1. Student travel/Intern abroad
This point is not emphasized enough. If you’re a student in any capacity you’re in the best position to travel for FREE while earning credits towards your degree. I can’t begin to list the many programs that want to send students abroad. I was skeptical about this myself until I was aforded the chance to travel abroad 3 times for little to no money! I encourage you to speak with your campus’ international program office and find out about any standing partnerships they have. For example, my alma mater (Winston Salem State) funds an annual trip with Wake Forest University that allows students to volunteer for 2 weeks in a foreign country! The first and most important step is to apply, the funding should be an afterthought. If you have the desire to travel, you owe yourself the chance of trying. Many people love the idea of traveling but stop at the idea of funding it. Stand out and let your determination do the talking, there is money just for you. Don’t believe me? Just check out these scholarships!
*The scholarships mentioned above are only two of thousands of scholarships. If you need help finding scholarships tailored to you, feel free to send me an email at the firstname.lastname@example.org with a summary of your background and some of your interests. I would love to help you find the experience of a lifetime.
2. Cheap flights Duh! Air flight can get way too expensive, especially when the bills keep knocking. If you aren’t particular about where you want to travel and want to see it all, use that perspective to your benefit. My first suggestion is to join an e-mail subscription list for flight deals. I use Scott’s Cheap Flights because they consistently send emails, and their fares are almost always accurate. When planning my first solo trip, I wasn’t determined to go to a particular destination. I just wanted to go somewhere! Thanks to Scott’s I was alerted when airfares to Europe went on sale and then made my choice! I only paid $360 for the trip of a lifetime. That’s only $180 in each direction! Instead of helplessly checking fares and getting discouraged by the prices, sign up for a subscription and be amazed at all the places you can afford to travel to! If you are set on a destination, that’s fine too! Google Flights is my favorite search engine for both domestic and international flights. You can select your nearest airport, your trip dates and Google will generate a list of flights from every airline. If you have a strict budget, this tool can help tremendously! *Bonus tip: Airfare can increase based on the number of times you search for them. Use your Internet browser in incognito mode and your prices won’t be altered!
3. Volunteer/Gap Year No matter how old or young we are we could all use a mental break from time to time, just to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. *cough, cough* UH, me! But…have no fear, the World Wide Web has made it easier to travel than ever before. There are people in every corner of the Earth that would love to learn from you. Yes, you read that correctly. You! In most cases, they will even offer you a place to stay and daily meals! If this sounds too good to be true just head over to Workaway and see for yourself. You can volunteer by doing just about anything. From housesitting in the historical city of Rome to teaching English in the luscious rainforests of Costa Rica. Ditch your days of dreaming about it, because Workaway has made it possible! You can volunteer alone, or make it a forever memory with a friend or a significant other. *Bonus tip: When searching for volunteering opportunities, thoroughly read through references and reviews to ensure your safety! Just like anyone can volunteer, anyone can host a volunteer. Only pursue opportunities that are credible and sit well with you. I want you to explore the world, but I want you to be safe first of course!
4. Pay yourself! If I told you I planned my solo trip to Europe for about $480 would you believe me? Well, it’s true, I did. Travel doesn’t have to be expensive if you don’t want it to be! Set goals to set aside money for your dream trip! The only difference between those who travel and those who don’t is their perseverance. Let’s use my budget for example: if you receive a paycheck every 2 weeks, setting aside $15 every paycheck could buy a round-trip ticket to Europe. Setting aside $7.50 weekly would give you the same result! Let’s take it a step further for the first time traveler. Setting aside $23 every 2 weeks or $11 a week could get you a round-trip ticket to Europe, 5 nights of accommodations and a passport. Now, who’s ready to give up those weekly burrito bowls? I want to mention that it’s totally fine to reward yourself because you deserve it, I do it too! Probably more than I should. Don’t forget to take care of your future self. You deserve to see a return on your hard work after it’s all said and done. Why not reward yourself on the beach in Barcelona?
5. Ditch the expectations of luxury! When we hear the word vacation we think of living the life of luxury for just a few days. You know, opening French doors to a beautiful beachfront balcony and a buffet of breakfast waiting to be devoured. It sounds like the dream, but it’s also super expensive to travel like that each time you want to. The point of traveling is to create memories while experiencing the beauty of these destinations! There are several different ways to do this without depleting your account: One of my favorite ways to experience a country is by utilizing the new Airbnb Experience feature. Airbnb now offers several different activities that allow people to experience the local lifestyle. You’ll find activities like snorkeling, cooking courses, and scavenger hunts. You can even book a professional photographer to snap your next Instagram picture. Airbnb Experience is ideal for the budget traveler because instead of limiting yourself to one token activity through a travel agency, you can maximize your experience and participate in a couple at the same cost. If you’re new to using Airbnb, use this link and you will receive $40 in travel credit when you sign up! That’s two free Airbnb experiences of your choice! Another way you can save money while indulging in the local lifestyle is by staying in a hostel instead of a hotel. A hostel is simply a shared room for travelers. Instead of sleeping in a private space you would stay in what seems like a college dorm. Hostel styles vary from location to location. You may be lucky and have a room completely to yourself or you may share a room with 5 others. Many hostels even offer the same amenities as a hotel! Fresh sheets, towels, and breakfast! Either way, it’s less expensive than a hotel and it offers many opportunities to get to know other people from all over the world. If you use some of these pointers you’ll be a money-saving globetrotter in no time. You’ll be surprised at the different memories and friends you will make by choosing the economic route. I hope this inspired you to start looking at flights for your next adventure or create a savings schedule. Just remember, you are more than capable! Until next time, The Pint Sized Traveler