Budget-Friendly Travel Tips For College Students

Mary Joseph
Mary Joseph July 19, 2023
Updated 2023/07/23 at 10:54 AM
Budget-Friendly Travel Tips For College Students

College can be costly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fulfil your desire to travel and experience different cultures. While financial constraints may pose a challenge, there are affordable travel options available for college students.

Discovering the world can be an enriching experience, both in terms of knowledge about other cultures and self-discovery. Understanding how to travel on a college student budget can truly broaden your horizons.

No matter where you decide to go, you have the freedom to control the amount you wish to spend. There are multiple methods to guarantee that you can reduce your daily expenses by implementing these straightforward suggestions and techniques:

Budget-Friendly Travel Tips For College Students

Couch-Surf Or Stay-In Hostels:

Instead of making reservations at hotels or opting for Airbnb accommodations, you may want to consider staying in shared dormitories at hostels. Hostels are significantly cheaper than hotels and provide an excellent opportunity to meet people from different parts of the globe.

Additionally, hostels usually offer kitchen facilities for cooking your own meals and organize discounted group activities. If staying at a hostel doesn’t suit your preferences, another option is to explore couchsurfing, which involves staying on a couch or possibly a bed in the welcoming home of a kind stranger.

Prepare Your Own Meals:

The cost of meals can accumulate quickly. Opting for upscale restaurants will undoubtedly result in higher daily expenses. Alternatively, you can opt for street food (where it’s considered safe) or prepare your own meals.

Choosing to stay in a hostel or Airbnb presents a more favourable situation. Prepare simple breakfasts and pack lunches and snacks such as sandwiches, nuts, dried fruit, and granola bars for when you’re on the move.

Travel Judiciously:

It is crucial to prevent incurring additional charges for excess baggage. The costs of carrying extra luggage accumulate rapidly, especially if you are heading to an island location and have multiple flights. Rather than paying for overweight suitcases, it would be wise to opt for travelling with only a backpack.

Alternatively, if feasible for a shorter journey, utilizing a carry-on bag would be beneficial. To maximize luggage space and maintain organized clothing, employing packing cubes is an effective method.

Out-Of-Season Travel:

Each nation experiences its peak period of tourism, typically coinciding with the summer months specific to that region. To secure more affordable airfare, it is advisable to opt for travelling during the off-season. By doing so, not only will you benefit from reduced flight costs, but you will also find that accommodations and attractions within the country have lowered their prices.

Avert The Tourist Traps:

In many destinations, the coastal areas tend to attract tourists, and consequently, there are commonly found establishments referred to as “tourist traps.” These places, such as restaurants, coffee shops, and stores, tend to inflate their prices due to the large number of visitors they receive.

To avoid unnecessary expenses, it is advisable to engage with locals, conduct research, and explore lesser-known areas instead of sticking to popular routes. By doing so, you can potentially save money during your travels.

Book In Advance And Alone:

Flight booking platforms store your search information, enabling them to track your travel preferences to specific locations. Consequently, the prices for flights can fluctuate based on the level of demand.

To ensure you secure the best deal, it is recommended to clear your browser’s cache or search using an incognito browser window before finalizing your booking.

Travel and work:

One way to save money while travelling is to consider engaging in work exchanges within the country you’re visiting or taking on freelance jobs that can be done remotely from your home country using a laptop.

This allows you to earn income while exploring new places. Certain hostels offer work/accommodation arrangements, such as working as a bartender or receptionist in exchange for complimentary lodging.

Choose A Budget Friendly Location:

If you’re interested in organizing a vacation but lack a specific location in mind, opting for a cost-effective destination can greatly reduce your expenses. While it’s possible to travel on a budget to any place with careful planning, certain destinations are inherently more affordable than others.

For instance, while Santorini may be a dream trip for many, it is considerably pricier compared to alternative options such as Croatia, Mallorca, or Malta, which offer similar experiences. Moreover, Central and South America, as well as Southeast Asia, boast numerous budget-friendly destinations worth considering.

Bring Your Snacks:

Make sure to include your preferred travel snacks in your packing checklist. Airport meals are known to be pricey, so it’s essential to bring your own food. Additionally, having convenient snacks like granola bars while you’re exploring a new destination can help cut down on dining expenses.

By avoiding the need to buy snacks or small meals, you can allocate more funds towards enjoying a lavish dinner or trying out local delicacies.

Make Use Of Credit Card Points:

Utilize the benefits of credit card rewards effectively to arrange your travel plans. Numerous credit cards provide reward programs that allow you to book flights, hotels, car rentals, and more. Alternatively, some cards offer cash-back options, enabling you to earn money back on everyday purchases and allocate it towards your travel costs.

Investigate the specific rewards offered by your credit card and make the most of those accumulated points. If you currently don’t possess a credit card but desire to obtain one, consider exploring the top travel credit cards tailored for students. Begin accruing points promptly to utilize them for future travel purposes.

Create A Budget And Follow It:

Ensure you have a budget in place before embarking on a trip to avoid unnecessary expenses. It is essential to research your destination and create a realistic spending plan to make the most of your savings. By doing so, you will have a tool to control your expenses and save money.

Many students are unaware of the various discounts available to them during their college years. Regardless of the season, there are travel deals specifically tailored for students. Take the time to search for discounts on airlines, accommodations, tours, and even cell phone data plans for your travel needs. Before booking a hotel room or tour package, inquire about student discounts and utilize discount sites, coupons, or cards to maximize your savings.


As a student, you possess the freedom from school and an ideal opportunity to explore foreign countries due to your available time. Despite the common constraint of financial limitations, there are ways to overcome them and pursue your dream of travelling abroad. By implementing the suggestions below and opting for affordable destinations suitable for college students, you can transform your aspirations of international travel into reality.

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