Everyone loves to travel but for students it can pose an extra challenge: not only is it hard to find the time to travel, but it can seem too expensive as well. Most students spend most of their money on paying for college so they don’t have much left to spend on fun things such as traveling. But the good news is there are some ways you can go on vacation as a student and still have a great time. You just have to keep a few things in mind. Here are some of the best travel tips for students to help you enjoy your vacation on a budget.
Book In Advance
Because students are in school most of the year there are generally only a few options for when to go on vacation: summer vacation, spring break and winter break. The problem is that this is when everyone else in school can go on vacation, including families with small children. Because of this, plane tickets and hotels can get very expensive during this time of the year. That means that if you want your trip to be affordable you have two options: the best one is to plan well ahead of time before the ticket prices skyrocket.
Your second option is to wait for the last-minute and hope for a sale of some sort to get rid of leftover tickets. If you go with the second option, keep in mind that you have no guarantee of being able to go on your trip.
Go At Unusual Times
We already mentioned the times that most students are able to go on vacation but another one of the travel tips for students is to take a trip during off-season. While this is difficult while in school, many universities will have occasional long weekends or even breaks in the middle of the term. If you know your school has one of these breaks that most of the other people in the country don’t, travel then. You will get better deals because it will be the off-season and you won’t have to deal with large crowds which is especially important if you are going to a popular destination.
Make Your Meals
One of the biggest concerns for students when traveling is their budget. That is why one of the best travel tips for students to save money is to make your own meals when possible. This doesn’t mean you have to make every meal each day, but try to do at least one or two. Think about how much money you would spend eating out, probably between $5 and $15 a meal. Now compare it to how much each meal costs when you make it yourself, probably less than $5.
If you are on a budget, this savings can be the difference between going on a vacation and staying home. The only problem is that making food yourself is a bit difficult when traveling. If you are staying in a hostel, be sure to pick one that has a kitchen they let guests use. If you won’t have access to a kitchen because you are staying in a hotel, stock up on basics such as bread, peanut butter and jelly or fruit. You can easily make this into a lunch while you are on the go seeing attractions.
If you are planning on going somewhere far for your vacation (such as Europe), be sure to compare flights. You should also consider checking out discount airlines, but if you opt for one of these airlines keep in mind the limited services they offer as well as the baggage fees. No matter where you are going, if you are going to fly you should compare flights.
Even if you are able to save a few dollars by connecting, consider whether it is worth it; this is especially important for short connections or those that involve going through customs. While connections are a great way to save a lot of money, they can also create a hassle that leaves you running for a flight or even missing it. But if you are able to save a lot of money, it is worth it.
While it is tempting to put down your guard and simply relax while on vacation, that is not the best idea. Keep in mind that in many locations tourists are huge targets for pickpockets so one of the best travel tips for students is to always be aware of your surroundings. This means not carrying excessive amounts of money or valuables with you, especially if you won’t be able to keep an eye on them. If you go for a night out on the town, never leave your purse unattended. If you aren’t going to want to hold it while you are dancing, then simply don’t take one.
Use your pockets or even put some money in your bra or shoes (unless of course they are sandals). It is also important to always be aware for your safety; while many college campuses are somewhat sheltered and very safe that is not always true of travel destinations so don’t go walking down a dark alley in the middle of the night.
One of the hardest things about traveling is deciding what to take with you. This is why one of the travel tips for students is to carefully consider what you pack. Even if you aren’t going internationally, you should always be sure to take an ID with you (for domestic trips this can simply be your driver’s license). You also want to take your student ID with you because you never know when a discount will be available. For clothing you should carefully consider where you are going and what the weather is like.
While some of us have a tendency to over pack, this can lead to costly excess baggage fees if you are flying. You also want to consider whether you really need your electronics with you. While many people want to take their computers on every vacation so they can stay in touch, consider whether this is necessary. If you have a smart phone, that is enough. If not, your hostel or hotel will probably have at least one computer available for guests to use. Would you rather take your computer (an extra bulky item) and risk it getting lost or stolen or simply enjoy your vacation? Think it through for each item you pack, especially the more expensive ones.