Being a college student and somehow managing to take not just one vacation a year but a multitude of vacations within a calendar year is no easy task. And yes, while the white waters and intricate temples do provide for envious Instagram photos, it most definitely comes at a price. The first question I always receive when people find out I love to travel is “How do you afford it?”….. Well, there’s not one simple answer. And I won’t tell you that skipping all the fun at home is the only way to do it…. Although that will help.
Aside from the usual savings account, I use a couple of websites and tricks to n***a rig the system. The first one being e-rewards. Although this does take some time and patience, the payoff is well worth it. I complete $100 worth in surveys once a month and redeem them for 2,000 American Airlines. American Airlines flies out of my hometown Charlotte and with 12,000 I can get a one-way ticket to almost anywhere in the U.S.A.
While two free flights a year might not be a lot to others…. That’s more than enough to get excited about for me.
Another way I save on traveling is I almost always stay in an Airbnb rather than a conventional hotel. I have included a link to save $40 on your first Airbnb trip which is another great way to save. Of course, I always check prices, I see no point in staying at an Airbnb if I can stay at a 4 or 5-star hotel for the same price. I always allow my plans to be swayed by the budget gods. I have also taken advantage of hostels although I only tend to look at those if I’m traveling solo or with one other person. Something I plan to one day tackle is couch surfing…… if you aren’t familiar with couch surfing I would definitely suggest checking it out. It may or may not be your cup of tea.
Now I told you guys I had a small arsenal of tricks up my sleeve and i’m not done revealing them yet. I love to take advantage of credit card offers from your favorite airlines. Mine currently are American Airlines and Southwest Airlines…. Ya girl is all about the free checked bag!!!! Now I would only suggest this if you feel responsible enough to pay it off every month. If somewhat defeats the purpose to carry a running balance since the interest rates are usually rather high…. (especially for a college student like myself). AMEX also has some great cards with amazing travel rewards. Many credit cards offer a healthy amount sign on bonus miles after you spend a certain amount. It would work well to use these cards for all the bills you already pay every month.
The biggest way to save money on travel is to be flexible with your destinations and dates. Many websites like skyscanner.com and Google Flights, my current favorite, allow you to search for destinations by cheapest month or cheapest airport to fly out of. Being able to fly out of New York city for Europe versus other airports like the one near me (CLT) could save you hundreds!!!!!!! I’m not a picky traveler and will catch a Greyhound bus to NYC in a heartbeat. In my opinion, having flexible dates is THE BIGGEST determining factor in finding the best travel deals.
Also, although I feel this is a no-brainer, follow different airlines for their sales. Southwest is notorious for doing $49 one way sales ALL THE TIME!!!! I mean seriously! If you live close to any major airport you should be able to find RT flights for under $150 or even $100 if you’re lucky. Through budget airlines like Spirit, Allegiant, and Ryanair you can get base flights for a cheap ad $15…. Especially if you go to the reception counter at your nearest airport.
Another option I’ve seen but never taken advantage of is wholesale vacation supplier websites like Groupon and TravelPirates often have really appealing air-inclusive trips. The only downside is that they are date specific. Often times the dates do not match my availability which is why I have yet to try them out. I’ve heard nothing but good reviews about these destinations.
Have you ever books a vacation through a wholesale retailer? Which one did you use. Overall, did it meat your expectations? Please leave your comments below. I love reading them!