Affording regular life after college can be a struggle to many, let alone affording travel. However, there are right and wrong ways of managing travel for the penny pincher. The reality is that although traveling might seem to be a luxury confined to the rich and glamorous on the surface, it can likely be done at a fraction of the cost you think you need.
Optimize Your Credit Cards
Not all credit cards have the same people in mind. Some plans try to scam you with sneaky interest rates while others cater mainly to the affluent with a large amount of savings. However, some services offer credit cards that make paying off private student loans far less painful. This is ideal for the college student or recent grad, as the cards offer travel bonuses, an opportunity to build credit, and even rewards for good grades.
Get in Touch With A Friend or Family Member
Many people will have a friend or family member that either lives somewhere abroad or knows where a person like you could make it work. This can be a great opportunity to rekindle an old friendship or familial connection that has wilted over time due to distance. They will likely be glad to hear from you, and chances are they will be accommodating.
Even if the idea of staying with them or in their house is out of the question, they likely know enough about the area to point you in the right direction. For example, you aren’t going to want to look for places to stay in Beverly Hills if you are taking a trip to Los Angeles. Instead, you are going to want to spend your stay in a place that is more adapted to your financial situation. Usually, residents of an area will know up-to-date information regarding the best balance of safety and affordability.
Always Work Hard
Not that work should take precedence over everything else in your life, but pushing yourself to work during college pays off in the form of diminished financial strain afterward. For too many people, college is a time when adulthood is postponed and all responsibilities take a backseat to studying and/or partying.
Instead of relying on your parents or someone else to cover your rent during college, force yourself to learn self-sufficiency and cover your bills yourself if possible. This will set you up for success after you get your diploma and enter the next stage of your life. It will also arm you with the perspective of an independent person when traveling in an unknown locale.
On the other hand, perhaps commuting to school is a favorable option for your situation. This way you can stay at home while circumventing the need to pay for rent in the first place. This might also have added benefit in keeping you from being distracted by incessant partying and indulgence.
Do Your Research Beforehand
While spontaneity might be fun in some instances, nobody wants to be in a place they know nothing about making every decision on the fly. Instead, put some forethought and diligence into your plan of attack. Instead of choosing the most expensive option because you didn’t know there was an alternative, check out websites like Kayak which helps you find better prices on flights or rental cars.
Some people suggest deleting your web browser’s search history and cookies when scouting out tickets, as prices are algorithmically raised based on what you have already searched for. The truth is that the jury is still out on repeat-search prices, but it doesn’t hurt to err on the side of caution, as we all know online marketing develops fairly devious cyber tactics.
These are places that offer very affordable room and board for travelers. They can be a traveler’s best friend or worst enemy. For this reason, it is a good idea to check out reviews and ratings for hostels to make sure you’re making the right move. Perhaps you may have heard of horror stories from friends who have used hostels, but don’t let this dissuade you necessarily. Many people have benefited tremendously from using hostels, from saving money to making friends with fellow travelers.
Choosing Entertainment and Restaurants
Comparing concerts and restaurants close by will give you a good idea of what to anticipate when the bill comes. Making decisions in the moment can be fun, but an impromptu dinner at a steakhouse isn’t worth it if it means being financially crippled after the fact.
It also pays to observe the patrons at a prospective restaurant. If they all look like tourists, then maybe it’d be a better move to find somewhere a bit authentic. If you find a restaurant with nobody inside, sometimes that’s an indicator that the restaurant leaves something to be desired.
Take Advantage of Opportunities
For most people every now and then, either work, a friend, or a family member will offer the opportunity for you to travel. If you’ve researched the situation and believe it to be within your financial capability, go for it. These chances pop up every now and then if you are keeping an eye out for them, but are often time sensitive.