically whenever you want.
No matter where you go, flights are expensive. However, there are still tricks to reduce the cost. First off, consider going at an unpopular time of the year. For example, I went to Paris in late October. The tickets were half the price compared to the summer. Not only that, but there were fewer tourists. That meant the wait times at museums and restaurants were shorter, and the streets weren’t so crowded.
Obviously, if you’re planning a trip at a specific time like spring break, then you can’t really change the time. However, you can still find small deals to make the tickets cheaper. Use a site like Google Flights to find you the cheapest tickets possible. Usually these tickets are with cheap airlines and at night. But what does it matter? You’ll be bored during the flight no matter which airline you use. You might as well sleep.
Don’t like flying? Take a bus or train if possible. Their tickets are usually even cheaper. The only catch is that you need to travel for a longer time. But again, the cheapest tickets will be at night. So who cares if you’re traveling for 8 hours? You can sleep the entire time.
Some people like to live large and purchase a room in a fancy hotel. But the whole point of travel is to explore a new place. How much time will you be spending in the hotel? Ideally, you will only be there to sleep and shower. Why spend the money on luxury when you won’t even be there?
As a student, you’re better off going to a hostel. You might have to sleep in the same room as people, but you can get dirt cheap rooms with free WiFi and breakfast. Also, a lot of hostels have events like bar crawls, happy hours, and parties. It’s the perfect scene for young adults.
Don’t want a hostel? Bring along some buddies and get an Airbnb. Together with your friends, the room will be cheap. And now you don’t have to worry about strangers.
Absolutely bring your student ID with you. You never know when it might come in handy. Most museums gives discounts or even free tickets to students. All you need to do is show them your ID. Easy! While in Athens, I saw the Parthenon, the Temple of Olympian Zeus, and the National Archaeological Museum all for free.
To some of you, this might seem like common sense. However, it’s the small tips like this that help you travel cheap. If you can save on tickets and accommodation, you can spend your money on the things that matter like food, drinks, art, and culture.