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France. Italy. Greece. Spain. India. Africa.

Just a few of the many destinations you’ve sat in class daydreaming about.

They’re just that though: daydreams. I mean, if you have to log into your bank account to see if you really should order that 2 am Dominoes or not, traveling is definitely off the table, right?

Wrong. Read on to learn just how cheap and even free traveling can be.

  1. Helpstay.com

I first learned about this website while on a three-week missions trip in Ghana. I was talking with one of my mentors on the team about how hard it is to travel with a limited student budget. She recommended me to explore this site, and I highly recommend you do the same. Helpstay.com is basically a place where people all over the world post jobs they need help with and in return offer free board and often free meals. Some of the jobs currently listed include: teaching village children in Sri Lanka, helping vacuum and buy groceries for an elderly woman in Paris, exercising horses on a ranch in Spain, rescuing dogs in Thailand and helping answer phone calls at a surf hostel in Ireland. All of these listings offer a free room with wifi, water and electricity in return for a specific amount of daily service hours. They usually accommodate more than one volunteer, and some even allow couples. Many include additional benefits, like the surf hostel in Ireland allows you to use their surf equipment and bikes whenever you want. Sounds too good to be true right? Helpstay.com allows students to save hundreds to thousands of dollars. All you have to do is pay $20 to join the community and save up for a plane ticket and you’re good to go!

2. Hostels

If you aren’t aware, a hostel is simply inexpensive or free lodging for travelers. Some offer private rooms and others are more communal with bunk beds. Most people don’t have the most positive images pop in their head when they hear this word. There is a general assumption that hostels are dirty, dangerous and uncomfortable. This is truly not the case. They are one of the easiest ways to travel on a budget and meet people while doing so. You can find one to stay in through hostels.com or simply Googling: hostels in *insert your destination city*. Cost ranges from free to upwards of $20, so make sure to search for the best deal. I have personally stayed in one and experienced a clean shower with hot water and a great night’s sleep. I also was able to meet and talk to many other travelers. Hostels not only help you save money but introduce you to a community of people who are usually more than happy to give you advice on where to eat or unique things to go see.

3. No More Uber or Taxis

While you might be familiar and comfortable with using them, fares can pile up quick. Try using the metro system to get across town. If the maps and different lines overwhelms you, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help. I used the metro the entire time I was in Paris and spent a few euros a day to get all around the city. Another option is ride sharing. Try checking out blablacar.com and you might be surprised at how quick you find a ride. While yes this means driving with strangers, traveling is all about new experiences and meeting people. Who knows, maybe the person driving owns a winery and you end up getting to try the greatest wine you’ve ever tasted. Another option, if the weather permits, is renting a bike. Depending on where you are staying, bikes might be the cheapest and fastest option to get around.

There are many other ways to travel on a budget but these are the main three I have found make the biggest difference. Hopefully by now the travel bug has bitten and you are itching to explore these websites and turn that daydream into a reality. If you need any help or have any questions, feel free to contact me!


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Abby Riggs

Lover of John Mayer, curry, Game of Thrones and writing.


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