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Summer Travel on a Student Budget

July 6, 2012

Backpack

Summer vacation is the perfect time for— well— vacation!  Whether it’s a getaway with college buddies or a reunion trip with old friends, travelling over the summer can be awesome for college students.  After all, exchanging last semester’s textbooks for sunglasses and a beach towel would likely feel pretty satisfying.  However, calculating costs for a summer trip is usually fairly dissatisfying.  It can be overwhelming planning a vacation while on a student budget, but if you consider these 5 simple tips, you’ll be on your way to saving some serious summer cash!

1. Book early
It’s always smart to plan ahead.  Have a vacation destination in mind?  Set a date with your friends ASAP!  The earlier you book, the less expensive it will be.  This goes for airplanes, buses, and more!  Be aware of any dates that might be particularly busy where and when you travel.  Maybe there’s a festival or concert in town; unless you’re attending, try to avoid going during that time.  Not only will it be more difficult to find lodging, but prices can be jacked up for transportation too.  Traveling mid-week and avoiding any holidays are usually good moves.  So do some research and plan ahead.  Not only will you save money, you’ll also have more time to prepare for the trip and to plan out an itinerary.

2. Drive
If plane tickets are going to do serious damage to your budget, consider driving. Transform the journey to your destination into a road trip!  It will give you the opportunity to take in scenery and make pit stops at any interesting sites that you might stumble upon.  Divide up gas costs between everyone in your group.  Helping to pay for a long drive is likely much cheaper than paying for round-trip airplane tickets.

3. Camp out
When travelling over the summer, especially if you plan on staying in a few different locations during the trip, consider choosing a campsite for your lodging.  It is significantly less expensive, and camping out is like an adventure in itself.  State parks are a great place to check out first.  Campsites are easy to find, so look for one in the desired area, pack up a tent, and get ready to pitch it.  Get a little rugged, enjoy nature, and save save save!

4. BYOF (bring your own food)
When packing for your trip, include a bag with some basic food items.  If packing space is tight, look up the nearest grocery store to your travel destination, and make a quick run there when you arrive.  Buying groceries for the trip will help you save a lot of money in the long run.  Restaurants are convenient and fun when vacationing, but the bills will quickly add up!  It’s not worth it to eat out for every meal.

5. Student discounts
Always keep your eye open for student discounts.  It seems like an obvious tip, but sometimes you have to do a little digging to find the good deals.  Hostels are great to house travelling college students, and many have special rates for students.  Look online for websites offering travel discounts to college students, and bring your student ID on your vacation.  You never know who will give you a few bucks off just for carrying your college card.  Whether it’s a museum or a movie theater, it’s always nice to take advantage of discounts!

So, before you pack your bags and set out with your friends this summer, consider the aforementioned tips.  Save money that you can use toward tourist attractions and souvenirs, or put put it in a money jar that can go toward your next trip!

 

 

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