Travel Hacks for Students on a Shoestring Budget
Much has already been written about travel hacking or using unconventional but nifty ways to score low-cost flights and accommodation and to make travelling in general a lot better experience. After all, who does not want getting the most value for their money?
Travel Hacks for Students – Travel for College Students
While taking advantage of accumulated miles especially from using credit cards is a great tip, students who do not have that much disposable income have to deal with a more limited budget. Fret not, though. Make the most out of your being a student, find ways to study abroad, experience diversity — these best travel hacks and more will have you travelling the world even if you’re still in school.
#1 Plan, Plan, Plan
Plan your Trip
Also Read: Planning the Perfect Trip
Whether it’s your first or nth time to travel on your very own budget, it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to start with good old planning. Everything else on this list will depend on your plan. List down what your destinations are, what you want to see and to experience, when you are going, who your companions are, if you’re tagging friends along, and how much your budget is.
#2 Conscientiously Do Your Research on Flights
Research and Save on Flights
Always compare prices on different websites as a flight can have different prices on foreign versions of airline sites. You may also want to check smaller airports as the bigger ones charge higher airport taxes. And oh, surf the internet in incognito mode — airlines can detect the most eyed flights, giving them leeway in increasing prices.
#3 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone When Looking for Accommodation
Find Cheap Hostels
Translation: Eschew the pricey, high-end hotels. There are tons of hostels, apartments, and even couches in convenient locations at terrific prices. While these do not offer the luxury of five-star hotels, you won’t be spending your entire stay holed up in your room. To begin with, the whole point of travel is to explore the locale. If you are uncomfortable with staying at some stranger’s pad or particular with bathrooms, let the reviews from other travelers help set your expectations.
#4 Allot Enough Time to Do the Paperwork
Get your passport ready
Applying for and renewing your passport, visa, and other required documents can take some time so make sure you work on this as soon as you start mapping out your itinerary. A rule of thumb here is that passports should be valid for at least six months on top of the entire duration of your travel abroad. Also, for underage travelers, secure a travel authorization for you to board. Double check as different countries have different issuing procedures.
#5 Take Advantage of Your School Breaks to Travel Off Peak
Travel During School Breaks
Aside from freelancers, students have the greatest opportunities to travel during the off-peak season and save on fare and accommodation. Use your long holidays, spring and winter breaks that can start before the peak season arrives. To help you with the best time to book, the Kayak Travel Guide rounded up the ideal windows for different destinations. Flying domestic? Booking within three to seven weeks is okay. If you are turning Japanese (Tokyo is on the rise) or are simply headed to Asia, plan nine to ten months ahead.
#6 Ask for Student Discounts
Make the most out of your student status. For instance, sign up for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). Recognized as “the only internally accepted proof of bona fide student status,” this card can get you reduced rates in museums, bookstores, cinemas, public transport, and eateries in over 125,000 locations. Look for Student Discounts or student rates at establishments or ask if they have one. Even if you don’t have an ISIC, it is still worth a shot to inquire as long as you have your student ID with you. In rare occasions, some airlines are providing Student Discount Flights.
#7 Find Fantastic International Study Programs
Travel Programs for Students
Expand your horizons by studying abroad. Scour scholarship programs provided by a myriad of academic institutions and global groups. With countless online resources out there, you are apt to find a Travel Programs for Students that will best suit you. For example, Diversity Abroad, one of the leading international organizations, offers opportunities for students to study in Europe and experience European culture.
#8 Complete the Necessary Vaccines
Being young and adventurous does not make you invincible from whatever disaster that could happen out there. Make sure you are up to date with vaccines that can include those that prevent tetanus and yellow fever. Aside from the fact that some destinations may strictly require vaccination, it always pays to take preventive measures in caring for your health.
#9 Make and Keep Connections
Making friends with people from different locations does not only make your travel more satisfying, it can also snag you pretty awesome deals the next time you visit their place. Some can offer you lower rates on their apartment while some can lend you their couch for free. Also, a trusted local in a foreign land can help you better explore their community, reducing the need to hire a travel guide.
#10 Find Gigs so You Can Earn Money
Find part-time work during school days
If you’re a full-time student, juggling a full-time, regular job is not a good option. However, you can still find part-time work during school days and even while you are abroad. If you have a way with words, try freelance writing stints. If you will be staying for an extended period of time in a country where English is not the first language, you may want to offer tutorial sessions based on your availability.
#11 Start Educating Yourself on Financial Literacy
If you want to indulge in more travel while you have yet to finish school, you need to start handling money responsibly as early as now. Take it from Hao Tran from Brown University, who visited 6 continents and 30 countries while in school. Emphasizing the importance of financial literacy in the long run, he explains that a good credit standing will not only get you miles, it will also help you rent an apartment or obtain a mortgage. In this way, while travelling does come with certain costs, you gain from the whole experience by learning to be money-savvy so you can travel some more.
Live through a variety of learning experiences and adventures as you go globetrotting. With these travel hacks for students, you can now travel the world even on a shoestring budget.