Every student dreams of leaving his or her comfort zone and going out and experiencing the world. Unfortunately, we’re living off ramen and Dollar Tree because we are in college and broke as hell. All hope is not lost, however, my fellow world travelers. I’m going to give you five tips that I use whenever I plan a trip, some of which are tailored specifically for us poor, little college students. So, here they are. Right down there. So…enjoy. *queue ‘Save Dat Money’*
Tip #1: Do Your Research
It turns out college was good for some stuff. Who would have thought? Research is one of the most important things you learn in all your classes, and it’s key to budgeting for your trip. It’s important to have a general idea of how much money you should expect to spend on airfare and accommodation. Research different travel deals and trends so you can estimate when prices will be at their lowest. Utilize different tools that notify you when prices drop or new travel deals arise. Here’s a special treat for my FGCU friends (because you’re reading my blog, so we must be friends…right?) AirefareWatchdog is a nifty site that lists and compares fares on Southwest Airlines. You can also sign up for tools from Hotwire, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc. Always check your emails and stay updated on social media accounts for different deal-oriented companies.
Tip #2: Know Your Options
Hotels, houses, hostels…what’s with all the labels, man? When looking for accommodation options, don’t immediately say no to something you’ve never tried. When I tell my friends that I’ve stayed at strangers’ homes through Airbnb, some of them get very confused. “You stay at someone’s house?” “Isn’t that sketchy?” “Do they…do they watch you sleep?” I promise, staying at an Airbnb will be one of the best decisions you can make when traveling. You have so many options to choose from, the prices are usually way better than a hotel, and you get much more freedom. Explore your options; see what works best for you and what you are comfortable with.
Tip #3: Look For Cheap Flights
Don’t be afraid to use travel services and agencies to book tickets. As students, we get some benefits that others do not. Sites like Student Universe and STA Travel are literal gems for us broke buddies. Members receive special rates and offers, making it possible for us to fulfill our dreams and see the world. How thoughtful. One of my personal favorite travel services to book flights through is Skyscanner. I’ve been able to book cheap flights to London and Ireland by using this site, and it’s honestly a gift from the heavens above. I almost thought the prices were too good to be true, but I’ll tell you what my little Einsteins, they’re just that good.
Tip #4: Look For Student Discounts
I don’t know about you guys, but I like to take advantage of the fact that I’m a poor college student. I whip out my student ID every place I go and GET. THAT. DISCOUNT. Almost every country offers discounts for student travelers at museums, factories, etc. A helpful little thing to have, if you’re planning on backpacking for a while, is an International Student Identity Card. These cards are recognized in over 130 countries, and they are great proving student status for receiving student benefits and discounts.
Tip #5: Be Flexible
Don’t be like Medusa; nothing should be set in stone when planning. (I am so sorry for that joke.) You’ll be able to get a better deal if you can work with different destinations and dates. You’ll have way more options if you give yourself a little more wiggle room. Instead of thinking of where you want to go, think about what kind of trip you want to go on. Do you want more of a backpacking trip? Or, maybe, you’re looking for more of an island vibe? Be open to different possibilities, not only in travel but in life.