So you all may remember Savannah from her guest post on lifeguarding at Disney! Well today she is going to share some of her tips on traveling while in college and on a budget. Enjoy!
How to Travel While In College
Guest post by Savannah Smith
Ever since my high school graduation, I have been traveling the world as often as I can. I’ve taken international trips to places like Costa Rica and England and done several trips with my friends all over the US from LA to New York City. I’m in my senior year of college and taking a full load of classes online this semester, so this has given me more flexibility with my travels. It isn’t always easy working with a small budget while trying to see so many places, so I am going to pass over some advice, from one poor college student to another.
How to Get There
I’ll just get this out-of-the-way, I do have flight benefits and many of my trips would not have happened if it weren’t for my dad (hey Jeffy) who worked for United. However, standby seats can be tricky and not every trip is as simple as you would anticipate. So when looking for cheap flights it is important to try to fly on weekdays! But if you’re in college like I am you’re probably wondering how you can be sipping wine in Italy on Wednesday and still make it to your 8am on Thursday. My suggestion, go to office hours (professors love that) and ask what you’ll be missing and if there is a way you can complete any assignments prior to your trip. You will be surprised to know that many professors are impressed by your initiative and will work with you on it. I did this, and when I got back my professor asked about my trip and begged to see pictures. So give it a try because traveling is great, but your education should be your priority.
Use the HOPPER app to compare ticket prices
Where to Stay
I want to clarify that If you want to stay at a fancy hotel and eat at 5 star restaurants every time your visit somewhere new, you’ll run out money real fast. Of the dozens of trips I’ve done, I have only been on maybe two vacations, and that was with family and MUCH different from what I do in college. Traveling is not the same as vacationing. For budget traveling you basically have three realistic options: hostels, Airbnb, or family/friends.
When I was in London for 10 days, I stayed in a hostel for under $20 a night. Hostels can take some getting used to, so do your research and check reviews before you commit. This option is great for meeting other young travelers, and most hostels offer a free breakfast! Fun fact: there are hostels all over the US, which I did not know until I met someone from Finland who stayed in a Chicago hostel and said it was the best!
If your interested this is the hostel I stayed at in London:
Airbnb is also always my preference over a hotel since most have a kitchen and you can avoid going out to eat every night. It can also be a lot less expensive and great for a bigger group. It might seem awkward to ask but staying with people you know is a great way to save money and to build connections with those people. It’s always a good idea to offer to cook for them or give them cash while being hosted in their home!
My biggest tips are to stay away from tourist towns when choosing where to stay. When it comes to food, ask around to see where the locals prefer to eat. I also avoid paying to do the super tourist-like attractions by simply taking pictures of popular areas and calling it a done deal. This saves me so much money to do other things on my trip, and I never really feel like I missed out on anything.
So there you have it, those are just some ways to save money when trying to travel and how I have been able to do so without going completely broke. Just remember that traveling is an amazing experience, and if it truly something you are passionate about, invest your money and time into that!