Planning a trip this summer? Short on cash? Here’s a quick guide to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck.
1. Shop Around.
Sometimes the so-called “value” sites like Travelocity, Expedia, and Orbitz will give you the best price for plane tickets, but often these sites have been paid by airlines and hotels to promote their fares and rooms above all others, even if they aren’t necessarily the best deals.
Instead, use an aggregator like Momondo or Kayak that searches literally hundreds of travel websites in order to find you the best deal. These sites also feature flights from smaller airlines and airlines like Southwest that don’t actively participate in online travel booking sites. Also, aggregators don’t collect a fee like most value travel sites.
2. Going to a big city? Skip the Hotel.
If your vacation plans are to live it up in the lap of luxury at an expensive hotel, then obviously these alternatives are not for you, but if you are looking to have some money left over once you’ve booked your flight and paid for your hotel, you should look into these options.
Hostels – For international and domestic travel alike, hosteling is really your best bet lodging wise. You can search for and book hostels at Hosteling international. Hostels are much kinder on a college student’s budget and staying at one is also a great opportunity to meet other travelers. You do not have the privacy or luxury of a hotel, but its worth the sacrifice.
If Hostels aren’t your thing and you are traveling to a big city like New York City, you could also look into a vacation apartment rental. Hotels in NYC average at about $320 a night, but renting an apartment for a few days will run you, depending on the apartment, probably around $100-$150. Here is a list of agencies that can help you find the right apartment at the right price in New York, but a simple google search can lead you to apartment rentals in bigger cities worldwide.
Also, if you really want to save money, you can try Couchsurfing. It’s a site that introduces you to people in over 40,000 cities all over the world who will let you stay on their couch for free. You might have to give up your own couch in return one day, but if you enjoy meeting people, this could be a fun option.
3. Look for student discounts everywhere.
In almost every city that one could ever wish to travel to, there are discounts offered to students for plays, museums (many of which are free), lodging, eating, etc. It never hurts to ask. Check with websites like STA and Student Universe for discount cards and even discounted airfares for students. Definitely get the International Student Identity Card for travel discounts and even discounts you can use everyday.
[Any other cheap travel tips?? Let us know!]