So, if you’ve been following the travel-writer series, you might have some attitude with me now. Why? Well as much as I rant and rave about the awesomeness of traveling, I don’t seem to acknowledge the fact that we’re in a recession right about now. But trust me, I know. I’m a broke ass grad student making 13,000 a year to teach undergraduate classes. (Neo-indentured servitude, anyone?) But I’m still not going to let lack of cash and my cans-of-beans diet stand in the way of me seeing the world. So what do I do to travel with literally NO cash? I budget, and I hustle. And in this post I’ll teach you how to do the same! 🙂
1. If you’re a Student or Teacher, PIMP that status! Use STA!
There are plenty of student and teacher discounts just waiting to be snatched up by those of you who qualify. If you’re not a student, then enroll in the cheapest community college class you can. I don’t give a damn if it’s an online class, so long as it’s cheap and it’s a class that benefits you. Once you’ve achieved student or teacher status, all of your discounts will come rolling in. First off, make sure you pick up a teacher or student ID card (Check out my Travel Documents, Part II post to get more information on how to do that!). Secondly, you’ll want to check out your local STA office, which is literally the Student Travel Agency. These bad boys are amazing at helping you get the cheapest flights and the cheapest tours and hostel / hotel rates. It’s practically UNFAIR how much money they save you on traveling. Check them out. I only paid $350 for a Delta non-stop flight from Newark, NJ to Madrid Spain. Yes. YES. Just do it. Book your tix and other stuff through STA.
2. Get the cheapest plane tickets in the Universe at Kayak.com or Bookingbuddy.com.
Kayak.com was invented by demi-gods who could not join the gods of Olympus but still needed a way to get to the tops of their own mountains. So they took cheap ass planes and like a monolithic Promethean Moses, sent down their blessings in the form of cheap and awesome fares. USE kayak.com! That or bookingbuddy.com! It has a bunch of amazing features, which include a monthly calendar that compares and contrasts plane fares by the day you plan to fly out. Friday flight looking too expensive? Consider a flight that previous Wednesday for, oh, 100 dollars cheaper. Yeah. Do it.
3. Get off your high horse and swap out hotels for hostels. Or, if you’re bold, check out couchsurfing!
Hostels are great places to stay. You get to meet a bunch of really awesome fellow travelers, learn from people from different cultures, speak different languages, and sleep and store your stuff for SUPER cheap. Hostelworld.com is a great place to find awesome hostels at great prices all over the world. And hey, if you don’t want to stay with a bunch of hyperactive undergrads, that’s no problem either! You can get totally affordable private rooms at hostels for some amazing rates. In addition, hostels almost always have city maps, cheap guided tours, and insights to all the hotspots around town (whether you’re looking for the hot club scene or the cool cultural vibe, you’ll find it all at the hostel’s front desk)! So don’t be uppity. Get your culture on, and hit up a hostel near you!
Or, as I suggested, you can also check out couchsurfing! Couch Surfing is a phenomenon that caught on and BLEW UP worldwide as people decided to offer their couch space in return for staying on others’ couches all around the world! If you’re a little skeptical, check out the website. People fill out their profiles, put up pictures, and even get rated by former surfers and the couch surfing website. There is even a certification process to ensure you aren’t getting scammed or staying with some creepster. You have an option of choosing who you want to stay with (including a girls-only option for the safety of the ladies), and you also have the opportunity to offer up your own space with as many or as few limitations as possible. ALSO, most couch surfers are more than happy to show you around town and give you tours while you stay with them! And guess what? Couchsurfing is totally FREE! Don’t knock it before you try it! Check it out now and see a whole new world open up to you.
Want more travel hustling tips? Then, stay tuned into the travel-writer series as I count down the weeks to my backpacking trip through Eastern Europe! Also, give your perspective on pinching pennies below! What have you done to save money before and during traveling?
Keep it indie,