Hand of White person holding two credit cards over packed suitcase for a trip

5 Smart and Budget-Friendly Travel Tips for College Students

Travel is an important part of many young people’s lives. If you’re looking to experience the world without breaking the bank, these financial tips can help.

Should college students be thinking about traveling? Yes, they should! Traveling exposes you to new experiences, makes you happier, and refreshes you. Whether it’s a semester abroad, traveling for vacation, or an international internship program, traveling as a student is exciting. Sadly, traveling while trying to pay for college is expensive. But don’t let limited finances prevent you from joining your friends on a trip. You can indulge in a local or international trip as a student with the right plan, budget, and tips to minimize costs, like the ones below.

1. Take advantage of off seasons

If you’re operating on a student budget, think about traveling during the off season. You’ll get to enjoy your trip while saving a lot of money. Hotel rates, tour costs, and flights can be remarkably cheap in the off season. The rates are significantly lower because few people travel or book hotels during these times. You’ll get to visit popular locations locally or abroad without spending too much. There are often great package deal offers since hotels and tour locations are always desperate for tourists, even when it isn’t peak season. Also, you’ll enjoy the serenity of the places you visit because there’s a high likelihood it’ll be less populated.  

Related: 10 Exciting Travel Destinations for Any School Break

2. Make a budget and stick to it

Don’t plan for a trip and travel without a budget. You need a guide on how to spend your money to ensure you don’t waste your savings all at once. Research the place you intend to visit and draft a realistic budget. This will act as a tool to keep you within a spending limit as well as save you money. Many students are oblivious to student discounts they can use during their college years. Whether you plan to travel during the spring, summer, fall, or winter, you’ll always find travel deals designed for students. Search for airline, accommodation, and tour discounts, plus cell phone data deals you can use while traveling. Before paying for a hotel room or tour package, ask whether there are student discounts and use discount sites, coupons, or cards to save more money.     

3. Travel without paying a dime

Sometimes you can travel without paying anything as a college student—but you’ve got to look for free trips in the right places. Take advantage of opportunities like cultural events, study away opportunities, volunteer programs, travel grants, college-paid programs, conferences, or competitions. You’ll get to travel without paying money and experience a structured program that will surely enhance your enjoyment of your trip. 

Related: Amazing Travel Scholarships and Programs for Students

4. Get creative at your destination

You can also get creative and look for budget-friendly accommodations or transit options. You may choose a shared room or youth hostel or to stay with friends. You could decide to house sit in another town, state, or city to get away while also earning money and helping someone else out. Instead of using taxis or ride-share companies, use trains, buses, or other local public transportation. And again, always look out for student discounts wherever you’re faced with spending money.

5. Travel with friends

Traveling with your college friends makes the experience more exciting, plus it could also save you some money. Traveling as a group often makes it more affordable, as you can share the burdens of costs, packing spaces, and accommodations. You’ll get to engage more in activities by sharing them with others and create more intimate bonds with your friends. You’ll also be safer compared to traveling alone because you can look out for each other.

Related: How to Be Extra Safe While Studying Abroad in College

Enjoy your college years and take advantage of travel opportunities when they come your way. You’ll benefit from visiting different places and experiencing new food, language, and culture when you’re young. It doesn’t have to be challenging or pricey. There are many deals, discounts, and programs for college students that can help you lessen the cost. So, travel! Discover new places, make new friends, and create great memories. 

If studying abroad sounds like a great travel opportunity for you, you can find a lot more advice on finding the right program and making a plan with our “study abroad” tag.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Summer Wilde

Summer Wilde is a freelance writer and dedicated florist at a flower shop in Sacramento, California.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Ruth Aguilar

Ruth Aguilar

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me by providing me with many scholarship opportunities and information about universities I want to attend. What I love about CollgeXpress is how it provides a variety of information, and as the first child attending a university next year, it has been very essential and helpful. I’m so grateful for this because the information provided by CollegeXpress has also helped me see that there are so many college opportunities, and it always informs me by email. In other words, CollegeXpress has been like a guide for me as a future college student.

Anthony Vidal

Anthony Vidal

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress has helped me in a series of different ways when it comes to finding scholarships and learning information about different universities. I actually found my dream university through CollegeXpress and am working on getting there.

Maya Ingraham

Maya Ingraham

October 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has given me more confidence in my college process. With easy-to-access resources and guidance such as the CX Weekly Roundup, I have been able to find the best colleges for me. Most importantly, there’s a surplus of scholarship opportunities for every student to support their education.

Damian Rangel

Damian Rangel

September 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has helped me tackle college expenses, which will allow me to put more of my time and effort into my studies without the need of worrying as much about finances.

Wendy Thompson

Wendy Thompson

Owner, Westport Educational Consulting

I just discovered your site and LOVE it—fun, interesting, full of incredible information you can’t find anywhere else, and a godsend for those of us in the college counseling business. I am a fan!

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Moody Bible Institute

Chicago, IL

Grace College

Winona Lake, IN

New York University - Abu Dhabi Campus

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates