“I can’t wait to start working so I can have enough money to travel the world”. Reality check: once you start your career, you will have the money, but what you will lack, is time! College days are the best and the most rewarding period in life to experience the world. But how to do so on a budget? College tuition and lodging fees are enough to drive you nuts. Who wants to add travel costs to the budget equation? Your best bet is to seek out student-friendly travel options. Here are 7 ways you could travel the world without ruining yourself.
1. Join a travel loyalty program
Some companies understand that college kids have the will to travel often, but often not the means. To capitalize on that unmet need, they’ve create student-friendly loyalty programs. For instance, Lufthansa has the Generation Fly frequent flier program. Hostelling International offers its members deals around the world. Another great membership card to have is the International Student Identification Card.
2. Book with student-friendly travel agencies
Having a “.edu” email is useful for academic purposes but also for traveling. Services like Student Universe and STA Travel have great airfare and lodging deals. All you need to claim them is some sort of proof of enrollment.
3. Travel with student-friendly companies
Amtrak is to America what Eurail is to Europe: a cheap student-friendly way to travel across states. Both have great discounts for the college community worldwide.
Although airfare has skyrocketed, Europe’s RyanAir is an incredible way to get around on a budget. On land, MegaBus, BoltBus, and RedCoach will get you places for as low as a $1. Take that, Taco Bell!
Photo Credit: Satbir Singh via Flickr CC
4. Be flexible on dates
The key to any travel is to plan. Plan as far as possible and be mindful of all the smart travel basics. For instance, being flexible on dates is one easy way to travel cheap. As college kids, that is not always an option, breaks never last long enough.
5. Seek free transportation from and to airports
Some colleges offer free rides and low-cost shuttles to their local airports. Even in universities without such services, it is not so rare to find third-party services that would. College associations are often willing to help. You can also rely on car services like Zipcar. Otherwise, ask for a lift. Many will be happy to help out.
6. Group travel
A great part of the college experience is the sense of community and belonging. Be it cohabitation with a roommate, group assignments or the student section at the College stadium, you are part of something great. It is even better when it grants you access to savings. Group travel is a fantastic way to share expenses and travel with the people you love. Just be mindful of the pitfalls of group travel. Check out this eBook to learn how to group travel on a budget.
7. Act as a student!
You are a student, with a limited budget. Assume it; there is no shame in it. Do not pretend to be someone else and live beyond your means. As a smart traveler, favor comfortable and affordable over luxury and lavish. First off, lighten your load as to have a faster pace. Packing light as more than one advantage. Second, hostels, b&bs might be cheaper and better alternatives to chain hotels. They often offer a unique community-based experience similar to the college life.
There are many way to work around your financial limitations. With a little work to prove your age and enrollment, many organizations can help you travel on a budget.