I have heard from countless people, both in real life and online, that the hardest part about travelling is having the MONEY to do it. In many ways, they’re right; travelling can be expensive. Depending on where and when you go somewhere, the expense can range from doable to absolutely out of reach.
Personally, I saved money all throughout college specifically for travel. After going abroad spring semester my freshman year, I knew I wanted to continue to travel both during my time at school, and after. To do that, I needed to save up little by little to reach my travel goals.
The FIRST step to saving money, is being motivated to actually do it.
If you see a picture of the Taj Mahal and think “wow, I want to go there,” know that it may take months or years to save up the money to go. But that motivation will be what is driving your hard work and trust me, it WILL be worth it. If you have the drive, the rest will fall into place.
Here are some tricks, from one University student to another, that I used to save up travel money throughout college:
Live at home
I know, I know, sometimes this isn’t an option if you are going to school away from your hometown but if you are close to home, this is the EASIEST way to save up cash. Living expenses are so high all over the country and not paying rent is a great way to cut back on bills.
If you don’t live in your hometown consider moving off campus.Usually on campus housing is more expensive than splitting an apartment off campus with some friends. Do the traditional “college” thing and have two sets of bunk beds in one room. Sure, you’ll be cramped at times but it’ll be preparing you for all the amazing hostels you’ll be staying at in Europe, Asia or anywhere else you want to go!
Get a part time job, or two!
The easiest way to find a job is to look on campus! Universities always have jobs available to students, from tutoring, to being an office assistant, to working in the bookstore. These jobs are usually minimum wage but have flexible hours to fit around a course load. Working for your college is handy because they more than any other employer understand that your studies need to come first. I’ve had friends who worked on campus get extra hours over breaks and time off during finals, which you wouldn’t find anywhere else.
If working for your school doesn’t work out there are many other jobs that are great for college kids.
Being a Barista – working at any coffee shop is great because you get tips and can usually pick shifts that fit in your class schedule.
Working at a Gym – you get free membership at most places and your duties mainly include easy tasks like cleaning and checking people in.
Working at a Studio – If you have musical talent or experience in dance, gymnastics or yoga you can work at a music or fitness studio. I did this in college, teaching dance and preschool music classes and it was both fun and fulfilling. If you teach, you usually make a better hourly wage but many studios need front desk people or teaching assistants as well.
Nanny or Babysit – Usually both these jobs are all “under the table” meaning you’ll be making cold hard cash just for hanging out with some kids.
Working at a Bank – it is pretty easy to become a bank teller or at least a greeter at a bank. This job is great for people studying business or finance because it would look great on any resume! If you are good with numbers, look up some local bank or credit union branches and see what their qualifications are.
Waiter/Waitress – Restaurant work is always good for a part time job. Many restaurants require that you work as a busser (person who cleans off tables and such) before becoming a waiter but that’s easy work too!
Minimize spending on material goods
I, like many other people, love shopping. However, when I started saving my money I realized the quickest way to have more cash in my wallet was to just stop buying unnecessary things such as new clothes, products and shoes. Instead of spending $40 on a new sweater, search sales for a $20 one and put the extra $20 in savings. My shopping rule is now that if I don’t love it, I don’t buy it. AND if I do LOVE it, I wait a day to think it over. Most of the time after 24 hours I realize I don’t really need it and it’s not worth the money.
Make sure your bank is the BEST for you
Go online or go into your bank and see if there are any hidden fees, credit card transaction fees or random things that are costing you money. Now a days banks will pay you to switch to their branch and many give good interest rates to help encourage new customers to make the switch. If you are saving your money in an account that is taking $5 out every month and charges foreign transaction fees consider doing some research and changing where you hold your money.
Stop eating out
Most of the time when I would go out to eat it would be to catch up with a friend over lunch or dinner. Well, catching up with a friend will be just as fun and better for you if you two go on a WALK together or get COFFEE instead of a meal.
If you do want to eat consider going to the grocery store to buy ingredients and cooking together at home. This is ALWAYS cheaper and usually more fun. Plus, you improve your cooking skills while you’re at it.
If you do go out, consider getting soup. A bowl of soup is usually one of the cheapest things on the menu and can be very filling. Also, say no to buying any drinks and stick with water.
Clear clutter and sell it online
Craigslist can be a wonderful thing if you have a bike you never ride, a TV you don’t use or just random DVDs or games you want to get rid of. Clean out your room or apartment and see if you can sell some of your unnecessary items. I made about $200 selling old school books online which was enough to pay for my flight from Argentina to Brazil.
Make your own COFFEE
I know so many people that spend $5 or more a day buying lattes and other fancy coffee drinks. Save yourself money and make coffee at home. Also, you’re in college, learn to drink your coffee BLACK. It’s healthier and cheaper and better in every way.
Saving money is hard, no matter what your end goal is. But it is NOT impossible! Doing just ONE of the things on this list is a step in the right direction. It is important to view a big trip as an investment in your own life. Treat it with the same respect and dedication you would if you were buying a new car or taking out a school loan!