We get it—it’s expensive being in school. We’ve got the inside scoop on how to save money for travel as a student! ☆ So no one told you college was going to be this way. 🎵Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, 🎵and…you know the rest.
But traveling is your dream, right?! You’re probably wondering how to save money for travel as a student, especially with all the expenses that come with attending a university. Luckily, many college students before you have saved enough money for travel. Your dreams of eating croissants under the Eiffel Tower, dancing the tango in Argentina, or learning German in a castle can come true.
Saving money usually means something different to everybody. From stashing more income to cutting down expenses to getting a good deal, one size doesn’t always fit all. You’ll need to find the best methods that work for your lifestyle and skillset.
Budgeting your income will be helpful at first, but you may need a few more ideas to help you even more in the long fun. If you’re looking for the best ways to save money in college, we’ve got you covered. You could be saving hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars for travel as a student with these 10 tips!
10 ways to save money in college for travel
1. Part-time job…duh
How do students raise funds for travel? Usually with a part-time job! Here’s your chance to build experience, expand your network, and make some money on the side. From babysitting children to creating fancy lattes to digging up holes, you’ll find a slew of available opportunities in the community for part-time work.
If you need a little more freedom with your time, you could deliver packages for Amazon Flex, drive for Lyft or Uber, tutor students, care for the elderly, or write online. Most universities offer work-study positions and provide sites with job listings that are made just for college students.
2. Buy used textbooks
The average student spends more than $1,200 a year on textbooks! Many college students can’t wait to sell their books. Take advantage of used textbook sites, free textbooks in PDF or eBook form, and college social media groups to find a good deal and to save even more money.
Almost all bookstores and online textbook sites now allow students to rent textbooks. Another option to explore is sharing the cost of a textbook with another classmate if the textbook is limited or too expensive. You two can become study buddies and share notes via copies and cell phone pictures!
3. Limit the nights you go out
While going out a few nights a week may seem harmless, the cost of entrees, drinks, and entertainment quickly adds up to $50 or more a night! If you go out a few times every week, you’ll be spending more than $400 a month. You’ll want that hundreds of dollars every month to go towards flights, housing, and empanadas fo’ sho’.
Need a night off from your studies? Universities usually offer lots of free or cheap entertainment every week with artsy events, football games, talent shows, and the list goes on. Be sure to dine at home before going out, and you’ll be saving even more money every month!
4. Raise some extra cash
Are you wondering how do students raise funds for travel? Do you have books, clothes, electronics, and other accessories you no longer want? Of course you do. Lots of mobile apps like Mercari, Letgo, Decluttr, and more are available to help you sell things in a few clicks.
You could also use other mobile apps like Acorn or Robinhood to raise extra cash through investments or stocks if you’re looking to be even more savvy with saving. Some apps will also give you refunds for taking pictures of your receipts, getting healthy with diet or exercise, or selling Instagram pics. Participating in online surveys, medical studies, and focus groups are also some other options.
5. Test out of classes
If you’ve learned certain material in high school or through non-traditional methods, you may be able to test out of college classes, which will be a possible answer to your question of how to afford travel a student. Just imagine saving thousands of tuition dollars by passing an AP, CLEP or DSST, or an Excelsior examination!
Plus, graduating faster is always a great way to save money. You’ll need to talk to academic advisors in high school or at college beforehand to assess your options. Sometimes students also take classes at nearby community colleges at a cheaper rate, but you need to make sure the credits will transfer to your university if necessary.
6. Find the cheap stuff
Another way to save money for travel is to avoid buying brand-new things. From clothes to kitchenware to furniture, you’ll find these things for cheap or even free if you look around. Many university dorms, sorority and fraternity houses, and student apartment complexes have lots of stuff leftover that previous residents no longer want.
Be sure to check out the local garage sales, thrift stores, social media groups, and Craigslist ads. If you’re in a pinch, hold a drive for yourself asking all your friends and family online to donate some things for your college years!
7. Flash your student ID
Consider your student ID to be the easiest financial aid you’ve ever received. This is one of the best ways to save money in college for trips. We’re talking discounts with Amazon Prime, Microsoft/Apple/Dell, public transportation, cell phone plans, clothing stores, insurance policies, grocery stores, movies, gym memberships, healthcare, and so much more.
With many of these discounts, you’ll receive anywhere from 5-90% off. Sometimes they’ll provide loaded gift cards or even free stuff! Even if you’re not sure that you can use your student ID when you’re out and about, ask anyway. The savings you make will all add up in the end for that trip you’ve been dying to take!
8. Choose a student-friendly bank
If you can’t help but wonder how to save money for travel as a student, your best bet is to find a good bank that caters to college students. You’ll want a bank with lots of local ATMs that don’t charge you for withdrawing money and that doesn’t charge you for having a checking or savings account.
Many of these banks also have free counseling sessions with financial advisors that will help set you up for travel saving success. They can help you decide on how much of your income should automatically go into your savings account every month.
9. Live off campus
Housing is one of the biggest expenses for students next to tuition, so you can save some big bucks by living off campus. If you’re curious about how to afford travel as a student, this is the most common answer. While living on campus may seem convenient, you’re probably spending too much for room and board (unless you’re a resident assistant).
If you can live with your family as a college student, you’ll be saving a lot of money for that trip of a lifetime. However, if your family lives too far away, you could share rent expenses with a roommate or two. You might also be able to rent out your room while you’re out of town!
Looking to study abroad to learn a language, volunteer abroad to make a difference, or intern abroad to gain experience for your resume? Recruiting the help of friends and family with a travel campaign via FundMyTravel will be one of the most efficient ways to save money in college for travel.
The main steps include creating an account, deciding on a goal, discussing your cause, and rounding up donations from your network. You could reach out to acquaintances, your extended family, fellow teammates, and more via online or offline methods to rally your cause.
Wondering how to afford travel as a student? Get creative.
You’ll find hundreds of ways to get from point A to point B with saving money for travel in college if you get a little creative. While you could get creative literally by selling arts and crafts on Etsy, you’ll soon find out money doesn’t always involve lots of labor all the time.
You could create eBooks or online courses where you can save money every month from income over time. Pinpoint your greatest skills and put them to work. Be sure to round up some friends and family and brainstorm ideas or better yet, find ways to save together!
Sometimes saving money involves things as simple as canceling subscriptions, buying things in bulk, and cooking more at home. Whatever the case may be, cut down on spendy habits and start building good saving habits to stash away like a squirrel with acorns for winter.
As long as you put in some hard work, you’re bound to see results! Plus, FundMyTravel will help you save for travel like a good friend that’s always there for you. By putting some (or all) of these 10 ways to save money in college into practice, you’ll be on the plane to your next adventure in no time!
This article was written by Sydney Lutz. Growing up as an “army brat,” Sydney could not help but develop a thirst for traveling. She has visited all 50 states as well as England, France, Canada, Germany, and Australia. Sydney graduated with a master’s degree in public communication and technology in Colorado, and taught abroad for a year in Quito, Ecuador. Her favorite things to do include studying Spanish, practicing yoga, and travel writing.