The travel bug bites everyone once in a while. The world has so many great things to see and so many memories to create, it’s hard not to want to explore and see everything it has to offer.
This is my very first post in my new study abroad series and I couldn’t be any more excited to write it. Ever since I got accepted into my study abroad program, I have been doing research whenever I have some extra time on my hands. So far, here are some tips that I have learned about saving some pretty pennies when you are studying abroad, or traveling in general:
One of the most expensive parts of traveling is the process of actually getting to where you want to be. We have all had to deal with the overwhelming, tiresome, time-consuming process of trying to find the cheapest flights/means of transportation possible.
Whether it’s a flight or a car ride, traveling costs both time and money. I don’t travel very much via planes but I have seen a few different websites with tools for finding cheap flights. One of which being, Google Flights. Google Flights is a search tool that pulls up flights from every airline after you type in the important details of your trip. These include things such as where you’ll be going and when you’ll be going.
Another awesome tip for finding cheap flights is to always search for them on private browsing mode. Believe it or not, the prices of flights increase when they are repeatedly searched in the same browser. Using a private browser is simple, in Google Chrome or Safari, hit Command (or “Control” if using PC), Shift, “N”. If you are using a different web browser such as Mozilla or Internet Explorer (lol talk about a throwback), hit Command (or “Control” if using a PC), Shift, “P”. Doing this will allow you to complete a “private” search and erase all of the old cookies from your last search.
Another awesome way to save money on flights is to sign up for certain reward credit card programs. A bunch of different companies take part in these credit card reward programs- basically, for every dollar, you spend you receive a set amount of points, these points can be used towards the prices of flights. In the long run, you could be getting a free flight somewhere!
When I recently booked my round trip flight for Prague I was fortunate enough to score an astonishing price! I used the student traveling website titled, STAtravel.com. This site definitely beats all other flight prices, without a doubt. Although any one can purchase flights from this site, I believe you receive the best deals if you are a current student (you need documentation to prove this).
Figuring out where to sleep can be a hefty expense when it comes to traveling. Hostels are probably your best bet if you want to stay somewhere for cheap. Hostels are like giant dorm rooms that sometimes house even up to 10+ people per room. Hostels range in budget and can sometimes even be as cheap as $10 USD. Hostels are a great opportunity to meet new people and stay in city centers without having to pay the pretty penny that other hotels charge.
LOOK FOR EXTRAS:
When searching for accommodations something important to look for is the “extras” that may or may not come along with your stay. Things like Wi-Fi, clean towels, airport pickup, and complimentary breakfast are all beneficial when it comes to saving money. Fun fact: if you take some extra fruit/granola bars at complimentary breakfasts you can eat them for lunch later on in the day!
Air BNB is a website where people come together to rent out their houses, and spare bedrooms to fellow travelers. The website even has a review section so that you can get a feel of where you’ll be staying. This option allows you to stay in a comfortable location without the hotel price tag! Weekly and monthly rates on Air BNB are quite competitive against what locals pay in terms of rent, and are almost always much cheaper than hotels.
Signing up for rewards programs can also help to save a chunk of change when it comes to staying in hotels. A lot of booking sites and even hotel agencies offer these rewards programs, where you basically earn money for every dollar you spend. This is similar to those airline programs that I touched upon before. Booking.com is just one of the many websites that has a rewards program.
If worst comes to worst, contacting an old family friend and asking to crash on their living room floor isn’t the worst thing that could happen to you! Some places in Europe, such as London, or Dublin are crazy expensive to stay overnight in. Don’t be afraid to ask around for a possible sleepover!
One of the great things about being a college student is all of the perks that come along with it. A lot of companies have college student rates because they understand how poor we are.
One specific website to check out is StudentUniverse. This website has some discounted flights and some tips and tricks on saving money when it comes to traveling via public transportation. Make sure to ask about student discounts wherever you go, because for the most part a ton of companies have programs for you! Sometimes receiving these discounts is as simple as showing a form of your college ID, but other times it can be much more elaborate where you need to show your full-time class schedule. Always have both of these on hand when asking for student discounts because you never know what will be needed.
GROUPON/RETAIL ME NOT:
Other great resources for coupons when traveling are Groupon and RetailMeNot. Always check these websites before booking vacations because more so than not, they have special deals and discounts. Sometimes they even have full travel packages at a discounted price. A friend of mine once booked a cruise for nearly half the regular price because of a deal she found on Groupon!
Familiarize yourself with wherever it is that you are going and make sure you are acquainted to the daily cost of living in that specific place. When planning out trips and activities, try (if at all possible) to rule out the unnecessary, crazy expensive tourist traps. This may come along with sacrificing a few things, but in the end you’ll still be traveling for extremely cheap.
MAKE A BUDGET:
If there is one thing that I have taken away from saving money when studying abroad it is that you must must MUST make a budget for yourself. Creating a budget, and sticking to it everyday will save you a ton of money in the long run. There are a ton of different apps, which make daily budgeting extremely simple. I’ll be writing a whole blog post about these apps in the near future, so stay tuned!
DO THE LITTLE THINGS:
The little things really do add up, especially when you are trying to save some money while traveling. Things such as packing your own lunches from home, or avoiding eating out for every meal, can help you save a ton of money.
AVOID SOUVINEERS (if possible):
Souvenirs are awesome, we know. BUT souvenirs can also be expensive, and can hurt your budget. My recommendation would be to only buy souvenirs that you absolutely need- like really need.
So there you have it, a bunch of ways to save some cash when it comes to traveling. Seeing the world doesn’t always have to cost you your life savings! As long as you take the time to do your research and use rewards programs and coupons to your benefit, you’ll be very pleased with the amount of money that you’ll save in the long run. What are your money saving tips for traveling?