Pretty much every college student can agree with the mantra I’ve been using since freshman year: If it’s free, it’s for me. We are all trying to have it all, but on a budget. Let’s face it – it’s hard to do. With fall break coming up, we all wish we were traveling but know there are limited means. So here are some fun travel tips for the people who can’t spend all of their hard-earned grocery money on a trip.
1. Go somewhere that’s not too close, but not too far.
From the University of Maine, there is an endless amount of possibilities for quick weekend getaways that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. For instance, Acadia National Park is so close that it’s not even funny. One hour and you’re in one of Maine’s most beautiful places. Whether you go for just a day trip or stay for a few days, there are ways to do it cheaply. You’ll want to spend most of your time at the destination of your trip instead of traveling to the actual location since you only have a quick break from the stresses of school.
2. If you’re staying the night, do it right!
Today’s world of travel makes overnights so cheap and easy to plan if you know where to look. Hostels sometimes have a bad reputation, but they are as safe as can be and are an excellent choice when looking to stay for a short period of time. My personal favorite place to find hostels is http://www.hostelworld.com/. The only trouble is, sometimes it’s harder to find hostels in Maine. If you are looking to visit a place in Maine for fall break, look no further than https://www.airbnb.com/. With hundreds of locations across the state and country, it is easy and frugal! Staying with my Downeaster theme, I looked at Bar Harbor as my destination and there were SO many options. Prices range from as little as around $50/night to whatever you’d like to spend. You can choose to rent a private room, or an entire house. Airbnb is definitely a great option for any travel destination! One way to travel is to find someone in the area of which you’d like to be traveling. You can tell them that you’re free to house/pet sit whenever they need, and this gives you a free place to stay!
3. BRING FRIENDS!
The easiest way to save money when traveling is to invite more people. The more people, the more ways you can split costs. Carpooling not only is better for the environment, but also for your wallet. Having to pay for half or less of a tank of gas is a huge savings victory in my book. Sharing the cost of the actual travel and where you stay dramatically reduces your personal spending without ruining the trip. Plus, who doesn’t like fun road trips with your best friends?!?!
We all know that you can’t spend $12 on that shirt, but will gladly buy a burrito for the same amount. Why? Because it is immediate gratification. And food loves you back. Even though we hate spending money, food is always the first place it goes. One way to cut costs here is to buy food from the grocery store when you travel instead of going out for every meal (go with your friends to cut costs even more!). Visiting places like Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park with a peanut butter and jelly in hand beats a 5-star restaurant any day. Picnics and packed lunches are KEY for saving on a trip.
5. Do your research.
The best way to save on a trip is to plan ahead. Grab your planners and have a goal. Setting a spending limit also helps reduce temptations in gift shops. Spontaneous adventures are always a good idea, but planning is even better in regards to savings. You don’t have to go overboard (which I am usually guilty of, my organization skills are a blessing and a curse) because for fall break, it will most likely be a quick trip. Having options is great to compare pricing, just remember that you are trying to have fun!
6. Bring your camera.
Even if you aren’t the best photographer, always try to remember to take pictures during your trips and adventures. This will be good for reminiscing to your kids when you’re older about the great times you had in college (falling asleep in the lib not shown). Making a bucket list and adding the pictures to each item after you complete it gives such a sense of accomplishment and adventure!