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Budget Summer Travel Tips for the Broke College Intern

Tue, May 8, 2012

Internship Uncategorized

Summer is a glorious season, especially while still in school. Sunny skies, warm weather, and no classes equal a much-needed break for stressed out students. A student’s budget, however, doesn’t lend itself easily to taking many summer trips. If you’re a summer intern itching to get away, follow these tips to help create a budget-friendly vacation.

If you plan to fly, start looking early. Pick an approximate date months away and you’re much likelier to find cheap plane tickets. You’ll have time to research which airline offers the best prices around your travel dates, and the more flexible you can be in your planning, the better deal you’ll be able to find. Plus the earlier you plan ahead, the more money you can save each pay period for the your trip.

Consider checking into low fare airlines, like Southwest, for really good deals on tickets. While travel sites like Travelocity and Priceline are great comparison tools, they don’t necessarily offer you the cheapest ticket prices and often charge extra fees so also check into purchasing tickets directly from your airline of choice. You might also want to look online for websites that show you the cheapest times to buy plane tickets. Then, save even more money by only taking what will fit in your carry-on to avoid baggage fees.

The costs of flying snowball quickly, so consider saving money by planning a road trip instead of flying. A road trip opens up the possibilities to all kinds of other vacations. You just never know what you will discover en route to a destination. Find a couple trip buddies (fellow broke interns would be the perfect choice) to keep gas costs really low. Plan ahead and found out what areas have the cheapest gas prices to lower your costs even more.

Once on the road, keep food costs low by bringing a cooler where you can store snacks, sandwiches, fruit, and drinks instead of hitting up the drive-thru and convenience stores. A burger combo here and there is cheap, but if you’re depending on that for all meals, that money will snowball before you know it. Avoid buying food in convenience stores and instead look for grocery stores to keep your cooler stocked.

Whether you fly or drive, once you get to your destination, lodging can get really pricey. If you start early enough, you may be able to find great deals on hotels or motels but you should also consider cheaper arrangements. Hostels, while abundant throughout Europe, are not as common in the U.S. but they’re still around, especially in bigger cities. If you can’t find a hostel and have a tent, consider camping. It will offer a very low budget, if not free, option. Especially if road tripping, camping will save you hundreds of dollars and open up a country worth of places to sleep. Another lodging option is looking into the widely popular site for like-minded travelers called Couchsurfing. Not only will you find people offering their homes for free lodging, you’ll find a local who might be able to offer you a local’s experience of their city. Surfers and hosts alike will tell you that the organization is about a lot more than just a free place to stay so it’s worth a chance!

Summer is an essential time of recuperation for students, even those who have to do an internship. While interning at an investment firm, in your education program, or you healthcare management MBA programs this summer be sure to take some time to stop and smell the flowers so you don’t miss out on summer vacation!

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