It can seem like everyone is traveling in their early twenties. After all, social media is full of photos of people standing in front of the Eiffel Tower or lying on the beach in Greece. But when you’re trying to pay for college, seeing the world can seem out of the question.
If you’re a wannabe world traveler who thinks that it’s too expensive to travel in college, don’t despair! Read on to discover how to travel as a college student without going into (more) debt.
1. Go on a Trip with a Club
Check with some clubs you’re interested in to see if they take any trips during breaks or on weekends. Often, these trips are payed for using funds from the club account, so they’re completely or almost free!
For example, last semester I went backpacking for a week with my school’s outdoor club. They provided us with food, supplies, and transportation from Wisconsin to Georgia, all completely free! This is a great way to travel cheap.
Depending on how big your school is and whether or not you’re a member of the club, getting a spot on club trips may be fairly competitive. However, it’s worth a try if you want a free way to get off campus and see a new place.
2. Organize a Road Trip
If you or someone you know owns a car, you could get a group together and plan a road trip!
With a car full of people splitting costs, this can be a great way to travel inexpensively. Save money by eating some of your meals at grocery stores and staying at hostels or campgrounds.
(Also, be sure to see our guide for how to pack for a road trip for full tips!)
3. Stay with Friends
If friends are from out of town and are going home for a break or a weekend, ask if you can join them. This is one of our favorite ways to travel cheap, plus it’s great bonding time with your friends!
This way, your food and lodging will be free, and you’ll be able to see their city like a local. In exchange, don’t forget to help them out with chores and respect their schedule.
4. Go to a Conference
If a department that you’re involved in is organizing a trip to a conference, sign up to attend! Not only will you get to see a new area, but you’ll also get to learn more about a subject that you’re interested in and network.
While most of your time will be spent attending the conference, you will probably have your evenings free to explore the city.
5. Join a Frequent Flyer Program
If you go to school out of state, you probably fly a lot. It is likely worth it to set up a frequent flyer account to get some miles that could be saved up for a fun trip.
6. Plan Summer Internships with Location in Mind
If you’re planning to get a job or internship over the summer, consider finding one in a city that you haven’t been to yet. You could even intern abroad.
Wondering where to stay? Try to find internships that provide free housing. Some internships will also give you a gas stipend or subway card to help you get around.
Spending a summer working in a new city gives you plenty of time to become familiar with a new place.
7. Study Abroad
While obvious, don’t forget about studying abroad. This is the most popular tip for how to travel as a college student, because it’s actually affordable much of the time. Depending on your school, studying abroad can cost the same amount of money as a normal semester at college.
Additionally, there are plenty of scholarships for students studying abroad that you can apply for to cover extra costs like airfare.
What are your tips for how to travel as a college student?
Were these ideas helpful? How do you travel in college? What are your favorite ways to travel cheap in general? Let us know in the comments!