College is one of the most memorable times in your life – you get to study, make life long friends, experience the craziest things day by day, ad expand your cultural horizon. You get to spend your days learning, growing and discovering yourself – but how does taking it a step further sound?
We’re all ridden with dreams of lively people, European cobblestone streets, putting on our backpacks and embarking on a trip of a lifetime to a land far, far away. Then it hits us. The slew of responsibilities, the loans, the student debts, and the daily expenses. Traveling is expensive. There’s no lie in that.
But as the days go by, you find that relentless thought coming back to you. Luring you in and offering a warm respite from the harrowing thoughts of college work. The thought of leaving it all behind and traveling the world, meeting new people, immersing yourself in different structures…Losing yourself in the streets of Paris, indulging in a steam bath in Budapest, getting spiritual at a temple in Thailand…Why not turn these thoughts into a reality? You don’t have to let go of your degree to travel around for a while!
It’s super important to actually travel and learn the world outside, and what better time to do that than by embarking on a trip of a lifetime? Your finances don’t always have to be burden, and there are plenty of ways you can save up thousands of dollars while traveling. Traveling while at college is great as long as you plan ahead, book cheap travel and accommodation. In this article I will give tips and trick on how to do that.
Research, research, research!
There is no need to mention that there will be a lot of researching involved before you travel. You’ll have to choose a destination. Will you choose it based on preference? On your budget? How far away it is? The best attractions? Best parties?
Researching will give you the ultimate rundown of things and will keep your itinerary, and later on your trip, simple.
Things you’ll be researching:
- The cheapest accommodation options. From Airbnb and hostels to couch-surfing, there are plenty of affordable accommodation options.
- Dates on which you can fly for the cheapest price. So many websites allow you to check out the entire month and see what the cheapest days are.
- How to pack. You can take a big luggage back if you’re not traveling around, or settle on a backpack. You’ll have to choose the best packing cubes on pretravels.com or decide on sticking to plastic bags. You do your thing!
- Paperwork, visas, contracts, insurance….etc.
Will you be studying abroad or not?
This is one of the first steps you should take when planning your trip. Embarking on a solo trip around Europe is entirely different than actually studying abroad and both need different budgeting, planning, packing and researching.
The advantage on going for a study abroad semester is that a lot of universities offer incredible scholarships and financial aid. This means that you will literally have an entire team dedicated to helping you saving money for your trip.
Save a lot of money.
Whether your parents will be financing your entire trip or you will be paying for it – you need to understand that you will still need a significant amount of money. A lot of people juggle working part time with studies, and there are plenty of ways you can make money on the side if you really want to. Choose a side hustle: whether it’s selling things on eBay, freelancing or offering a service – make money!
After you find ways to finance your trip, make sure you contribute a good chunk of your earnings to your “travel piggy bank. Set achievable savings goals and stick to them!
Make sure you are flexible. Sometimes you won’t be able to go to your favorite destination because of budget issues, and that is okay. Don’t fret. Move on. Choose a better destination and get ready to explore!
1. Where to stay
You don’t need to be staying at a five-star hotel to travel around the world. You’re a college student, possibly with a strict budget. Enjoy those irresponsible early 20s and spend your time at hostels, couch surf at a complete stranger’s house or get an Airbnb. If you’re not being spontaneous and having adventures now, when exactly are you planning on starting?
2. Go on Free Tours
A lot of cities, there are plenty of places you can find free walking tours in. Keep an eye on those, do your research and enjoy a nice walk around the city with a tour guide for free! You can also check free meetups, free events, and go on the websites for multiple museums and attractions that have their “free days.”
3. Master the Metro
Unless you want to be spending hundreds of dollars on Ubers and taxis, the metro still serves as one of the most affordable mode of transportation available. A lot of people avoid the metro because they’re too lazy, but do you have the luxury of being lazy when you’re on a tight budget? Nope.
4. Befriend the locals
Befriending locals is one of the best ways to save on money. They’ll tell you all about the best hidden gems, you can share meals together and they can help you with some local money-saving tips and tricks!
5. Make use of student discounts
Student discounts are available at practically every city in the world. Use them for your advantage and revel in the hoards of discounts that will come your way. You might even be getting things for free!
Teach English abroad
We’re not all born with incredible skills that we can monetize, but there’s one thing I know for a fact that you have. The English language. A lot of countries offer programs where you get to teach English in return for either money or accommodation. This way, not only do you get to see the world, but you also get to help some people! Two birds one stone!
Know the city’s ins and outs
By knowing exactly all the things you can do in a city before you go, you’ll have a better general idea of what your budget will be like and whether you’ll even like it or not. You’ll need to check the top attractions, the food you can have, crazy experiences you might be a part of and much more.
Traveling as a college does not have to be a burden on your wallet. All you really have to do is research really well, plan wisely and take care of your finances and you’re halfway there!
Tim Bakers is a proud father of 2 amazing children. He is one of the travel bloggers over at Pretravels.com.