Travel For Students: Inexpensive Ways To Get Anywhere You Need

Travel is always going to involve some cost, but if you know where to find a deal, you can get anywhere you need for relatively cheap.

Traveling on a student budget is never easy. The major forms of transportation always cost money that would be better spent on rent, food, and the occasional good time. Unfortunately, for some students travel is a necessity to get between parents and school, and others feel constrained without a change of scenery from time to time. So how does one take advantage of the options available while still saving as much as possible?

First, you should always consider the wide variety of methods at your disposal. Planes, trains, buses and automobiles are all capable of taking you cross-country - for a fee. You must think about your current location versus where you are going before making this particular choice - eight days' drive across the country may not be in your best interests when there is a train or affordable plane available to you.

Traveling by car is undoubtedly the cheapest route, if you own or can borrow a car. Renting may be a bit more expensive, especially if your trip is one-way or for an extended stay. Generally a rental car can be left at a branch in your destination city, but more often than not it will involve fees. You must also factor in the cost of gas and lodging, in particular if you will be traveling alone. Going without sleep in order to cover a few extra miles isn't worth the risk of falling asleep at the wheel.

Automobile travel does permit you some measure of choice than can help you cut costs. Get a student discount card from your local travel agency or school, and use it to get discounts on hotels and meals. Research hostels you can stay at and know where to find them. Bring sandwiches and a cooler full of drinks to keep yourself well-fed for a minimal price. And, if you can, stop to visit friends and family en route - you may be provided with a free meal or place to crash.

Traveling by bus also has its advantages and disadvantages. It is far cheaper than renting a car, and you don't have to pay gas costs - however, you can't control the pace or make impromptu stops. Fortunately, there are occasionally specials where you can buy a ticket for a companion at a reduced cost or even for free, making the trip a little easier. A bus ride can be lengthy and boring, so you will have to bring something to keep yourself entertained, but in the end the money you save will likely be worth it. A comfy seat and a good book on a bus ride is also far less stressful than six hours behind the wheel of your car!

Trains are by far the best inexpensive method of travel, though they are usually considerably more costly than buses. Depending on the line, you might have the option of a small cabin to yourself, which affords you privacy and a place to sleep. Trains are fast and efficient. The obvious downfall, of course, is that they may not be going where you are! Changing from a train to another form of transportation mid-trip can be difficult, so if you are using this method, research all the details of your line very carefully.

When one first deems a vacation "expensive," it is usually because their first thought is about the steep cost of airline tickets. Fortunately, the price of flying has come down in recent years, putting air travel back on the list of options for penny-pinchers - in particular if you know how to get a deal. Flying is also, of course, the only option for getting overseas, so keep these tips in mind for international travel:

-Prices are generally better on certain days of the week. Flying on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday is undoubtedly going to save you a few dollars.

-If there are two airports in cities equal distance from your eventual destination, or even slightly further away, check them both. Higher-trafficked airports are occasionally cheaper if you book early enough.

-Watch for "seat sales"! These will be advertised through travel agencies, on airline websites, and even in your local newspaper. Sometimes you can get tickets for as low as half price.

-Look into travel agencies that advertise their prices as the "lowest". If you can find a cheaper fare through an airline's website or another agency, they may match or beat the price.

-Consider traveling overnight or at odd times. Fare for late morning and afternoon flights tends to run higher than late evening/early morning ones.

No matter how you choose to travel, always inquire about a student discount, and look for a bargain. Bring your own food and turn off your cell phone, use text messaging or change temporarily to a Roaming cell phone plan. Sleep in hostels instead of motels, and motels instead of hotels. Stay with friends, family or that guy you met at a conference last year. Take public transit to the airport or train/bus station instead of calling a cab. There are ways to cut every cost and get you wherever you want, if you know where to look!

© High Speed Ventures 2011