Travel Guide for Broke College Students

Let’s face it. One way or another, we're broke. Our financial struggles are real, yet we keep daydreaming of rewarding ourselves with a great getaway after school ends or during spring or summer break. Guess what—we can be broke college students and still escape to different places here and there!

Here are a few tips in my travel guide for broke college students.  

  1. 1. Learn How to Search for Flights

    When it comes to traveling, a plane ride is most likely needed for you to get from point A to B. While you can go directly to the airlines’ websites, there are easier options when browsing for flights. Skyscanner, Kayak, Google Flights, Expedia—among other search engines—are great travel tools that make your search faster, easier and more organized. These sites research ALL the airlines and organize them either by price, time, quality or airline. 

    I do have to point out these sites do include third party sellers, so you have to make sure when you go to purchase your tickets that you are directed to OFFICIAL airlines’ sites. 

    Besides flights, these tools also help you find affordable car rentals or places to stay—so make sure to check these out too! You could end up saving a lot of money.

    Lastly, these travel search engines give you the opportunity to create alerts for specific flights, and while this might be great, it might track your interest and make the trip more expensive. This could also happen by searching for flights on your regular browser — as airlines save your cookies and/or cache, therefore knowing you’re likely to buy the flights in your second or third search and thus, increasing the prices. A solution for this is searching on incognito mode, which doesn’t save your cookies nor cache. 

  2. 2. Explore The Best Dates to Travel to X Destination

    When traveling, you and only you choose the time of year you want to go. Either you choose when are able to, when others can or simply because you wanted to go in the moment. I do recommend exploring universal times for traveling to different destinations, as flights and lodging might be less expensive and you could stay for longer! This is known as an off-season because not as many people might be going to that destination.

    For example, if you plan to travel to Europe you should consider going between October and April; the Caribean between December and April; and in the US it varies depending on the state. Knowing this for your destination will be the foundation for your trip!

    Rick Steves created a great list for traveling do’s and dont’s, and while it's great to know, these are not set in stone rules. Something valuable to know when traveling: you dictate your travel schedule, time and every small detail involved in your traveling. 

  3. 3. Sacrifices Need to be Made

    You read that right. Traveling means investing a LOT of money and that means minimizing your daily expenses. This may or may not be a direct attack but that means cutting your daily cold brews, expensive lunches and online shopping (Ouch, right?).

    Instead of going out for coffee and lunches, you can invest in a coffee maker! And for lunches, you can meal-prep every Sunday to cut off any desire to eat outside. When it comes to shopping, I know it can be hard to cut that off completely, but you don’t have to! You can go to your local thrift stores and find great items and deals—and you might find easter eggs!  

    You will need to create a budget around your trip — including flights, lodging, travel insurance, meals, souvenirs and all the daily expenses and activities. It might not sound like a lot, but oh trust me…it can be! This is why it’s so important to plan ahead. 

    This sounds like a lot, but you shouldn’t see everything together at once. These sacrifices won’t come in vain, and each travel experience will make you a different person. 

  4. 4. Don't Lose Motivation

    Knowing all of this, you might be feeling discouraged or thinking cheap travel takes too long. And yes—it's a long process–but it's worth it. And it’ll save you money in the long run!

    A great way to envision your trip is by creating a mood board—adding pictures, videos and helpful articles! Pinterest is great for this. Another useful app is Mapstr: which allows you to create pins but instead of photos, the pins are for locations! 

Remember: traveling is personal and you should take things at your own pace. Next time you're planning your next trip, use these tips and enjoy your get-away at paradise!

Follow me on Instagram at @victorsamuelo for more travel tips! 

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5