We’ve always been told that college is the time to explore new things: new interests, new people, and new places. There’s no denying that four years at the university of your choice is already providing you with plenty of unique and surprising experiences – remember Four Loko? – but when it comes time to branch out a bit, the best place to be is abroad, at least for a little while.
Unfortunately, flying across the pond and shelling out the big bucks for daily expenses (not to mention for tuition and room and board) is far from collegiette budget-friendly. It’s not impossible, though; Her Campus has compiled a list of cheap travel options for those of us who really want to experience life in a new culture but just can’t scrape up the funds to do it (or simply want to save some zeros in our checking accounts).
Pre-planned Group Trips/Travel Packages
If you’re dying to train-hop and backpack between your dream destinations (and aren’t really in the mood to study... or go to class...), a pre-planned group trip will give you the freedom you crave and will be much more cost-effective than any trip you could plan on your own with friends. Contiki [www.contiki.com], HC’s favorite travel company, offers vacation packages for people between the ages of 18 and 35 at a high discount, meaning you’ll get to hit up all of the best tourist spots with a group of people around your age (but still get as much free time as you want to enjoy some epic foreign escapades) for hundreds less than you would if you went on your own. Michelle Murray, Director of Sales & Marketing at Contiki, explains, “We buy all of our hotel accommodations and other packages in bulk, so we get great rates, and we pass those savings on to our clients.”
The secret? Book early! You can save up to $585 if you book and pay for your trip a year in advance or up to $325 if you book and pay for it six months beforehand. Depending on how far a distance you’re traveling, you might be saving yourself almost the entire cost of one of your plane tickets. Flying for free? Definitely HC-approved!
Contiki offers further discounts by destination. “We have savings throughout the year,” says Murray. “There are always different regions on sale.” Who knows? Maybe your dream spot will be on sale this time! There are even more discounts for those who reserve a spot with a group of four, seven, or 10, so grab your BFF, your BF, and heck, even your lab partner, and get going! An added bonus: if you go with a professional company and a group rather than alone, you’re guaranteed to avoid all of the “oh sh*t” moments from EuroTrip.