In college, want to travel? There are two types of travelling. Travelling that you need to do: birthdays, weddings, Christmases. Then there is travelling you want to do. While tips overlap for both, there are some vital differences that can save you quite a bit of money if you plan it right.
When you know you need to travel for Christmas dinner or a wedding that is coming up, you have weeks, if not months to look around, book tickets and start paying for them. Plane tickets are often cheaper when you book in advance, you can set up alerts for deals for rooms, flights, car rentals and snag the best ones.
When travelling for fun though, it is a little different. You can definitely plan it knowing where you want to go, what you want to do and when you want to go, then scout around for deals.
But, with websites like Groupon and zozigetaways coming up, there are also fantastic deals for rooms and flights you can buy and then plan your trip around that.
If you are a less plan-it-all type person, a little more adventurous and a little less picky about where you stay and how you get there, here are some awesome alternative ideas:
Instead of staying at a hotel, stay in a hostel or look up couch surfing websites. Basically, people in a place you want to go to are letting you bunk on their couch for substantially less than what you pay for a hotel and you maybe help with the dishes or meals. It is a great way to save money and meet some really cool locals. Walk, take the bus, or rideshare to your destination. It saves you gas, money and less stopping for rest. Rent a campsite – it has a tent and a bathroom basically and that is what you will be paying for.
My other essential tips:
Always bring snacks along. I love peanut butter cookies and cheese and ham with crackers. My fiance loves fruits and nuts. We started bringing snacks after realizing how much we spent on eating out because we were starving by the time we stopped. If you are going to eat out, do it in the afternoon and pack up the rest for dinner. Don’t get gas just off the highway. There are many apps, and you can also look it up pre-trip, that can tell you where the cheapest prices in the area is. Just make sure you don’t make up the difference by driving 8 miles out of the way for gas. – And pay in cash when you can. It usually is cheaper.
Personally, one of our biggest expenses is that one big sit-down meal out. Which is something I don’t want to change, but have found a way to save on. Again, deal websites come to the rescue. We put in the place we think we will be eating around in the deal site, pick one that looks good and has good reviews, then print out a deal. Personally, one of my biggest expenses is gifts, for myself and my family. Now, instead of just getting souvenir to remind me of someplace, I get something I can use everyday – clothing or earrings. For the family, I upload pictures and send them as postcards.
These are some of the ways I have saved money. Mostly, before a trip, I try to look up as much as I can about it so I know what to expect and where I can cut corners.