I’m broke, and I want to travel.

Let’s face it – most of us college-kids are broke or have been broke before. What’s the one thing that holds you back from traveling the world? Money. Oh yeah… I don’t have that…

It’s easy to get lost online and look up ‘cheap’ flights to Italy and dream of sitting in a coffee shop in Florence. But then reality hits, and you’re sitting in a dingy lecture hall drinking old coffee instead. Traveling is expensive. But there are many ways you can pull of a beautiful European vacation, even if you can only afford ramen for dinner. Read below for some tips on traveling when you have little-to-no-money to begin with!

First, prioritize saving money.

How did I do this? Well, I got a second job. Working retail, as dreary as it was, was a quick way for me save paychecks and not worry about being in a long-term committed job. After four paydays, I had saved up for my flight and said, “bye-bye Forever 21”.

If you don’t have time for a second job…

Work while you’re traveling. Think rationally – if you don’t have any money before your travels, then you’re not going to have any during your trip. You can get a work visa – it’s easier than it sounds. Or, if you don’t want a work visa, then you can get small jobs that pay under-the-table, like babysitting, bartending, or field/farm work (just don’t get too picky). Check out the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Italy website for more details on how visas work out of the country!

“Where do I sleep?”

If you are traveling abroad, you’ll need a place to stay. There are many websites available for broke travelers that need living accommodations! Try sharing hotel rooms or spaces like Airbnb. The best part is, you get to meet new and fun people during your stay.

“I can’t wait to eat at all the Italian restaurants!”

NO. Best way to save money? Go to local grocery stores. Europe has some great prices on fruit, bread, cheese, pasta, and even wine. By cooking your own food, you’re not only saving a few bucks but you’re also getting more food for your buck.

Many tourist attractions offer student discounts.

While I traveled to Italy, I noticed that beautiful art museums or historical sites will give you 25% - 50% off attractions if you show your student ID! For example, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and the Uffizi Gallery all offered discounted rates.

That being said, try to stay out of tourist traps.

I wanted to go to Venice really bad, but hotels in the area average $500 a night! What did I do? I stayed in Murano, which was a little island outside of Venice that had a hotel for $80 a night that I split with a friend. The bonus was that I didn't know that Murano was considered the glass-blowing capital of Italy! I wouldn't have found this beautiful little town if it weren't for my broke-self. Sometimes drifting away from the path less taken, is the best path to take! You end up finding the heart of cities and cultures when you stay in abnormal places.

“What about transportation?”

I found that trains and buses are the cheapest options. Yes, they may take a long time to get from point A to point B, but you get to see gorgeous countryside that you would have missed if you could afford a plane. Trains also cross country borders, so I took a train from France to Italy for under $30. Short train rides from city to city are even cheaper!