This blog post was updated on April 24, 2023.
If you’re a college student, then you’re probably filled with ambition to see the world AND bewilderment on how you can afford to do it. But being a broke university student doesn’t mean your travel options are limited to road trips and cheap spring break hot spots. In fact, there are plenty of ways that college students with limited means can take international trips and see foreign destinations.
Sure, you won’t be traveling in luxury — that can wait until a few years AFTER you graduate — but you’ll be able to experience and learn more about the world at large. All you need to do is follow these tips for traveling college students go abroad for cheap.
Check for Student Discounts on Flights
Going to college means you’re often thrown into experiences you may not be used to. It’s kind of the point. So you probably don’t know that you don’t have to book a flight like everyone else (non-students). Because no matter where you’re headed: you will miss out on savings if you just book the standard airfare. Students have plenty of airline discounts available to them, and many of them don’t even know! You can start looking for student airfares directly with airlines or browse listings on online travel agency websites.
Sign Up For Student Cards for Travel Savings
In addition to flight deals, being college students also qualifies you (along with minimal annual fees) for certain student discount cards. Check them out, because these cards offer many travel-related discounts. The Student Advantage Card, for example, offers plenty of deals on shops, restaurants, and travel providers. The International Student Identity Card also provides student discounts, with many museums, tours, and international attractions. They’re ideal studying abroad!
Always Pack Light!
It might be tempting to fill suitcases with clothes and other personal items that, but in the end, you’re not going to need at all. While you might want to pack everything you can think of, being in college allows you to not actually need a lot. Your trips don’t have business meetings or fancy dinners at elegant restaurants, so you don’t need to dress to impress or go all out in your style. Packing light saves you from spending on hidden baggage fees and storage solutions when you get to your destinations, as well as allows you to jump on last-minute deals at a moment’s notice.
Inquire About Special Hotel Rates for Students
Like airline tickets, it’s not a bad idea to check out for discounted rooms in hotels or hostels for students. Most hotels in college towns and big cities offer special rates for students. Some don’t always advertise their student-rates, especially online, so it always pays to pick up the phone and ask what, if any, discounts do they have for students.
Do Working Holidays
One easy way for college students to travel abroad is to sign up for a working holiday visa. This specific type of visa allows the holder to visit a foreign country and work for a short period of time. Finding a job while abroad will also give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the everyday life and culture of the people of your destination!
One of the most popular jobs to perform during one of these programs is teaching English to the local folks. Apart from being in high demand everywhere, teaching English is usually well paid and will look great on your resume when you return back home. Just be sure to check the educational requirements of a particular job before you get your heart set on it. By combining work with travel, you will kill two birds with one stone!
You may also like: Broke College Students Can Travel Too…Here’s How!
Find Programs with Scholarships to Study Abroad
There’s definitely a way to save money with study programs abroad if you know where to look. Depending on your current financial status and academic achievements, you may be eligible to receive a substantial amount of money. If you don’t qualify for a scholarship, don’t despair. You can still look into grants or specific loans for these programs.
It’s important to remember that travel on its own is, actually, another form of education. So don’t be shy about reaching out to different scholarship programs to see what kind of aid you may qualify for. There’s no shame in trying to fund your international travel adventures! A good place to start your search for scholarship money is asking your guidance counselor. If your college has a study abroad program, it will also be an invaluable source of information on how you can get this extra funding.
Give back to the world around you while exploring all that it is has to offer by volunteering your time while studying abroad! You’ll soon find out that there’s no shortage of amazing experiences to have when you decide to step out of your comfort zone and help those around you. Pick a cause that you feel passionate about and dive right in!
As a bonus, you will feel inherently good about what you’ve done to contribute to the greater good. The experience gained from a volunteer trip will also help your employability in future years. Lastly, you’ll connect with like-minded individuals if you choose a volunteer opportunity that sparks your personal interest.
Use Student-Focused Tour Agencies
Tour agencies focused on students entail multiple advantages. Not only will they be planning activities that are of most interest to you, but you’ll also likely enjoy the trip at a lesser cost than by going through a traditional tour.
Student-driven tour groups understand the budget constraints of this age group. This means that you’re not going to be asked to drop a significant amount of money on extravagant experiences and lodging accommodations. You’ll also get more out of the trip if you travel with others who share the same interests as you, enhancing, even more, your overall travel abroad experience.
Make Friends with the Locals
Being intentional about connecting with locals will help you to make the most out of this unique travel opportunity. Besides, making friends with the locals is always a good goal regardless of your travel situation. Local people will usually provide the best recommendations that you won’t find in guidebooks.
Connecting with locals on your trips will not only allow you to enjoy the best-hidden tips but also save money while at it. Local residents are more likely to know where to get the best cheap meals on the go or how to take advantage of special events, so be sure to make the proper research even before you get those cheap one way flights to take you there!