Budget Travel For College Students
When it is time to head home for the holidays, college students start packing and planning. Since many students are on a budget, finding good travel deals is essential. Follow these tips for traveling on a shoestring by air or by rail.
Purchase air tickets at least two weeks in advance. Travel on budget airlines, like Southwest Airlines. Southwest offers very low rates if you purchase your tickets online, and they have a low-fare calculator to help you find the cheapest days to travel. Jet Blue is another budget airline. If you decide to travel on an airline that charges for checked luggage, only take a carry-on bag. You are going home, after all, so if your forget to bring extra underwear your mom will take care of that.
Take food with you to the airport to avoid having to pay for overpriced snacks. Better yet, eat on the way to the airport! You may not be permitted to bring drinks through security at the airport, so only bring what you plan to drink before going through security. No sense throwing money away at the security line.
Traveling on the train may be cheaper than air travel, even though it takes longer to reach your destination. If you like to travel a lot, buying a rail pass is much cheaper than air travel. Amtrak offers student discounts, so make sure you take advantage of those.
Buy Amtrak tickets online. It is much cheaper than paying at the station or by phone. If you do not have an Amtrak Mastercard, consider getting one. Purchases made on the card give you points that you can redeem for free train tickets. Make sure you also buy your tickets early, just as you would if you were traveling by air. Amtrak often has special, low prices to certain areas. Always check the specials section of the website to see if your destination is on the deals list.
Buying food on the train can get rather expensive. Unlike when traveling on an airplane, there are no security checkpoints to go through with ridiculous rules and restrictions. You can take as much food and drink on board the train as you want. If you are going to be traveling on the train for more than 2 days, you may want to budget for a hot meal on the train. Otherwise, you can bring enough food to last for the entire journey. Bring high-protein snacks like beef jerky and protein bars. There is often a microwave available on the train, so you can bring individual microwavable meals and heat them up when you are hungry. Make sure you also bring plenty of water to drink.
Whether you travel by air or by rail, you can save money using these tips. The biggest thing to remember is to purchase your tickets early, regardless of your mode of travel. Use the money you save to buy the book you need for Psych 504, or to buy your mom some flowers.