Traveling is a great way to immerse yourself in a culture that may be different from your own, learn new things about other countries, and get a couple of cute, artsy photos for Instagram. Your twenties is a great time to travel around — whether it’s a couple hundred miles from home or a couple thousand — because you have fewer responsibilities, there may be more discounts available to you, and you might still be discovering yourself and what you want to do. I don’t know about you, but I’d jump on a chance to have an adventure for less money. Here are some of my tips for saving some dough on your next trip!
1. Look for student rates.
Websites like StudentUniverse help college students save hundreds of dollars on their travel plans, and you might as well take advantage of being a college student while you’re still in college! You can find deals on flights, hotels and other living accommodations, tours, and more. Don’t be afraid to really dig around for the best prices. I used to think that searching around was really tedious, but it’s definitely worth it if it means you get to keep a couple hundred dollars in your pocket.
2. Book travel packages.
I really love going onto EF College Break to browse through all the travel packages they offer, even if I’m not planning a trip immediately. They allow you to take trips to multiple cities around the world for a certain number of days. You must follow the itinerary they provide, but most of the trips include transportation between cities, breakfast, and city passes. This is a really great way to see multiple cities for one price. Sometimes, you can find packages that include trips between different countries, too.
3. Apply to be a volunteer.
Volunteering abroad is a great way to do something that’s bigger than yourself while also getting to see different parts of the world. Some programs may only provide you with living accommodations and food, so you may have to pay for your own ticket. You may have to check really early for programs, though; application processes could close earlier than you might expect. Lots of college campuses also have clubs/organizations where students travel to different countries to volunteer. My school has Students Helping Honduras and Alternative Spring Break Outreach, for example.
4. Get a job or internship abroad.
This is often easier said than done…getting a visa to work in another country is only one part of the process. You’ll also have to think about where you’re going to live and how you’re going to eat, and whether your compensation at work would be enough to cover these costs. I guess this one can sometimes work out to be a little more expensive than you might expect, but I really wanted to put this one on here. I think that this idea is so extremely life-changing if you can swing it. Sometimes local universities will host interns, but be sure to call ahead to ask.
5. Check out Groupon.
You never know what you might find on Groupon! My friends booked an all-inclusive trip this summer for less than $800 through Groupon, and I was blown away by the amount of money they saved. I had no idea that Groupon could help you save on trips, so I really wanted to put this one on here in case anyone else wasn’t aware of this.
6. Find the cheapest destinations.
What better way to travel cheaply than to visit a cheap destination! Kiwi.com basically shows you this map with some of the biggest cities and the prices for flights there, so you can easily pick a destination that suits your budget. This is a super handy tool!
7. Book your tickets ahead of time.
As much as I love spontaneous, last minute adventures, booking ahead of time is an important step to securing your travel plans for cheap. The closer you get to your intended departure date, the more you’ll likely have to pay for the tickets and any other accommodations. I know sometimes you might get that random urge to get out of your city and go somewhere else, but try to keep this in mind.
8. Use Amtrak.
Who says travel means only going by air? If you’re trying to travel to other states, it may sometimes be cheaper to book Amtrak tickets, depending on which state you want to visit. Be on the lookout for those Amtrak ticket prices, especially if you don’t plan to spend longer than about a week in another state.
9. Stay in a hostel.
I didn’t have great experiences when I lived in hostels in Ireland, but I will admit that they’re great ways for travelers to have a roof over their heads for a short amount of time. I wrote a slightly sassy article about my experience in hostels over on Thought Catalog if you’re curious about what that was like (p.s. it got over 600 shares and I’m super excited about that!) If you aren’t too keen on living and sleeping with complete strangers at night in a foreign country, I recommend traveling with a small group of friends and booking a room in a hostel that’s just big enough for your group.
10. Stay with friends or family.
Time to call up your father’s stepsister’s great aunt and ask her if she wants company in England this summer! If you have friends or relatives who live in another city or country, staying at their house would be a great way for you to save money on your trip because you won’t have to worry about paying for a hotel or hostel. And when they want to visit you in your city, you can return the favor.
What are your tips for cheap travel?