How to Travel as a Student: Creative Ways to Travel on a Student Budget

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Want to travel as a student, but feeling like it’s impossible? Well, it’s more attainable than you think! Keep reading to discover creative ways you can save money for travel and how you can travel as a full-time student!

As a high school or college student, it can be really hard to travel, even if you do have some financial help from your family. Not everyone can afford to travel on a student budget. However, traveling doesn’t have to be completely unattainable as a student. Students should take time outside of the classroom to learn about the world around them. As young people, it’s important to be exposed to other cultures, languages, and people. Traveling cultivates learning! We think it’s so important to travel while you’re young, so traveling as a student is one of the best ways to do it!

In this guide, we share some of the strategies we have used to travel as a student and travel on a student budget. As college or high school students, there are tons of opportunities for student travel, but you have to know where to look!

15+ Tips for Traveling as a Student and Creative Ways to Travel on a Student Budget

How to Travel as a Full-Time Student

In this section of our how to travel as a student guide, we’re going to go over the student budget strategies we implemented while we were in college in order to make travel possible!

It seems obvious that you’ll need to save money, but it’s something you need to consciously do. Don’t save so much that you’re passing up your favorite restaurants and foods at the grocery store. Just be conscious. Use a piggy bank. Create a college student travel fund and budget. The easiest way to do this is to take a certain percent of your paycheck and save it for a travel fund.

1. Look For Student Discounts on Hotel and Flights

Student Universe offers tons of student flight discounts and deals specifically for students. Throughout the year, cheap flights for students are offers which are perfect for spring and summer break trip planning. And of course, Airbnb is very popular with young people for accommodations because some places can be so cheap, especially if you’re splitting the cost with friends!

Student Discount – Save 10% off with verified Student ID

Book Now on for the best flight for the best prices!

2. Use Cashback Services for Online Shopping

Make easy money by online shopping by using Rakuten! It’s easy to use a plugin on your browser that gives you cashback on your purchases. Simply install the plugin and the next time you go on an eligible shopping website, it will ask you to activate it! Simply activate and get shopping. Rakuten will then send you a check in the mail every few months with your earnings!

Ibotta is another app that lets you submit your grocery receipts for cash back too! Simply sign up and check out your local stores for eligible cashback purchases.

These apps and services are really easy ways to get money back on things that you buy all of the time!

3. Ask for Travel Related Gifts or Money as Gifts for Holidays and Birthdays

If your family does money or gifts for birthdays and holidays, consider asking for money of gifts that will cut down on student travel costs. Ask for luggage for your birthday or suggest useful travel products as gifts so that you don’t have to buy them on your own. Here’s our list of suggested gifts for student travelers!

4. Get Student Credit Card Reward Savy

Credit card rewards programs are all over the place these days. But one of the challenges for students is getting approved for a credit card! The student Discover Card and Bank of America Travel Rewards credit cards are two cards that we used throughout college. Neither of these cards has annual fees and they were very easy to get approved for as students. If you’re going to dive into the world of credit cards, always pay off your full balance at the end of the month so you don’t slide into credit card debt!

5. Find a Travel Buddy

One of the easiest ways to cut travel costs is by splitting the cost with a friend! Find out which of your friends love to travel and plan a trip together! By traveling with others, you can split costs on hotels, car rentals, and other activities!

6. Sell the Stuff You Don’t Need

As people who have recently transitioned from the “college world” to the “real world” (we hate these phrases, but they get the point across), we realized there were a lot of things that we accumulated throughout college that we didn’t need anymore. Like clothes that aren’t appropriate for the workplace, old clothes, dorm room items. Consider doing some spring cleaning and sell your gently used items on apps like Poshmark. If you use code KathrineC3 you’ll get a $10 credit at no cost to you!

7. Cut Out Hidden Costs, But Don’t Sacrifice Things You Love

With the number of memberships and monthly fees that seem to pop up out of nowhere, consider doing a recurring fee detox. Go through your memberships and subscriptions that you don’t use. Can you downgrade your iCloud Storage? Are you using your gym membership? Could you share Spotify or Netflix with a family member or close friend? With so many things requiring memberships, consider sneaky ways to cut them out without losing the things you enjoy. (We know and understand that Netflix is every college students best friend.)

Here are some hidden recurring costs that you can think about cutting!

  • Gym membership
  • Cloud storage
  • Streaming services (music and TV)
  • Cable package so you can keep streaming!

8. Drink and Eat at Home

A $9 mixed drink for only a shot of liquor? No thanks. Drinking at home can significantly cut down your expenses. Split a bottle of wine or a 12 pack with your friends for a weekend of fun instead of hitting the bars with the cover charge.

Just like drinking out, eating out can be really expensive and add up over time. Cut down on eating out by packing lunches or by cooking meals at home with your roommates and friends!

9. Study Abroad

The obvious option for students is to study abroad. Many schools offer study abroad programs all around the world where you can live for a semester and complete courses. If you want to study abroad as a student, definitely plan early in your program! Some programs and majors have very strict schedules so you can graduate on time. So make sure that studying abroad fits and is possible!

Or if you’re really interested in a life of travel, consider a major that allows for international immersion and learning experiences. Such majors include international business, foreign languages, or internationally focused humanities (European literature or history, African studies etc)

10. Travel With a Tour agency like EF Ultimate Break

EF Ultimate Break is a great option for students who want to travel abroad, but can’t take a whole semester abroad. EF Ultimate Break does trips all around the world at ranging lengths to fit your budget and interests. Read more about our experience with EF Ultimate Break here! 

11. Travel Locally

You don’t always have to travel abroad to some exotic place to travel. Think about the places near your hometown and school that might be worth visiting. You never know, there might be some interesting places nearby! Traveling locally is great for weekend getaways and affordable trips.

12. Travel During Your School Breaks

Take advantage of your school breaks as a student, because this perk will fade as you leave the student world. Try to take a trip over spring or winter break with your friends. Traveling with others will cut down on the cost and give you and your friends a chance to travel together! Read more about our suggestions for spring break as a student here! And there are plenty of destinations in the United States that are incredibly affordable for college breaks!

13. Go on a Service Trip

Service trips are a great way to see the world while giving back to others. However, don’t do a service trip as a means to travel. The perk of traveling should be secondary to your desire to help others and sustainably alleviate poverty. Read more about our experience with service trips here! 

14. Travel with Your School

In addition, to study abroad programs, many schools offer short-term international travel experiences over spring and winter breaks. These can come in the form of trips with the courses.  Some foreign languages courses and other internationally focused courses offer these kinds of opportunities.

Group travel for ages 18-29 – explore EF Ultimate Break today!

15. Apply for International Internships

Internships don’t always have to be done within your home country! Consider doing a summer internship abroad. Interning abroad gives you international professional experience and the opportunity to visit somewhere new!

16. Take a Gap Year

Taking a gap year between moving onto your next chapter of life is becoming more and more common. Some people take gap years by joining the Peace Corp or simply traveling the world. Before you enter the workforce, it’s hard to know how busy you will be once you start working.  Some countries, like the United States, are highly focused on working and careers, so being a new employee after graduation doesn’t always bring a lot of vacation days. Taking a gap year before working gives you the chance to travel before you begin working.

17. Make your Class Student Travel Friendly

As college students, you have some flexibility in your class schedule, so why not make your schedule travel friendly? Consider leaving Fridays and Mondays without classes so you can take extended weekends! By leaving these days free, you can plan to travel to more distant places and spend more time at a destination!

Learn more about planning the perfect weekend trip in our guide!

18. Consider Nontraditional College

Completing degrees online is being increasingly popular, especially in the United States where tuition costs continue to rise. Online courses are not only more affordable, but they enable you to work from anywhere! If you really want to commit to more full-time or part-time travel, doing your degree online will give you more freedom!

Traveling as a Student is Possible!

See traveling as a student is 100% possible if you set your mind to it and think outside the box. Even on a student budget, there are creative ways to save money, take advantage of student discounts, and be travel savvy!