Spring break. The quintessential travel time for students.
If you’re not beach hopping in Cancun, sight-seeing in New York, or moguling in Vail, you might as well pack your bags and store them someplace for the week while you hide out at the library and prep ahead of time for finals, just to avoid the humiliation of not being able to jet off for the week.
Or, you could figure out a way to travel cheap. Find discount airfare or take a group road trip and then beg to crash on a relative of a relative’s basement couch.
No matter how many nights you spend flipping burgers or waiting tables, if you’re going to fly on a student budget, you’re going to need find affordable airline tickets. Here are three ways to nail down cheap tickets.
1. Friends and Family Donations
It can never hurt to try to bum off some friends and family members who travel more frequently than you do; they may have more ticket vouchers on the brink of expiration than they know what to do with.
2. Rewards and Membership Programs
AAA memberships, entertainment and coupon books, and student discount programs are always cost-effective, but often-neglected tools for scoring cheap airline tickets or booking cheap vacation packages.
3. Last-Minute Flights
If you can handle the travel-by-the-seat-of-your-pants style of vacation, you can land some outrageously cheap air flights for both local and international destinations.
There are three key parts to a successful and affordable road trip, no matter what your destination is.
1. Split the Cost of Gas
With gas prices relatively low right now, a long road trip isn’t going to break the bank, but you want to lay ground rules for how everyone is going to contribute to fuel expenses before the key even hits the ignition.
2. Buy Snacks in Bulk
The basic rule of thumb is to pool your resources at the local grocery or warehouse store to find something salty, something sweet, something crunchy, something neat. And plan for ready-made or easy-to-make on-the-road meals like PB&J.
3. Get an Inspection
Road trips are usually planned best when there’s no planning involved, but you still want to make sure your vehicle isn’t going to cause you any on-the-road repair costs, which can be impossibly pricey. If nothing else, make sure to drop in for an oil change and a quick check of tire pressure and tread before heading out. And it can never hurt to have an emergency car safety kit on hand.
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