Cheap Travel Options for College Students

Being away from home at college for the first time is one of the quintessential experiences of growing up, but traveling on your own can be an even more exciting and liberating experience. Whether you’re looking for a cheap ticket home for the holidays or a spring break vacation package, you should be aware of ways you can save money. With a little flexibility and creativity, you can travel on a tight budget and have a lot more fun than you would paying for full-on tourist treatment. These five cheap travel options for college students will get you started on the road to wherever you’re going:

1. Plan Loosely

Rather than deciding the exact dates you’re going to travel, then booking the first airline and hotel you can find, get a loose idea of when and where you want to go and search for deals. By avoiding peak travel times (such as weekends during spring break), you can usually find significantly cheaper options. You might also find yourself traveling to a slightly more out-of-the-way spot you never would have found otherwise, which can be a delightful surprise.

2. Discount Bus Companies

If you’re not traveling too far, and particularly if you’re moving between major cities, several bus companies provide good service at extraordinarily low prices. Megabus and BoltBus both sell tickets starting at $1 if you can book well ahead of time (prices rise as departure approaches). Their buses also feature Wi-Fi, electrical outlets and more luxurious seats than the more expensive Greyhound.

3. Student Universe

Student Universe delivers discounted plane tickets, hotels and vacation packages specifically targeted at students. You can register for an account with your student ID and get started in just a few minutes. The website also offers travel guides full of great trips on how to enjoy an affordable vacation.

4. Hostels

If hotel prices get you down, you might consider opting for a much cheaper place to stay. A bed in a hostel can be rented in most cities for under $40 a night, and you won’t notice the difference unless you’re spending a lot of time in your room. Hostels are also a fantastic place to meet fellow travelers and find out about cheap things to do in the city you’re visiting. is a good place to begin looking for accommodations.

5. Get to Know the Locals

It’s a bit of a cliché, but it really is true that by building relationships with local people wherever you go, you can have more fun on a tighter budget. Those who actually live in a city can guide you to unknown adventures that you would never have discovered walking around with your nose in a guidebook. And not only can you have a cheaper trip by sleeping on your new friends’ couches and sharing your meals with them, you’ll have a much more authentic and memorable experience.

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