You want to travel, but you’re broke. I get it. You daydream of margaritas on the beach in Cancun and Sangria on a night out in Madrid. You see travel blogs popping up everywhere with pictures and accounts of adventures that make you green with envy. You’re always tempted by those EF College break ads promising affordable trips abroad *cough* total ripoff *cough*. What if I told you that you don’t have to empty your life savings or get stuck paying $200-$300 a month for the next year just to escape the states for a while? Here are a few tips to keep in mind. (I’ve left the country once or twice, so I’m basically an expert.)
1) Travel within your means.
All the glamorous travel photos you see on Instagram have probably heightened your expectations for travel. Hence, you may feel you need to spend a significant amount of money to have a good experience. If you recognize you don’t need to stay in a fancy hotel and can settle for a hostel or Airbnb, you can drastically reduce your costs.
2) Be flexible.
Flexibility can drastically reduce your costs, and in some rare and extremely lucky scenarios, benefit you greatly. When planning your trip, keep in mind the day of your flight will influence the cost of your ticket. Often times, the same flight will cost more if you want to fly on a Friday or Saturday versus a Monday or Tuesday. Also, airlines have a nasty habit of overbooking their flights and thus sometimes ask passengers if they’re willing to take a later flight. If your schedule is flexible enough, I highly recommend taking the later flight. Often, they’ll give you a better seat and sometimes a voucher for future travel. United Airlines gave me 1000 dollars toward future United flights just for taking a plane that left two hours later than my original flight.
It will also benefit you to be flexible when considering which airports you fly in to and out of. For example, one flight to a particular destination may be less expensive if you fly out of Newark, N.J. instead of Philadelphia. When conducting an airfare search, check out nearby airports to ensure you’re getting the best deal.
3) Consider budget friendly airlines.
I suggest sticking to budget airlines like Norwegian (I scored roundtrip airfare to Europe for under 300 dollars) and Ryanair (for traveling within Europe). Your flight won’t be luxurious and in the case of Ryanair, your flight will likely be late, but they’ll still get you there. My favorite website for booking flights is skyscanner.com. I also follow a few twitter accounts that exist solely to share cheap airfare deals. One I’ve found extremely helpful is @theflightdeal if you’re not picky about your destination.
4) Follow me on Instagram @fightorflightrisk.
I admittedly don’t have a good reason for this one. It just might be a cool time, and you can see more pictures to fuel your drive to flee the states.
That’s all for now, kids. Safe travels.
Kaitlyn Blair is a fourth-year dual chemistry and biochemistry major with a minor in biology. She can be reached at KB830553@wcupa.edu.