Quality Without Quantity
You can still have an amazing, “first-class” experience, even on a college-student’s budget. A memorable, unique trip for you and your friends is easy, if you just plan ahead!
Saving money is a huge concern with college students. Even though we frequently cut corners, we don’t have to do so when traveling. Traveling is the one time that you can have a first-class experience without breaking the bank! You just need to know the facts before starting on any kind of journey, whether it’s a long weekend or spring break. It is best to break up your budget into sections so that you won’t have to worry when you’re living it up on vacation!
- Food: Food is an important part of any culture and should definitely be experienced! Try new foods that may be significant to that culture, but don’t load up on the most expensive dish. It’s a good idea to think about your meals before you go, so you don’t over-spend. Also, try not to go out to expensive places every night. To cut costs elsewhere, find a local grocery store or market and stock up on inexpensive snacks such as cereal boxes, crackers, and fruits that can be easily portable. If traveling by car, plan ahead and pack things such as bread, sandwich fixings, juice boxes, and other snacks that don’t need refrigeration. This will save you time and money having to stop at every deli or restaurant on the road.
- Museums, Attractions, Etc.: Whether you are just going to the beach or taking a road trip around the Midwest, there will be unplanned events that you will want to spend money on. You definitely don’t have to sit around your hotel room because you’re on a budget and you’re trying to have a wonderful experience in a new place. Don’t run out of money towards the end of your trip; you won’t have a good time if you keep bumming money off your friends. Instead, do your research! Search for free things to do in the cities or towns you will be visiting. For example, there are many free museums or museums that offer free admission on certain days. If that isn’t your thing, then check out student discounts for tourist attractions, because many places have them even if they aren’t readily advertised. Many cities and towns across the country also have music festivals, town parties, dances, etc. that are an excellent way to immerse yourself in another culture or branch out and meet new people!
- Lodging: The key here is to plan ahead. There are many websites available that offer discounted hotel rooms as well as student prices. If you are planning on a relaxing vacation, spend a little more on the hotel and don’t go out every night for food. For a genuine road-trip experience, you can also search websites where people all over the country rent out their rooms or even couches for travelers to crash on. If you do this, you can spend all your time doing as much as possible!
Shopping: This really depends on your preference and where you visit, but you can still have a first-class experience and visit some wonderful stores. If designer clothes are your thing, check out the nearest outlets. Many places also have funky vintage stores, boutiques, and locally owned stores that offer unique shopping experiences. Don’t plan on buying your entire wardrobe on your trip, because you will use both space in your suitcase and all of your funds. Instead, pick up a few things that you won’t find anywhere else!
Remember that having an empty wallet is no excuse for not having fun! There are so many things available to college students, whether its special discounts or free events. Take advantage of these, and see the world while you still can!
by Katherine Sears