How to Travel as A College Student

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I love traveling. A lot of people have heard me say that travel is my “anti-drug.” That’s the truth. There is nothing better than visiting someplace different and enjoying a new city. When I graduated high school and went to college (shout out to Savannah State University). I vowed to travel whenever the opportunity presented itself. Looking back at my college years I can say that I was very successful at doing that. I visited several cities such as Miami, NYC, Las Vegas, and Nashville when I was an undergrad. People would ask me “Aren’t college students supposed to be broke?” In today’s post, I discuss different ways on how to travel as a college student. It’s going to be easier than you thought. Participating in illegal activities was not one of them! Cheap student travel can happen.

Stay with friends or family

The 1st way that you can travel as a college student was to stay with family or friends. On some of the trips that I went on, I stayed with friends. If they had an extra couch or decent floor space, I was there. I easily saved a couple of hundred dollars by doing that. It took the stress out of trying to find a hotel or other place of lodging.

Stay with frat/sorors

I joined a fraternity during my third year in college. Little did I know how many people I would meet and network with because of that. After I had crossed, my frat bros and I started going to parties, and step shows at other schools. We began meeting people from all over the country. A lot of them were really cool. They would say “Let me know when you’re coming to my city. You can stay with us”. I can’t even remember how many times I took people up on their offers. There was one semester where I went on road trips almost every other weekend. I only remember coming out of the pocket for a hotel room twice. I wrote all that to say that if you are in a frat or sorority, use your network and reach out to people.

Use some of the student refund

We’re up to number three on the list of how to travel as a college student. I will be the first to say I never purchased a car or expensive clothes with my student refund. However, I did use some of my refund for a few trips. This may not be the smartest decision, especially if your refund is student loan money. You will eventually have to pay back. Just keeping it real, some of my refund was from student loans. I don’t regret using it to travel at all. It allowed me to see other cities besides Atlanta and Savannah. My comfort zone expanded because of that. I’m sure the same will happen to you. Just don’t spend too much of your refund.

Work a PT job

I worked a part-time job during the majority of my college days. At one of the jobs, I was a busser at a restaurant. I made GREAT money there. After I had paid the couple bills that I had each month, I was able to save a decent amount for travel. A couple of road trips and fraternity conferences were paid with that money. The crazy thing was that I didn’t get a car until the summer before my senior year. I found several ways to get to that job before then.

Travel as a group

The most common way I saved money was to travel with a group of people. There were numerous road trips where 4-5 of us would pile into someone’s car and split the gas and hotel charges. If we knew someone that lived in the city that we were visiting, we would save even more money by just having to pay for gas. Numerous road trips cost less than $60 per person because of this strategy.

If you’re going to do group travel make sure that you and the people that you’re traveling with are on one accord.  Out of all the group trips that I’ve been on I only had one that started off bad. To keep it short I will just say that I ended up having to book a room at another hotel to keep people from potentially fighting. Most of the group came with me while three people stayed at the original hotel.  Once we separated from them, the trip turned out great.

I wish that I could have added studying abroad as the 6th item on this list. It sucks that I can’t. I really wanted to study abroad when I was in college, but I let procrastination and doubt get to me. That is one of the few regrets that I have in life.

Below are some  travel resources that I recommend


I’ve been using Priceline since I was in college. This is one of my go-to websites when it comes to travel. They have a lot of hotel deals on their site. You can get Express Deals or if you live on the wild side, you can Name Your Own Price.


Some days you will be driving longer than others. You may not want to get off the exit or go to a store. Bring a cooler and fill it up with food and snacks. You have no idea how handy this will be for you. Here is an example of a cooler that you can use. It’s only $14 and doesn’t take up much space.


If you want to save money on your lodging, check out Airbnb. I booked rooms with them in Cuba and Miami. The places were nice and I saved money. If you are interested in trying out Airbnb for the first time, check out my link here. New users get $40 off their first stay of $75 or more.



Did you travel much as a college student? If you did, how did you make it happen? What other ways do you have for cheap student travel?


  1. The frat house thing is really cool! It seems that would expand the cities you could choose from. No regret! You’re too young for that:) I have a feeling you’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future to go abroad:)

  2. Hi Jason,

    I can see how you were about to become well traveled in college. Staying with people you know when you’re in town is a great way to save money. In some cases it could fund a another trip completely.

    I used to like to do fun things with my refund also. Originally it became unexpected funds so I wanted to make it memorable. I don’t regret it because it didn’t result in me being put in a bad place financially.

    I had family that worked for the airlines and belonged to all these clubs that offered discounts with different companies so that allowed me to be a savvy traveler.


    1. I wish I had family that worked for the airlines. The amount of trips I went on would probably have doubled lol.

  3. I went to Mexico the Summer after my first semester at college and I paid for it in a unique way: playing poker! No joke! For the most part, though, I took shorter trips in college (weekends for the most part) and stayed with friends at other colleges.

    1. That’s pretty cool. I need to learn how to play poker.

  4. These are great tips! I didn’t travel much at all during college but I did study abroad the summer of my junior year in Ireland for a month and it was amazing. I used income from my part-time job, my school and tax refunds and grant money to help fund the trip.

  5. It’s amazing all the ways you can travel on a tight budget. When you are college age, I’m sure it’s all just part of the fun and adventure. 🙂

    1. It definitely was part of the adventure!

  6. I can remember piling about 10 people in the back of the van and then driving for what seemed like forever from Kent State in Ohio to Washington D.C. where we slept on the floor of a church.

  7. Hi Jason. I didn’t begin travelling much until I was married and we both had a good income to fuel our lust for travel. At first we camped, and that was not too expensive, but the older I got, the more I developed a taste for luxury.

    Travel is definitely a way to expand our horizons, discover ourselves and discover new cultures and customs along the way.

  8. I travelled more as a student than I do now! I was young, single and carefree!

    Like you, I like to travel and if I had my way, would do so more often.

    I like tasting new cuisines, meeting new people and waking up in a new environment.

    High on my list;
    San Francisco
    Hong Kong

    1. That’s a good list. All of those cities are on mine.

  9. There are great tips in here, Jason. And like Jacquie said: no regrets. You may still come across the opportunity to study abroad…students aren’t the only ones who get to have fun, right?

    1. I doubt I will be studying abroad, but I will definitely travel abroad soon.

  10. It’s great that you were able to travel as much as you did as a college student. Travelling with others to split costs and staying with family and friends are good ways to keep costs down. And can also be a lot of fun.

  11. I traveled as a college student by working summers in Yellowstone National Park. I even ended up taking a couple of years off to work winters in the Everglades. The road trips in between the two parks definitely stand as some of the best memories of my life.

    1. I love the memories that I have from road trips. I can’t wait to make some more memories.

  12. Jason, I’m glad you were able to travel during your college days. Those days are the last of the really ‘carefree’ days for young people and making the most of them, as you have, is so important. Those memories, and friendships, will see you through some rough patches. And with your interest and determination I’m sure your overseas trip will come. I’ll look forward to reading all about it.

  13. Great tips for traveling. I am on a tight budget, but do no have friends or family which live away. You can always travel nearby, there might be a big wide world, but it is still outside your doorstep.

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