Five Money-Saving Travel Tips for Out-of-State College Students
- As a college student, you have so much on your plate, and time management is critical. Between juggling classes, homework, and a social life, proper planning for traveling will be one less stress.
- You want to see your family and friends for holidays and breaks, but the costs can add up quickly if the trips aren’t planned properly.
- If you book your ticket a few months or even a year in advance, you can save yourself (or your parents– thanks, mom and dad) hundreds of dollars.
If you are a college student that lives far away from home, you may feel overwhelmed by thinking about travel expenses. You want to see your family and friends for holidays and breaks, but the costs can add up quickly if the trips aren’t planned properly. As a college student, funds may be limited, which can also limit the number of times you can travel back home, especially if you attend an out-of-state college or university.
There is no doubt that traveling can be pretty pricey. Spending money on travel fare twice a year or more can be somewhat of a financial strain. Instead of rethinking whether you made the right choice by attending a college far away from home, take advantage of optional ways to keep your travel expenses as low as possible. If you plan on traveling back home while in college, here are five tips to keep in mind.
Book your ticket ahead of time
If you book your ticket a few months or even a year in advance, you can save yourself (or your parents– thanks, mom and dad) hundreds of dollars. According to Investopedia, flights tend to get more expensive if you book them between four months and three weeks from your departure date. This rule also applies to bus and train fares.
In order to properly book your ticket well in advance, look up the college school year calendar and mark scheduled breaks. College breaks typically occur three or four times throughout the school year, and they usually are holidays breaks (Thanksgiving or Christmas) or Spring Break. By planning early, you can prepare your mind and pockets for your future travel journeys.
As a college student, you have so much on your plate, and time management is critical. Between juggling classes, homework, and a social life, proper planning for traveling will be one less stress.
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Carpool with other students
Connect with other students on campus who live near or are also from your hometown. If you have a car or another student you know has a car, this could be an excellent opportunity to carpool back home. To avoid financial strain on your pockets or others, you all can split the total cost of gas. You can also split the drive up by distance and help the car owner drive home.
CapWay Tip: If you have a vehicle, here are five ways you can use it to earn extra income throughout the semester. You can then put that money towards gas, food, college needs, and future travel expenses.
Earn travel points on flights, bus, or train rides
If you travel back home often, it could be beneficial to sign up for a travel account with your preferred travel choice. For example, if you prefer to fly, you can sign up for a travel account with your preferred airline of choice to earn travel points and rewards when traveling. Those points will add up and will eventually allow you to pay for your travel with points instead of dollars.
Ask your university about transportation discounts
Some universities and colleges offer discounts for out-of-state students traveling back home or even to the airport. For example, the University of Maryland provides students shuttle bus rides to New York and New Jersey for Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring break for a reduced fee. This could be a cost-effective way to save money on transportation, so be sure to ask your counselor or financial aid advisor to see if your school offers its students any transportation perks.
If your university doesn’t offer any transportation perks, then you can use your college ID for student discounts. Some transportation systems are aware that students go back home often to see family and friends during college breaks.
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Those same transportation systems also offer students a discounted rate on travel fares. For example, Greyhound offers students 10% off travel fare if they sign up for their Student Advantage Card Discount Card. Depending on your method of transportation, you can look into their website to see what discounts are being offered to college students. You could save tons of money by doing your research online.
Open a bank account dedicated to travel expenses
If you know that you’ll be traveling back home, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor by saving for the trip. You can put as little as $25 per month into your savings account to help ease any financial worries that you may have closer to booking your trip.
A valuable money hack is to make automatic payments to your bank account. This is when you schedule a certain amount of money to be sent from your checking account to a designated savings account. If you have direct deposit, you can tell your employer or human resources that you would like a certain amount of money to be taken out of your paycheck and automatically put into your savings account.
Automatic payments will help you not have to worry about transferring money every time you get paid. Then, when the time comes for you to book a flight, you will be worry-free because you already have money saved for the trip.
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What cost-effective tips do you have to help students travel back home? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.