How to Plan a Budget Trip as a Student
Traveling as a student can be exciting and rewarding. This is the time you have the energy and fewer things to worry about before work and family come knocking. I have had lifetime adventures and fun traveling while in college that I probably will never get time for after school.
However, I can tell you that between the little support from my family and student loans, travel money isn’t always a luxury as a student. In my few years of travel on a shoestring budget, I have picked some lessons on how to stretch the little money and have a trip to remember. Here, I share with you some of those tips.
1. Start planning early
Any time I want to take a vacation, I start planning a few months before I make the trip. One reason I do this is to help me save the money I need for traveling. I do this by tweaking a few things in my daily expenditure to ensure that I cut back on money usage. The second reason I start planning early is to give myself enough time to do my research. I use this time to compare different locations that I have in mind. I check the flight and accommodation costs as well as daily expenses such as entrance fees to attraction sites and the like. If I find them expensive, I have time to think of an alternative.
In addition, airline companies offer promotions from time to time. I have traveled for far much less by booking my flights early and taking advantage of such offers.
2. Rethink Flights and accommodation
It is great to travel with popular airlines, but when you are on a budget, getting to where you are going is more important than how you get there. Rather than going for major brands, I opt for budget airlines, which saves me almost half the cost. Another trick I learned is to avoid direct flights. Non-direct flights are always cheaper and give you a chance to have a glimpse of different cities while at them.
When you think of where to stay, you only need a place to sleep since you will be out and about during the day. I find Airbnb cheaper than hotels yet they offer a certain level of comfort. Hostels are a good option as well. I have made great friends that became travel buddies while sharing a dorm room during some of my travels.
3. Rent a car to get around
I know that getting around a new city using public transport is the most preferred way for students to travel on a budget. However, I have realized that renting a car allows a few ways to save money that can be a boost to the overall budget. For instance, you can venture into remote areas where public transport is restricted. This means that you can visit attractions that are free or cheaper to enter. You also get to stay in locations that are cheaper compared to the city center.
However, you need to have an international driving permit for you to be allowed to drive around in a foreign country. Ensure that you obtain one before leaving for the trip.
4. Find cheaper ways of Sightseeing
The biggest goal of traveling is to explore the popular attractions sites in your destination. However, entrance fees and tickets can really add up your budget. Some of the things that have helped me cut down on these fees are booking the tickets early and taking advantage of available offers. Some sites such as museums and art galleries have student discounts that they offer. I use my student ID to get such whenever I can.
Another thing I do to have fun and make the most of my travels is to look for free activities to do. You can do a quick search of places where the entrance is free as well as sights that you don’t have to pay for.
5. Plan to travel with a friend
Having traveled alone and with friends, I can attest that the latter is more fun and adventurous. Friends double the fun and the experience. Most importantly, they make the trip cheaper with cost-sharing. If you have to take a cab, that means half the fare when traveling with a friend. I have also seen hostels that have offers for double occupancy and attraction sites that offer discounts when you bring a friend. You can take advantage of such offers when you take your friends along.
Traveling on a budget isn’t a luxurious choice, but it sure is possible. Just start planning early in advance, taking advantage of offers that come up. In addition, go for cheaper flights, accommodation and look out for discounts and free activities around your destination. Don’t forget that renting a car can do wonders for your budget. Finally, cost-sharing with your college mates is your way to go when on a budget.