- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 30 November 2016
- Written by KERRY BREEN | COPY EDITOR
For many college students, being broke is a lifestyle. With money going towards food, textbooks and activities, it can be hard to save. However, traveling on a college student budget is not impossible, and can even be affordable if one looks in the right places.
The two most common financial hurdles when traveling tend to be the cost of actual travel, such as airfare, train tickets, and the housing that one requires when traveling.
One way to avoid paying for costly transportation is to obviously opt for the least expensive method. Airplanes tend to be the most expensive, although they are usually the fastest way of getting from point to point. Buses, on the other hand, are usually the cheapest option but may take several days if the distance is extreme enough. Trains tend to be a middle ground, but their prices and travel times can vary. In some cases, traveling by car can be an option, but one also has to then factor in the cost of gas and parking.
Sometimes, however, one is left with only the option of traveling by plane, especially when going long distances or traveling abroad. While air travel tends to be the most expensive, it also provides the most ways to save money.
There are entire websites dedicated to finding cheap flights, and even smartphone apps. One called Hopper, allows the user to select flight dates and either purchase the flight immediately or “watch” the flight. The app will then inform you if the prices fluctuate in either direction or even let you know if they will rise or fall in the next few days. The app also analyzes how likely it is that the price will rise or fall and advises the user to purchase accordingly. It also compares various airlines, meaning that users can choose from a wide variety of options.
Personally, this is what I used when flying to Los Angeles last weekend. My round-trip flight from Newark to L.A. – with layovers in San Francisco and Chicago – cost just 200 dollars when booked on Hopper a month and a half in advance. The app is cheap and convenient, and easy to use.
Junior communication student Kristina Caliendo, who recently returned from a semester studying abroad in England, swears by using discount websites to find low-cost flights.
“If you plan in advance, everything is cheaper,” she noted. “Skyscanner.net is the best. It pulls up cheap flights and you can compare the rates, said Caliendo.
There are also entire airlines devoted to cheap air travel, such as Spirit. While the airline boasts record-breaking low flights, those flying on it have to pay for things that are taken for granted on most airlines, such as carry-on bags. Caliendo also recommended flying on Ryanair or EasyJet.
When it comes to housing, hostels are a huge benefit. They are typically cheap, but not as comfortable as a hotel or motel, and are usually reminiscent of college dorms, with several people sharing a room. The rooms can be co-ed or separated by gender, but that can vary based upon the hostel and the price range one is working with. Some hostels offer individual or double rooms for a slightly higher fee, but one that is still lower than that of hotels. Hostels offer benefits such as kitchens, so if one is staying in the area for a while, they can buy food and prepare it there, to save money on food.
There are numerous small costs, such as food, daily transport like getting from one location to another, picking up souvenirs, or other, more menial things, such as ATM fees or even money-exchange fees, if one is traveling in a foreign country.
For these situations, one just needs to be aware of the world around them. Caliendo recommends getting food from convenience stores to avoid the cost of eating at restaurants. When it comes to the more tedious banking information, it’s a case of just being aware, and maybe being willing to be inconvenienced to save a few dollars in the long run. Daily transport can also be cheapened if one is willing to use public transportation, such as buses or subways, or even walk on foot if the journey is too daunting.
Just because your bank account might be lacking in enrichment that doesn’t mean that your life should also be. Cross some destinations off your bucket-list by following these tips for affordable traveling.
PHOTO COURTESY of Allison Perrine
PHOTO COURTESY of Meaghan Wheeler