Sometimes we just need to escape.
When the breakneck pace of college seems like too much; when the lackluster atmosphere of your secluded college town seems like not enough; when you boyfriend breaks up with you; when you break up with your girlfriend; when you simply want to explore; these are all wonderful reasons to need a last-minute weekend getaway.
For many college students, travel can seem like a fantasy. We're strapped for both cash and time and, unfortunately, most students think that you need both to have a good trip.
However, I am here to prove them wrong. You don't need an unlimited budget for a spontaneous day trip, nor do you need an entire week to explore a city. With the advent of the internet, there are now so many resources available to enable people to travel cheaply. Below are a few of those resources plus a couple tips to help you have the best day trip or weekend jaunt ever!
Although thinking about bus stations conjures up images of depressing buildings with cracked cement and broken light fixtures, traveling by bus is, by far, the cheapest way to get someplace fast. Mainstays like Greyhound and Peter Pan have been providing accessible transportation across America for decades. Newcomers like Megabus and Bolt Bus offer some stiff competition. On both sites you can frequently find trips for as low as $1.
If bus travel is not really your style, check out Amtrak's Student Advantage. Students age 16 and older can experience the speed and comfort of a train for 10% off when you sign up.
I am not ashamed to hit up old high school acquaintances just to have a couch to sleep on in an unfamiliar city. If you need to get away and you need a place to stay, it's time to take a slice of humble pie and DM that girl from your hometown who's now living in the big city.
Or... you could hit up Airbnb.com. Airbnb is a relatively new platform that connects possible renters with willing hosts from around the world. Listings can range anywhere from a single bedroom to an entire mansion. You can choose to stay for as long as you want, although most hosts require that you stay for at least a night.
Airbnb is almost always cheaper than staying in a hotel for a night, and since you're staying in someone's actual home, the experience is usually very tailored and personalized to your needs.
Plan, or Don't
Decide early (well, as early as you can) what you want to get out of your trip. Do you need some time to decompress in seclusion? Or do you want to get out and see the city? Planning ahead of time prevents you from wasting time at your destination.
Listen, I understand that most fashionistas would consider themselves over-packers but now is not the time for such shenanigans. Pack light! If you're only going to be in a city overnight, do you really need 3 outfit options? Try to limit yourself to either a backpack, a large tote, or a small duffle bag for your trip. Can you imagine carrying your bag around all day? If not, bring something else.
Some of the best (and cheapest) trips out of town are either super early or ridiculously late at night. Since you don't have the luxury of snagging deals early on, you have to catch them where you can. Be flexible when it comes to choosing a departure and arrival time. Although rates on Airbnb are usually fixed, if you stay somewhere else, see if you can get a discount for checking in late at night or early in the morning.
What Do You Think?
Have you guys ever taken a spontaneous trip out of town? Have you ever used Airbnb? What's your favorite way to get around the country? Let us know in the comments!