How I Travelled A lot While Being in College.
By College Tourist Contributor of 09/16/17
Traveling can be very costly and time-consuming!
Author: Nicole Rafalko Travels of a A College Kid
We all want to be able to pick up and just go travel. As a full-time college student while working a part-time job it can be hard for me to travel. In 2016 I have managed to travel over a dozen times! Now to some of you that does not seem a lot, but being a college student and working part-time it is. My friends always asked me how do I manage to do it. Here are some tips and tricks that I have picked up not just last year, but over the course of my college career! This does include road trips, airplane rides, and so much more. Hopefully this can help some of you travel more and cheaper!
1. Sign up for frequent flyer programs
I can honestly promise you this will change so much and make things cheaper. I usually fly with Southwest Airlines. When I noticed that I’m going to have to be travelling more and more I acted quickly. I took a look at every frequent flyer program out there and I decided on Southwest for all of my domestic travel here in the US and Iceland Airlines for my international travels. I would fly Southwest so frequently last year that I kept earning miles which earned me free tickets. They also kept sending goodies in the mail. Shoutout to Southwest for treating their loyalty customers pretty awesome. Find an airline you love and fly with often and join their mileage program. It earns you other perks such as free upgrades, access to the airport lounges and so much more.
2. Save Save Save Save
I always set aside money into my savings account each pay period for travelling or whatever else I wanted. As time went on my account grew and grew. Set yourself a budget during the pay period and the put the rest into savings. I usually split my paycheck in half. I set a budget for how much I am going to spend for the pay period while putting the other half into my savings account. It adds up quick and it has taught me what to actually spend my money on.
3. Compare Travel Websites
I love using Sky Scanner as a comparison website for airlines. I usually put in dates that I want and see what there is. What is also great about Skyscanner is you can see flights for the whole month and pick which prices are best! I usually will either book through them or go to the airline directly because sometimes they are cheaper than 3rd party websites. Make sure you clear your cache when looking at prices. Sometimes the websites will look at that information and raise prices because you looked often. I have no idea. It is just one of those sneaky tactics. For my military families I like to use USD Travel! They offer great prices for the family members of the military. You send in a request form and they get back to you within a business day with prices and itinerary.
4. Stay with Friends or AirBnB
I travelled to Texas the most last year and I had family and friends that live there. I crashed with them and spent time with them. I highly recommend if you know someone at your destination it does not hurt to ask to stay with them! It will save you hundreds of dollars. If you do not know someone at your destination I highly recommend AirBnB. Not only are they affordable, but they have nice housing. You can either get a room to yourself or a whole condo or house! It is going to cost about half the price of staying in a hotel. You will also save money by cooking for yourself instead of going out to eat all the time. Some will offer weekly or even monthly discounts!
5. Be Flexible
A lot of travel websites will show you the cheapest place to go if you are flexible. SkyScanner is amazing for this! Just type in city of origin and click anywhere for the destination. Sit back and watch all the cool destinations you can fly to for a cheaper price!
6. Rebate Program
There are so many programs out there where you can earn money from shopping. I use ibotta and ebates! Those are both good and easy to use! I just scan my receipts for ibota and the rebates come up. The money is put into my account and it’s a couple of extra dollars in my pocket. It does add up overtime too. So I get money just from doing everyday shopping! One rebates app you can use for travel is ibotta. They give cash back for hotel bookings and uber rides. Ebates gives 10% cash back if you book through expedia.com. So you even get money because you travel.
7. Traveling on a Week Day
Normally when I travel if I do not have class I leave on a Thursday and come home on Monday. If you leave and come back on a week day you will save money. This does not have to be during this school year. This can apply to Winter breaks, Spring breaks, and Summer breaks. Keep a close eye out on travel websites because some of them will be cheap when you book on a Tuesday afternoon.
8. Travel With Others
When you travel with others it can make things a lot cheaper. Not only could you and your friends split the cost of things, but this also gives you a chance to be able to afford upgrades because you are splitting the price. My friends and I are planning to go on a girls cruise next year. Since there is around 7-8 of us going we can try to get a better room. Plus it is also more fun travelling with other people! Whether it is a significant other or friends traveling in groups that are more than just you are definitely the way to go.
9. Plan Early
I will not begin to stress how planning early is going to make things so much cheaper. For domestic trips I usually plan at least 4 weeks in advanced. I have noticed that once you hit the 3 weeks prior before you go mark prices sky rocketed. For international travels I usually plan 4-6 months in advanced. It depends on where I go on how early I book my trips. The girls cruise that I mentioned early in my post we are planning it at least 10 months to a year in advanced!
10. Asked for Travel Gift Cards During Holidays
I swear these gift cards can do wonders. Once I started to travel a whole lot I always asked for travel gift cards for my birthday or Christmas. I never wanted anything big and fancy. I just wanted the ability to travel more. I saved the gift cards and sometimes I would use a small amount of one and then my regular debit card. Other times I would use the bigger amount ones. Saving them has saved me a lot of money and have given me the ability to travel more. You can get gift cards for almost anything such as flights, gas, hotel, cruises, and so much more!
11. Do Weekend Trips!
Weekend trips can be fun and easier to manage! I usually go to nearby cities that are driving distance or even a short flight! It’s an easy way to travel and a chance to relax from the busy week! Go to a new city nearby and go explore it! Plan a weekend girls trip! Go with friends! Just take the weekend and go!
Got anymore travel tips? Leave them in the comments below!