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Vacation on a Budget

When one thinks of summer vacations for college students, tropical all-inclusive resorts seem to be the norm; however, if your budget does not allow you to sip cocktails for seven days on a superior island, don’t give up on a summer vacation just yet.

Planning summer vacations with a college student’s budget can be difficult, but it is by no means impossible. The following helpful vacation tips will allow your much deserved summer getaway to become a reality, without breaking the bank.

Rutgers University student, Megan Schaefer, is shying away from the traditional college student getaway this summer in choosing to take a road trip to Manchester, Tennessee.

“I am going to the four day musical festival referred to as Bonnaroo,” said Schaefer.

Road trips are a great way to cut the cost of plane tickets, depending on how many people you travel with. Despite dramatic gas prices, when splitting the cost amongst passengers it does not have as much of an impact on your wallet.

However, the indie-rock loving fan has advice for those contemplating taking the 15 hour drive for themselves.

“This event isn’t for everyone. I’ll be spending four days in the blistering heat, without a real shower and eating whatever I was able to pack into the car. It sounds crazy, I know but it’s the modern day Woodstock! I wouldn’t miss it.”

With Schaefer’s advice in mind, vacations are all about personal preference. If a road trip isn’t for you, there are other ways to save and cut personal budget costs in order to enjoy a well deserved vacation this summer.

Lisa Sypniewski, a sophomore, said “This summer, my mother booked a vacation to Jamaica using a travel agent.” Travel agents can be pretty pricey though.

Websites such as Kayak, Travelocity, Priceline, and Hotwire are great ways to book cheap vacation trips. Each site offers a large selection of vacation destinations for every budget.

Although these sites are trusted, you can never be too cautious when purchasing a discounted vacation. There are thousands of discounted vacation sites online that are scams, looking for naïve customers to believe their “great deals” are real. offers great insight when it comes to traveling. The site advises those looking to book hotels, airfares, car rentals, or any other travel essential to be cautious and read the fine print on every deal.

Whether choosing to fly to your tropical destination or taking a day-long road trip, researching your destination before your departure and packing your own food are two great ways to help elongate your tight vacation budget.

Spending some time researching your vacation destination is a necessity when it comes to saving money. Taking a few minutes out of your day before you begin your summer traveling can prove to save hundreds!

Professor Kristine Simoes, professor of public relations, stresses the importance of doing research in professional and recreational aspects in one’s life. She often uses the website in order to get great deals for less.

“Groupon offers coupons for everything. Type in any city a week before you travel in order to get coupons that will not expire,” said Simoes.

Simoes advises those interested in Groupon to look up their coupons not too far ahead of their vacation departure. Most of the coupons offered on Groupon’s website expire within a certain amount of time.

Be sure to read the fine print on all coupons to avoid any mistakes that can end up costing you extra money.

Another way to save while on your vacation: packing your own food.

Packing a few food items to lighten the burden of paying for over-priced meals three times a day is a great way to save some cash while vacationing. Food items, such as protein bars or granola bars, are great breakfast, lunch, or snack options that have the ability to satisfy hunger, while avoiding draining your vacation budget.

This tip not only helps out your budget, but your diet as well. After all, why would you want to ruin the hard work you put into your fitness for the sole purpose of looking good for your vacation?

Once again, it all comes down to individual preferences. What would you rather spend your money on: an average burger priced above three times its value, or an activity to remember for years to come?

As the semester comes to an end, between writing papers and studying for hours a personal reward is well deserved. What better reward is there than a vacation?

By staying on budget, and keeping a few cost cutting tips in mind there is no excuse not to enjoy yourself this summer at your desired destination.