How to Travel on a Budget in College

Planning a getaway with friends or need to go home for the holidays? College allows many opportunities for travel, but each trip comes at a price.

From road trips to flights, it’s important to keep costs in mind in order to stretch your budget to cover all your travel plans. Our tips below should make getting where you need to go easy on you and your wallet.

Plan in Advance for Air Travel

Studies show that sale prices on airline tickets usually are offered at the beginning of the week, but overall prices tend to be lower over the weekend. Another tip? Plan as far in advance as possible. Domestic fares are cheaper when bought an average of 50 days in advance, while international flights should be booked at least 81 days in advance for the best price. If you find yourself constantly checking prices for the same destination, it pays to sign up for email notifications when rates are low for specific airports. Be sure you either have a ride to the airport or a plan to keep your car secure while you’re gone – researching your overnight parking options could mean huge savings.

Check for Student Pricing

Always check to see if discounted student tickets are available. Train services as well as bus lines based in college towns frequently offer discounted cards or rates for students.

Pack Light

Unless you’re driving your own car with plenty of room, leave the dirty laundry back at the dorm during a trip home. When flying, avoid fees for checked baggage by packing wisely and make the most of your carry-on and personal item, such as a purse or laptop bag. If you haven’t flown recently, be sure to look over current Transportation Security Administration regulations to make sure you don’t have to throw out any toiletries at security. If you take the bus, limit yourself to one large bag and one carry-on.

Create a Calendar for Your Trips Home

Talk to your parents and create a schedule for your visits home. If you work together to calculate how much will need to be budgeted, they may offer to help with some of the expenses or better understand why you can’t make the trip as often.

Don’t Forget the Details

When planning a trip for fun, be as detailed as you can while calculating expenses. The more you plan, the more you avoid unintentional spending. Keep in mind the costs for gas, food, parking and lodging, along with the need for daily spending money. The minute you know your plans, start saving. The key to a great getaway? Don’t commit to anything until you know you can afford it.

Research International Travel Options

Many universities offer study-abroad options that are comparably priced to a semester on campus. If you’re interested in this type of learning opportunity, meet with your school’s travel office for the most detailed answers and a thorough review of costs. Think a year might be too costly but still want to see the world? Research your options: Schools and student travel agencies often feature shorter, cultural trips. For class credit, many schools offer less expensive three- to five-week summer programs with accelerated semesters.


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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.