Traveling is a fascinating and unique experience at any age. It expands your boundaries, exposes you to new lifestyles, and reveals your strengths and weaknesses. Thrown into new environments and situations, you learn to find creative solutions and adjust better to different circumstances. And this is exactly the experience that young students need for their professional and personal advancement.
Truly, there is no better moment to travel than in college days. While you’re still young, full of energy, and daring ambitions, it’s a perfect time to try new things and surmount challenges that inevitably come with any trip abroad. At the same time, with all the costs that accompany college – from paying for accommodation to endless need of buying new stylish outfits – going abroad may be impossible to afford.
Unless you know a few tips to help you work around this problem.
Plan Well Ahead
The earlier you start planning the details of your trip, the more time you’ll have to save money and settle all the matters. As soon as you figure out where you want to travel, you can finally start bringing your plans into life. Your travel expenses will greatly depend on the chosen destination. Make sure you include all the costs, like flight tickets, rent, transfers, local transportation, food, etc. You may notice that a trip to Europe, for instance, looks cheaper due to the relatively low cost of the flight tickets. However, the money you need to afford a week there can cover a month-long stay in Thailand.
Like with pretty much everything in this life, force-majeure situations may happen. Every trip entails unexpected costs. And it is almost the rule when it comes to going to a foreign country where you don’t know a soul. Keeping in mind that you need backup money can help you to get everything covered well in advance. It’s a good idea to save a bit more for emergency cases, so plan to save more than you need.
And Start Saving
If traveling is actually what you long for, make peace with the thought that you need to refuse something to save another dollar. Perhaps, you don’t need that jacket so much, so as those couple of drinks at the bar, a nightly pizza, or a fancier car.
To avoid splurging all your savings for immediate satisfaction, make a deal with your bank, and open a savings account. Alternatively, there is plenty of applications that help you to track your income and spending to convert some into savings.
Monitor Cheap Flight Offerings
If you ask avid travelers, they will tell you they start planning their trips at least 6 months ahead. And this is the first tip of how you can cut costs: buy flight tickets in advance. Also, there are certain days when flights are normally cheaper. For example, most of the air carriers announce their latest deals on Monday evenings, so Tuesday is usually the cheapest day to book and take the flight. However, it may work out pretty well on Wednesdays and Saturdays as well.
Demand plays a crucial role in setting the ticket price. An early morning trip is hard, inconvenient, and often troublesome. And, therefore, the cheapest. Taking a flight at 4 a.m. may be too burdensome for a middle-aged employee. For a student, however, it may turn into an adventure with a would-be good story. It is better to choose off-term months as well as flight providers tend to sell off-season flights at a good discount.
If you are a risk-taker, you can take advantage of the last-minute deal from the airline. Sometimes, flight providers offer tickets that didn’t sell out at a drop price. One caveat, though: you may end up getting nothing.
Flying with American Airlines or Lufthansa may be super comfortable, but is given at an additional cost. The flight with these popular brands may be twice the price of the ticket from the budget air carrier. Additionally, direct flights are usually significantly more expensive. A flight with stopovers can considerably reduce the costs and add one more destination to your itinerary. If you have a visa, of course.
Choose Budget-Friendly Accommodation
Airbnb has already gained popularity all over the world as the most optimal place to stay. Basically, you get a fully-equipped apartment with a small kitchen, where you can cook your own meals and save on eating out. The prices are usually quite reasonable, especially compared to traditional hotel rooms. The cons, however, are that you’ll have to make time for cooking and sometimes cleaning, and there is a chance that the place owner may ignore your calls after you arrive, or come to be a weird person. It’s better to check feedback rather than choose the cheapest bid.
If you don’t mind sharing a room, or you want to make friendships with other travelers, booking a bed in the hostel may be a good idea. Another great way to meet other people, as well as learn more about the local lifestyle, is doing a homestay.
Manage Your Time Wisely
Traveling in college is not always about money issues. For Lucy, it was rather a time-related problem than financial. “Before setting off, I gave a sneak-peak into a few blogs of other student travelers. They gave me a few worthy money-saving tips, as well as an idea of how to make time to travel in college. I decided to buy term paper and submit it a few months before the due date as I couldn’t miss the opportunity to see Europe.” By taking a tough decision to delegate some work, she was able to make her dreams come true.
And last but not least, don’t underestimate the power of communication. By interacting with locals, you may get an opportunity to buy something at a fraction of the price, crash at someone’s place for free, or learn about hidden non-touristic spots. Plus, such connections have a chance to grow into life-long friendships.