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12 Traveling Tips for Students on a Budget

Seeing more of the world doesn't have to be expensive or complicated. Here are our top traveling tips for students.

Updated: 10 October 2022

Student travel may seem complex and expensive, but this is the perfect time in your life to do it. There are actually few times in your life when you’ll have so few commitments, so make the most of it, which is why we’ve compiled these traveling tips for students.

Whether it’s a whirlwind gap year spent trekking across Europe, enlisting in a volunteer program in developing countries, or independent travel, traveling as a college student is not only possible, but will shape your very future.

If you are on a tight budget or are struggling to choose between traveling and studying, these tips are for you.

And don’t forget to download the Air Doctor app on iOS or Android before your trip to have a doctor on call if you need it.

Traveling Tips for Students Itching to Explore

1. Start Saving Money

Like most things in life, travel doesn’t come for free. But that doesn’t mean you should let finances hold you back. In fact, student travel is probably not as expensive as you think. Traveling for students is much easier to do on a budget, especially compared to when you’re older.

In general, young people are more easygoing about budget-friendly options like sleeping in hostels and eating local street food. However, unless you win the lottery, you’re going to have to make some sacrifices. Stop spending your money on day-to-day things, start putting some money aside, and once you’re globetrotting, you’ll be thanking yourself.

2. Make Use Of Student Discounts

When you’re traveling as a college student, don’t forget to bring along your student ID. As it turns out, you will not want to leave this one behind. Why? The student discounts. While in some countries, you may need an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), you will be greatly rewarded with discounted rates on things like museum passes, hostel stays, and even train tickets! So, don’t be shy to ask about student rates.

3. Study Abroad

If you can’t afford to study and travel, combine your college experience with your gap year by studying abroad. Many universities offer students the option to study overseas to gain valuable life experiences as part of their degree. Study Abroad programs offer students who want to travel the chance to learn in a new country, often in English. You might even be eligible for a scholarship or grant. Why not further your education with international experience?

4. Go On A Working Holiday

Maybe you are still in college, but you want to travel over the summer, or perhaps you just graduated, and you’re low on funds – then a working holiday is perfect for you. A working holiday visa allows you to travel in a foreign country and work for a few months, and in some countries, even years.

You could sheer sheep in New Zealand, work as a bartender in Dubai, or even start a corporate internship if you wish to jumpstart your career in an international setting. And the international work experience can boost the power of your resume to future employers.

5. Teach English Abroad

In addition to a working holiday, another popular option is to teach English abroad in a non-native English-speaking country. Many popular destinations for this include Singapore, China, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, and South Korea.

You move overseas and teach children or company employees how to speak better English – the job is in high demand, but these gigs often pay well. Many teaching positions require a college degree first, and typically there’s a certification process too. But once it’s all sorted, it’s a great way to experience the world while earning an income.

6. Do Some Volunteering Overseas

Many young people dream of making a difference in the world. Well, this could be the perfect opportunity to gain some travel experience and do some much-needed good in the world. Make sure to do your research before you enroll in any kind of international volunteer project because some of them might not be as legit. One that is making a difference is the United State Peace Corp, with many projects to choose from that allow you to “work in the world.”

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7. Eat Where It’s Cheap Or Cook At Home

If you’re located in a popular tourist area, there’ll likely be more street vendors around. Eating at these street-side stalls will help you keep the cap on your daily budget. Head to carts with longer lines to spot the real gems. Or if your accommodation has kitchen facilities, make use of them. It’s cheaper than eating out for every meal, and you get to experience picking out local items from markets or grocery stores. 

8. Plan The Trip Yourself

It’s not that scary planning your own trip – and it will definitely work out cheaper. Just scour the internet, sign up for airline newsletters, and keep your notifications on, and you’re sure to not only plan your perfect trip but also find some amazing budget deals!

The truth is, learning how to find low-cost plane airfare and accommodation is an art form, yes it requires some elbow grease and scrolling multiple sites, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

9. Choose A Budget-Friendly Destination

If you’re wanting to travel and you’re on a tight budget then you should probably not pick a notoriously expensive destination. Consider your destination carefully and you’ll end up saving a ton of money. Some destinations are just easier to travel cheaply to than others.

For instance, the Greek Isles might be your bucket-list trip, but it’s a lot more expensive than visiting Croatia or Turkey. Central and South America, and Southeast Asia are also home to incredible budget-friendly places.

10. Pick A City That’s Walkable

Another clever money-saving trip for traveling on a budget is choosing a destination that’s super walkable. That means Uber and car rentals won’t be a problem. For instance, New Orleans, Florence, and Edinburgh are all incredibly walkable cities – in fact, Florence ranked number one by Tourlane in their The World’s Most Walkable Cities. Pick a budget-friendly destination off this list and you’re bound to get a bang for your buck!

11. Skip Peak Season

Many budget travelers swear by this golden rule: travel during the off-season. Off-season or “shoulder season” (in between peak and non-peak season) varies from destination to destination. Do your research and find out what the places you’re considering visiting are like in off-season – obviously if it’s a little village that completely shuts down when the tourists are gone, then it won’t be ideal, but that’s up to you and your piggy bank.

12. Pack Light

If you want an easy way to save money while traveling, try to avoid checking a bag. Some airlines offer a free checked bag (especially when flying internationally), but many still charge for overweight luggage. That means you could get stuck having to pay for extra baggage. So, ditch the baggage and pack light.

Traveling as a college student offers more benefits than anything else. Any sacrifices, challenges, and fears you overcome will be well worth it once you become a student of the world.


Jenny Cohen Drefler

Jenny Cohen Derfler

Air Dr CEO & Co-Founder

Jenny is the CEO and one of the Co-Founders at Air Doctor. She spent more than 20 years at Intel, most recently as general manager of its manufacturing facility in Israel and before that in various engineering and manufacturing roles in Silicon Valley. Air Doctor is her second startup having previously founded electric vehicle company ElectRoad.