“I just don’t get how you can afford to travel so much!” –Everyone
I’ve heard this so many times this past year that I thought I should address it. I’m a broke college student. I can’t possibly afford to take spontaneous getaways to London, L.A., exotic islands in the Caribbean, etc.(Eye roll). Traveling to a new and exciting places doesn’t have to be some distant dream that never leaves your Pinterest board. College is expensive, but traveling doesn’t have to be.
Here are some of my ways to start traveling on a budget:
1.) Get a job.
Groundbreaking, I know. As obvious as it is, people tend to underestimate how helpful it is to have a part-time job (we are students, school still comes first). Working part-time, even at minimum wage, you could still make enough to fund some pretty incredible trips. For example, in less than a month, you can make enough to fly just about anywhere in the U.S. In less than two months, you can make enough to fly to Europe. Sure, it’s more fun to binge on Netflix every Sunday morning than to get up and go to work. But then again, it’s also fun to jet off to L.A. for one random weekend in February while your friends suffer in the bitter Wisconsin cold.
2.) Don’t buy dumb things.
Now that you have some extra income from your part-time job, you can afford to eat at Chipotle every day. Don’t do that. You also don’t need to buy another pair of shoes identical to the ones you already have. Take less trips to the mall. Take more selfies with Big Ben. Simple.
3.) Travel cheap.
Flights don’t have to cost you your first-born child. It’s not hard to find cheap flights if you know where to look (*cough StudentUniverse cough*). You can get discounted airfare just for being a student. Take advantage of that. The same goes for lodging. There’s no need to spend your precious travel funds on pricey hotels. You know what’s better than a 5 star hotel? Hostels. Because hostels have really cool people and a bar. Seriously, hostels are awesome. For the price of a sandwich, you can stay in some of the coolest places in the world. Hostels are also a great way to meet fellow travelers. Some hostels even have organized activities (pub crawls!). I’ve met some incredible people while staying in hostels, some of whom I am still good friends with. (Shout out to all of you guys around the world)!
4.) Be flexible.
If you can, be flexible with your flight dates and times. When you search flights, set your search to “flexible.” Leaving a day earlier or coming back a day earlier could save you hundreds of dollars. As crazy as it sounds, it also helps to be open minded about your destination. If you’re just looking for an adventure, check out all of the continents. You may be surprised to find unexpectedly cheap flights to places you would never imagine visiting. Several times, I have actually gone to an airport without knowing my destination. An unexpected surf safari in Todos Santos sure wasn’t terrible. Be spontaneous and just go with it.
These tips may seem obvious and straightforward. That’s because they are. It is actually that easy. Trust me, I’ve done it. I’m still doing it. I plan to continue doing it throughout college and the rest of my life. Just go. Don’t make any more excuses. Just hop on a plane and do it. You will never regret it. See you out there!
Note: All the photos are from my actual life, not a Pinterest “dream vacation” board. Stop pinning and start living.