Over the years I have become a pro at traveling across the country with no car and little money. This summer is the last summer before I have to grow up and get a real job, therefore I’m spending my time seeing as many people and places as possible.
How do I do it all as a poor college kid?
FLIGHTS Most important: SAVE! Save your money now so when you decide to take that trip, you have resources to work with. Second most important: shop around. Take a little extra time to check those travel sites like Kayak.com or Expedia. Sites like those usually have calendars to help you pick the cheapest dates to travel. (Then I go directly to the airline’s website to avoid any extra fees.)
GROUND TRAVEL If you don’t need to fly, there are many more options! Buses and trains are my favorite modes of transportation. And in today’s world, these options are much cleaner and more comfortable. Again, all you need to do is shop around. The cheapest might not be the most direct. For example, to get from Syracuse, NY to Harrisburg, PA, the best route for me was taking a $20 bus from Syracuse to Philadelphia, then a $10 train from Philly to Harrisburg. If you mix companies, you can cut down on time and price.
My favorite traveling resources:
LODGING When I travel, I am usually traveling to visit friends or family. As a result, I always have a place to stay. I am also lucky enough to have a vast network of people to visit. In Europe, hostels were a great (and dirt cheap) place to stay. Some big cities in the states have hostels, but it’s not common. You could also give CouchSurfing a try. I have yet to try it, so I cannot vouch for it’s success (or safety) but I’d love to give it a chance.
Important to remember! Always be gracious and appreciative of your host. They are opening their home to you, show some respect. If you’ve got the money, offering to buy dinner or drinks can be a nice gesture. Thank you cards also say a lot. As you travel, you build a reputation. Making yourself known as a pleasant house guest will lead to more invitations.
Another favorite resource of mine is StumbleUpon. Stumbling the travel category can give you numerous ideas and suggestions.
It’s also important to remember, if you’re looking for the cheapest option, you might have to skimp on comfort.
**Feel free to send me your travel tips, stories, and/or questions!
Good luck my fellow travelers!