In college, you’re young, wild and free. So, why not see the world? Whether you want to take a gap year, that spring break trip you’ve always dreamed of or go on a study abroad, traveling is an exciting and eye-opening experience. Although, I’m sure you know that otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading this. Traveling while you’re a young adult may be the best time to travel while you’re free of responsibilities and probably in great shape. But, how do you do it? It’s no secret that college students may be strapped for cash from time to time. When you look at Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and almost any other site that allows you to share pictures, it makes traveling seem like a luxury that only rich people can afford. Let me tell you this now, this is NOT true. Newsflash! You can travel and be broke at the same time. Well, maybe you’ll need a little bit of cash, but you can still do it without a lot. For all of my friends reading this that are in college, I’ve created a guide on how to travel as a broke college student. Follow these tips and you’ll be set for your next cheap trip!
Travel the World with Hostel World
Hostelworld.com connects travelers with hundreds of hostels around the globe. Unlike a hotel, these save you so much money. In some cities like Rome and Greece, for example, you can find hostel dorm beds in co-ed or single-sex rooms for only 8-10 euros a night. Plus, you’ll most likely meet other broke college students like you in these vibrant social settings. Hostels sometimes host fun activities like free walking tours, pasta dinners or even bar crawls to help their guests have an amazing stay.
If you really don’t want to spend any money on your accommodation, try Couchsurfing.com. Plus, you’ll really get to live like a local! This site connects travelers with locals in destinations all over the world, who are willing to host them for free in their homes. They’ll usually have a couch, an extra bed or floor space for you to crash on. Though Couchsurfing is hit or miss sometimes (hosts may not always be able to accommodate you), if it ends up working out, it’s definitely a money saver.
Save money by staying in your tent instead of a hotel. You don’t need to go on an adventure vacation on a mountain just to go camping. There are also city campsites that you can take advantage of near major travel destinations.
Sleep on Buses and Trains
If you really want to be frugal on your trip, sleep on trains or buses to skip paying for a night’s stay at a hostel or Airbnb. This especially works if your backpacking in European countries, where there a slew of overnight trains and buses in places like Italy, Spain, France and Germany. If you’re traveling to multiple cities on a week-long trip this could definitely save you some cash. So, take that 8-hour bus ride and sleep the night away.
Use Ryanair’s Fare Finder for a Euro-Trip
Ryanair is Europe’s best budget airline. Its gem is its Fare Finder, which lets you discover the cheapest destinations to fly to in Europe whenever you want. If you want to plan your trip early, look for cheap flights months ahead of time. On Ryanair’s website, simply select your current city in Fare Finder’s “From” column, and in its “To” column, choose “Anywhere” to search for flight prices around Europe. For all you cheap skates out there, you can set your budget on Fare Finder for as low as $20 or under. You’ll have your affordable Euro-trip in no time.
Use EasyJet’s All Airports Option to Travel Europe Too
EasyJet airlines flights are sometimes pricier than Ryanair’s, but they are still cheap. Select the “All Airports” option on its website to see all of the places you can fly to in Europe for an affordable price.
Find Flights All Over the World on Skyscanner
Skyscanner.com lets you select an “Anywhere” option if your unsure of a destination to travel to. The best part is, it gives you flight prices for places all around the globe. If you want a cheap one, Skyscanner will definitely find it for you. You’ll have the option to view flights from different travel providers like Orbitz, Travelocity, Ryanair or EasyJet to find the most affordable ones out there for your trip.
Nature is Your Best Friend
Why not hang out on a majestic mountain or serene beach? It won’t cost you much to hike or lay out on the sand. You may pay for transportation, but that’s it. Bring your lunch and relax! When you witness another country’s natural beauty, you’ll appreciate the world. Earth is filled with unbelievable mountains, cliffs, beaches, and forests so go enjoy them while you can.
Eat Street Food
Opt for a quick bite to eat instead of going to a sit-down restaurant. Here, food and drink prices can definitely add up quick. Pasta to-go in Italy is sometimes just as good as the spaghetti you’ll have at a ristorante. If you ever visit Thailand, you’ll find a variety of street food for as little as 1$. These food options are endless in countries all over the world and will help you save money.
Go to Free Museums and Landmarks
What do the Pantheon in Rome, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, the Natural History Museum in Washington D.C. and the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong have in common? They are all free to visit. If your strapped for cash, check out free attractions in the cities your visiting, instead of the ones you have to pay for. Look at Trip Advisor to find more information about them for your next vacation.
Avoid the Tourist Traps
Tourist traps are designed to be expensive, or in other words, they are the complete enemies of broke college students. Companies and restaurants bet on travelers falling for them, so they can make as much money as possible. Travel like a local, instead, and you’re bound to save. Local restaurants, markets and bars always have cheaper prices than touristy ones. Get the Like a Local app on your phone to help guide you on your trip. You’ll discover some of the best food and sights recommended by local people in countries around the world.
Take Free Walking Tours
Free walking tours are interesting, fun and best of all, free. Plus, they can be just as good as ones that charge 50-60$ a person. Freelance tour guides run these tours, so you essentially pay them what you can. Pay as little as 20 cents, or as much as 100 dollars in the form of a tip. It’s your choice. Spend little cash and still get an awesome historical intro to your vacation destination.