When it comes to travel, one of the best memories you can make is by traveling while you’re a student. Whether you’re studying abroad, taking a Eurotrip with friends one summer, or finding a way to balance work while you find yourself on one of the many roads to Rome, it can be a stressful process figuring out how to have fun, appreciate where you are, but also not spend too much money. After all, you’re a student, and you’re on a pretty tight budget. It’s not like you can spend all your money on five-star hotels and Michelin-rated restaurants.
Luckily, there are some great strategies you can use to save money–especially when it comes to student deals. So if you want to learn more about traveling affordably, read on:
Save some money
Okay, we know. Saving money is a challenge, especially when you’ve got a part-time job to balance with your studies. It’s not like you can work full-time and make a fortune. But the fact is, there are some strategies you can use to save money as a student. Budgeting right is all about knowing where you’re spending most of your money, and cutting back on everything that isn’t necessary. Trust us–it’s worth it when it means spending a month in a new city or country.
According to Graduate Prospects, it’s smart to write up “a spreadsheet showing your income from student loans, scholarships and bursaries, parents and any part-time job you have, and note down regular outgoings such as your rent and mobile phone contract. You’ll then be able to see exactly how much you have available to spend each month.” And if you can, cut down on your meal plan–college students spend up to 85 percent more in dining halls than eating at home!
Find cheap flights
If you know what sites to look on, you can save boatloads (or maybe “flight” loads?) on airfare. There’s no need to spend over $500 on flights, even if they’re all the way across the Atlantic to Europe. According to Nomader The Distance, it’s all about using trustworthy cheap flight sites, such as Secret Flying, Scott’s Cheap Flights, and Skyscanner. What’s key is your ability to be flexible with dates–and as a student, you’re actually going to have way more freedom than people with a regular 9-5 job.
Considering that the average cost of college tuition at in-state schools is $20,090 a year, with out-of-state and private universities costing even more, saving as much as you can on travel is going to make a huge difference. And if flights aren’t what you can afford, take a look at splitting costs on a road trip or checking out alternative travel options with sites like Rome2Rio.
Save on accommodations
One of the easiest ways of saving money is by staying in places for cheap–or even for free. Couchsurfing is a great option that allows you stay with a local for free, who’ll oftentimes show you around the city and give you the whole “mi casa es su casa” vibe. But there are other options, too, if you don’t want to share a space with a stranger, such as staying in a hostel or contacting an AirBnB host privately to ask if you can pay slightly less than the going price on the website.
One of the best things about staying at a hostel is that you’ll make friends–friends that may be friends forever, after a night of drinking together, and might even have a place for you stay in your next destination. Gen Zers spend an average of 29 days a year traveling, so you’re sure to run into lots of other college students if you stay at a hostel.
Find student discounts
From walking tours to hostel stays and transit cards, there are so many ways you can save money with student discounts. Even your home university might have some great discounts at their campuses abroad, or with the study abroad programs they’re affiliated with, so it’s worth heading to the Study Away office and do some research before you head off into the rest of the world. Seriously, there are so many deals that they’re too many to list–so check out this list from TripSavvy to learn more. You’ll save on anything from sightseeing destinations, airfare, train discounts, and accommodations.
And don’t forget to download apps on your phone to save you money. Now that Americans are spending over four hours a day on their phones, you’ll want to check out this list of travel apps for saving some dough.
By following these tips, you’ll save more money than you could have ever imagined while traveling–which means you’ll be able to spend where it matters, creating some of the best memories of your lifetime.
What other strategies do you use to afford travel?