How to Travel on a Budget

5 Tips to Cure Your Wanderlust on a Budget


We all know the feeling: that urge to just get away. To see new things. To have new experiences. That itch that makes you just want to hit the pavement and run until you end up somewhere far away from where you are now. Unfortunately, most of us are operating on what some might call a "college budget" (that's code for "broke as sh*t") and don't have the luxury of going on a spontaneous flight to a Greek island in the fashion of so many Instagram bloggers. But don't lose hope, because even for those of us with very little to spare, there are still plenty of ways for us to find adventure and be able to afford it, too.

Take Advantage of Your Location

No matter where you are (but especially if you happen to be in a college town) there is going to be something to do nearby. Whether that's a biking/hiking trail 20 minutes away or an amazing street festival you didn't know about, there's got to be something. Realize that going to that amazing art museum downtown that you've never been to is just like going to a city you've never been to, except that it takes less time and is probably free (or at least cheap) with the student ID in your wallet. Find out what your public transportation options are, find out how far they can take you, and find out what lies at the end of the line. Go there.

Recognize That a Bed Is a Bed

It's tempting to fork up the money for the most famous hotel, or to cough up hundreds for that Airbnb with the perfect aesthetic, but it's not financially savvy, and it's certainly not necessary in order to have a good trip. Go for a cheap spare room, or, better yet, a hostel, and save your money for the things you want to DO. You're not going to spend your days in your room anyways. Why waste money on something that, ultimately, will be a very small part of your experience?

Become a Pro With Discount Travel Services

There are plenty of services out there designed to help you get the cheapest flights and hotels imaginable. I once got a flight from Salt Lake City all the way to Tennessee for only $120. Yeah. $120. Learn what peak days and times are (and avoid them), learn which services give you the discounts you're looking for (hint: it's not the ones with commercials). My personal favorite for air travel is SkyScanner, but there are plenty of other options out there. Don't pay what the airline says is the price. Find a good deal. Take advantage of airline sales. Travel in the off season and save yourself money to put towards next semester's books.

Related: 13 Apps You Need to Download Before Traveling

Always Be on the Lookout for Free Events

Whether you're looking locally or at some far-off destination, be on constant look out for free events. For example, where I live, there are free concerts every week in August at one of the parks nearby. It's an easy way to get your Coachella bug out of your system without paying to go to Coachella... or anywhere for that matter. Find out what bars have ladies nights, look for cultural festivals, and always, ALWAYS check for student discount!

Travel in Groups

One of the simplest ways to save money while traveling is to travel in a group. Group passes are generally discounted from the general price, and splitting a two-bed hotel between four people makes it practically chump change. Not only that, but the memories will be richer because they're full of people who mean something to you.

These are just a few ways to get yourself out of your cramped dorm room and out into the world without overspending. Remember that when you're young, a lot of doors are open for you, and sometimes all it takes is a good 20 minutes on Google to find out what doors are free!


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