Traveling on a student salary

Going international for less

Megan Bolton

One of the most common regrets people have is not traveling enough. People think it’s too expensive, too time consuming, that it will put you back too far in school. From this day forth, no one will be able to use those excuses anymore, for I will be teaching you exactly how to get to where you want on a student salary.

I have been all over Europe, from the tip top of Scotland to the bottom of Italy, all on a simple and relatively small budget and am currently planning a month long journey around nine countries. These tips are not just words I read on the internet; I’m speaking from experience, and I’m in this process with you. Here are a few tips just to get started:

1) Use your student status to your advantage! Websites like StudentUniverse and STA Travel give extremely discounted flights. STA Travel allows you to put a deposit on your flight so you have a reserved spot, but you don’t have to pay for your flight until a week before takeoff. Student Universe has some great tips on how to save and ideas of fun things to do—explore the website!

2) Take advantage of discount housing. Hostels and bed and breakfasts are fantastic ways to save when you travel. Don’t be afraid of hostels! They are a great way to sleep for cheap and make new friends. Use Hostelworld to book your stay, because sometimes hostel websites will remove bad reviews; Hostelworld does not. Pay attention to the security ratings when you’re looking for a place to stay.

3) Diversify your travel. Flights can be expensive, so think about busses, trains, and planes. For discount flights within Europe, try RyanAir and EasyJet, but be careful of hidden fees. For discount bus tickets in the USA and Europe, try Megabus. For discount train tickets, look at Eurail. Eurail has a youth pass that allows unlimited travel for one month within 24 European countries. You can get on and off the train whenever you want (as long as it’s stopped,) and the pass includes ferry fees between places such as Greece, Spain, and Italy.

I’ve found that the key to cheap travel is to plan ahead. Schedule your trip for the next summer and in the mean time, do some research! Look for discounts, entertainment, best time to travel to locations, create an approximate budget and plan out how much you need to save each month. Laying everything out will give you something to work toward. I hope this has inspired you to think about traveling as a possibility, and not just a pipe dream. And there’s so much more to come, so get planning!

Where do you want to go? What questions do you have? Let me know using the hashtag #cltwrtravel or by emailing cltower@gmail.com.

Megan is a junior studying communication.