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Getting Home Without Going Broke – Student Travel Hacks

airplaneIt’s hard enough to be away from home, and even more difficult to not be able to visit loved ones because of the financial burden of getting there.

We feel your pain. It’s hard without your folks’ help, isn’t it? But rest assured you CAN make it home without hitchhiking there! We’re here to provide you with the tools you need to SAVE money on your trip home.

1) Before you go, visit your favorite stores for supplies (and presents for mom or your high school crush) with your student ID. Some stores don’t even advertise savings for students so speak up and ask. You never know when you might stumble upon a sweet deal.

2) Say goodbye to flight-booking woes!

  • Don’t procrastinate. Plan a head, but not too far out. Our sweet spot is three weeks to four months before takeoff.
  • Sign up for emails from travel sites or airlines to get the inside scoop on exclusive fares and flash sales.
  • Flexible? Travel on the holiday, rather than before or after it.
  • Weekend travel is pricy! Fly on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, stay during the week and leave before the weekend.
  • Check airfares from airports in the area to uncover hidden deals. For example, setting your departure point as “New York” (instead of “JFK”) for deals from all surrounding airports.
  • Think you’ve found a cheap flight? Double check. Call and ask about “unpublished deals” – they might be cheaper than what you’ve found on the web.
  • Research airline fees: carry-on bags, ticket changes, blankets and pillows, pets, in-flight food, and beverages.  Added tip – You can save money on purchasing food at the airport by making a snack and bringing it along for the ride. (might be tastier too!)

3) A few pre-booking tidbits:

  • Schedule your trip during off-peak travel times if you can.  Flights to Europe are more affordable in winter, fares to Florida or the Caribbean dip in summer, and New York City fares are best in spring.
  • Only use a carry-on bag – it’ll save you time and money, and you CAN do laundry while you’re away.
  • Beware the phony “student package.” Ever come across a deal that looks too good to be true? Check for reviews from happy travelers. Don’t see anything good? Don’t buy into it.
  • Plot how you’ll get to the airport. Don’t leave too late and miss your flight! Check with friends who have a car, see if there’s a shuttle or bus, and get there on time, for less. Many cities have an air train or public transport that takes you directly to the airport, and they are affordable alternatives to taking a taxi.

4)  While you’re home, you don’t have to stay in to save.

  • Always check in on Yelp or Foursquare to take advantage of special offers.
  • Going international? Put your phone on airplane mode unless you’re in a Wi-Fi area. Or don’t and get stuck with charges, costly calls, and texts.
  • If you have some time, take a day trip to an affordable city nearby. Check out Nashville or San Antonio in the South. Visit Salt Lake City on the West Coast. Explore Providence or Pittsburgh on the East Coast.
  • Bored around the house? Get out and explore the attractions in your area – they might offer free admission at certain times and days. Some theaters have student discounts too.

Making the trip home isn’t as tricky or expensive as you thought. Fortunately for you, broke student, it IS possible to travel without feeling the sting of buyer’s remorse. So what are you waiting for? Happy and Safe Travels!

About the Author:

Today’s guest article comes from Rachel Smith. She is a writer for CheapOair, a company that specializes in low air fares and accommodations. In this article, she offers tips to students traveling home for break on how to save money on the trip. To book your cheap flight, visit CheapOair today.

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