Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase via my link I may get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend things I use and love, but for any questions, refer to my full disclosure here.
Do you love to travel but on a college budget? Here are my best tips on how to travel on a budget in college! Let’s get started!
Why you should trust my tips:
A little bit about me: I was born and raised in Switzerland, but studied abroad in the US for a year in High School and again in college. I’ve been to 21 countries so far and I always travel on a student budget!
After graduating high school, I took a Europe train trip with @eurail for a month and spent $1,060 for seeing 6 countries. I know it’s possible for much less, but I did buy souvenirs, ate in restaurants, and slept in hotels rather than hostels lol.
Another time I got tickets to London for $55 round trip (from Switzerland though lol), and spent around $200 in total in the city.
Here are my best tips on how to find cheap flights, cheap hotels for students, and travel transportation tips for college students!
1. How to find cheap flights
Of course, this depends on where you live and where you want to go. If the distance is less than 6 hours, I definitely recommend taking buses and trains, especially because they’re so much better for the environment.
I personally use Skyscanner for all of my flights because I like how easy it is to navigate and I like their deals!
You have 2 options when booking through Skyscanner:
1. Look for plane tickets to a specific destination on Skyscanner to find the best deal.
2. Or go to Skyscanner and pick “worldwide”, select the time frame you want to go on vacation for, and look for the cheapest country/destination!
Now, it will suggest you the cheapest plane tickets in your time frame to the cheapest destinations!!
I once did the same thing and found plane tickets to London for like $55. Another time, my boyfriend flew to visit me (we have a LDR) and his return ticket was $9.95 lol.
PS: I always try to use websites that compensate for CO2 from my flights. The money is supporting climate positive projects, which I think is necessary if you fly a lot! Here is the website I use.
2. Finding cheap hotels for students
If you’re going on a trip you’ve gotta stay somewhere!
Personally, I always check booking.com for deals and cheap hotels.
The great thing about being in college is that there are so many students from different countries, so if you’re friends with people from all over the world, you virtually never need to pay for a hotel!
Other ideas for cheap accommodations include:
- Airbnb (these are more expensive, but if your destination is cheap, such as Bali, Airbnb’s are cheap too!
- Couchsurf (but be careful with this one!)
- Stay at hostels (they really aren’t bad!!)
- Camp or rent a van you can sleep in
3. Transportation on a budget
Like I said, I prefer busses or trains rather than planes because of the reduced carbon footprint, however I do fly a lot because I used to study in the US and my home was in Switzerland, meaning there is no other option than flying. (Unless I wanted to sail for several weeks lol).
BUSSES: Whenever I wanna take a bus within Europe, I use FlixBus, since they are VERY affordable and cover hundreds of cities all over the continent.
TRAINS: For a train trip, I can recommend Eurail/Interrail! They offer train passes for selected countries, as well as the whole of Europe, making it super easy to take trains everywhere when traveling.
FLIGHTS: Like I said, for flights I use Skyscanner.
GENERAL GETTING AROUND: If you’re looking for ways to get around a city on a budget, I got you too! You can:
- Rent bikes (some accommodations have bikes to use for free)
- Use public transport (many cities have discounted passes if you buy for more than a day, especially with a student ID you can get some good discounts)
- Walk! If your destination is reachable by foot, just walk there! That way, you can also explore the area and get some fresh air.
- Take your own car – if you’re driving someplace, just use your car to get around. Taking multiple people and splitting the cost is also useful
4. Planning a Budget Trip
Here are the steps I follow when planning any trip with my college budget:
- Set a budget – This is the first step! I need to know how much money I have available to be able to pick the location and duration of the trip
- Look at the cheapest transportation options – is there a cheap bus or flight to Miami? Go for it.
- Find the cheapest hotel or accommodation in the location you chose
- Remove those 2 costs from your budget and figure out how much you have left
- Plan your length of stay and local activities based on that
- Find ways to save on your trip too, for example with student discounts
How to save money while traveling as a student
No matter how budget-friendly a trip is, you still need money for it. There are definitely cheaper and more expensive places to travel to, but depending on your budget, you can definitely make a good itinerary.
Let’s talk a little bit about what you can do to save money for a trip:
- Use Swagbucks for cashback and doing surveys – Swagbucks is a great site where you can get cash back for shopping through their website. So whatever you want to buy, try to do it through them.
- If you are further interested in saving money and budgeting, check out this post I wrote with tips for budgeting correctly.
- Use your student ID to get discounts! It never hurts to ask
- Cook yourself instead of eating out
- Don’t buy tons of stuff, one souvenir is enough!
- The Ultimate Budgeting Guide For College
- 8 Ways to Save Money for Summer
- How To Use A Budget Planner In College
That was it with this post about how to travel on a budget in college! Budget travel as a college student can be hard sometimes, but I hope these tips helped you and you have a great trip!