Traveling on a Budget
Updated: Sep 13, 2019
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a student in need of some tips that will help get you to wherever you’ve been daydreaming about during class. Am I right? For me, I’m preparing for a girl’s trip to Costa Rica for spring break (last hoorah before clinics!) and my African adventures during clinics this summer. I wanted to share some tips that have helped me scrape up the funds to travel the world and hopefully you’ll be able to make it work too!
Budget: This is the most obvious one that I probably don’t have to go into great detail about. You need to budget whatever $$$ you have so it will cover some of your travel costs. For example, for me this means cutting back on unnecessary spending like going out to eat. This looks different for everyone depending on lifestyle and priorities.
Flights: There’s many ways you can save $ on flights, especially if you’re a student!
Check out student discounted sites like StudentUniverse . I’d say 9/10 times I buy all my domestic and international flights through this site unless they do not have the trip I’m looking for. These flights are cheaper than what you’ll see on Expedia or other airlines. StudentUniverse almost always has some sort of promo code for $X off of flights to different places. If you haven’t signed up for this site, feel free to use this link to get started. This is not a paid ad 😊 I just feel very passionately about this company & you get $20 off your next flight if you sign up! Click me!
If you aren’t quite ready to commit to a plane ticket yet, I recommend using Hopper to keep an eye out on flight costs. Hopper predicts prices with 95% accuracy up to 1 year in advance. Right now, Hopper is monitoring flight prices for my Africa trips. They send notifications to let me know if prices are predicted to rise or if I can wait a little bit longer to purchase.
I always suggest going in “incognito” mode or private browsing on your computer when looking up flights or lodging. Based on the cookies in your browser, flight prices will increase on sites when a repeated search is being made and the site will scare you into booking flights before prices get even higher.
If you aren’t participating in a program or study abroad that has pre-arranged lodging, I highly suggest looking into booking an Airbnb. These options give you the luxury of choosing an area based on your budget. There have been trips where I scored a high-quality room, in a safe area for only $20 a night. Most times, these accommodations also have hosts that are extremely helpful and make your experience even better.
Another option to look into are hostels. This is a cost-effective option if you’re traveling in a group or want to meet more people. From my personal experience with hostels, you share a room but this gives you the opportunity to crash with your friends or meet new people traveling too! If interested in this option check out Hostel World.
If you’re expecting me to tell you not to indulge in different foods while traveling, you’ve been mistaken. I’m ALL ABOUT EATING. I always have a plan to help reduce costs. For example, if I’m going to be going somewhere for an extended period of time, I’ll pack snacks and make sure to grocery shop while I’m there. For my upcoming trip to Costa Rica, we are planning to buy groceries to make breakfasts and lunches during the week but indulge in new places for dinner! So plan accordingly!
Plan for things you may want to do while traveling. Do your research and factor this into your budget so you aren’t blindsided. Look up local events because these things are sometimes free and fun! WOO. Also, make sure to always ask if there are student discounts if visiting places like museums. This was an awesome realization I had when backpacking throughout Europe!
Some random ways I make $$$ for travel expenses:
We all online shop, but did you know there’s a way to get money back from those purchases? I discovered ebates about 1.5 years ago and have been able to get back $300+ on things I had to buy anyway. I put all this extra money back into my traveling expenses. To be honest, I was skeptical of this at first, but it really is that simple. Link the site to your browser and anytime you’re about to make any kind of online purchase, it’ll ask if you want to activate cash back. Again, not an ad just something that’s helped me scrape up extra $ to put towards my travel expenses. If this is something you’d be interested in trying feel free to sign up using my refer a friend code that will automatically get you $10 to your account (I promise this works) Click me for free $$$
I used to pet sit a lot during my first and second years of vet school. There were plenty of opportunities to watch other people’s animals and I took advantage of them. Honestly, it’s a win/win situation because it’s an easy way to make extra money while also having the convenience of studying and playing with cute animals.
SCHOLARSHIPS! Check your school and see if they offer any financial assistance towards international experiences. This is obviously only applicable if it’s affiliated with your school, but I have been EXTREMELY grateful for the funding my university has provided me for all my international experiences.
Create a GoFundMe or similar kind of page! Sometimes people are willing to donate to the cause and want to follow/support your journey.
I also have a credit card that has travel benefits! This has been a good way to gain travel points to use towards flights. I'll buy groceries, gas, flights, etc. using this card and immediately pay it off so I can get points towards a future trip.
Lastly, this may or may not be applicable to those of you reading this, but I was able to pick-up part-time jobs or small jobs at my school that help pay for my travel. For example, I am a student representative for a nutrition company, and I get paid whenever I am working around the school for them. So, if there are opportunities offered at your school that allow flexible hours, I’d highly encourage you to seek those (as long as it doesn’t impact your stress load).
I hope you found this somewhat helpful! This is a true account to what I do to make ends meet for my travel adventures. Have additional questions? Leave a comment!