4 Tips for Summer Travel on the Cheap

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photo of girlBy guest blogger Sophie Howe

Sophie is a freshman at Des Moines Area Community College, currently majoring in Liberal Arts, and then transferring to a four year school to get a degree in Environmental Studies. Guerilla environmentalist, blogger and avid reader. In her free time she enjoys working out, finding ways to put a healthy twist on foods she loves, and going on adventures. She hopes to travel the world and experience as many cultures and traditions as possible.

After a long year of school, who doesn’t want a bit of a vacation? Of course everyone loves to travel, but between summer jobs that pay minimum wage and paying off student loans, most of us students don’t really have the money to take a trip. I’ve combined four of my most pocket-friendly vacation tips that will give you the trip you want, without breaking into your “for college” reserves.

1. Visit family and friends

Families are a lot more spread out than they used to be. Use this to your advantage, and enjoy it too. Most of the time, family and close friends are happy to accommodate guests (and they generally feed you a few meals too!). Now, I’m not saying you should overstay your welcome or run them dry, but in my experience they love having the chance to spend some time with you. You’re in college, you’ve changed, and more likely than not, family members and friends don’t all live near you. Visiting them can be fun because you get to meet their friends, explore their town, and meet extended family you’ve heard so much about during the school year.

2. Group trips

It’s true: the more the merrier. Pooling money for food, gas, and lodging is another great way to go on vacation while saving some money. You can road trip, rent a cabin at a lake, or even just go to a nearby city and explore it for a few days. The possibilities are endless, and you’ll end up making some great memories with friends. Websites like Student Universe and Airbnb make group (and student) travel much more affordable.

3. Camping

I was always that outdoorsy kid that was getting in the dirt, and finding some sort of trouble to get into. When I was growing up, my family would have campfires, make s’mores, and go hiking. Who says that you can’t do it now when you’re all grown up? Getting a group of friends, a fairly large tent and reserving a campsite is tons cheaper than renting a hotel, and you get to experience the great outdoors!

4. Staycation

Last, but definitely not least, is a staycation. Honestly, as well as you may know your hometown, things are constantly changing! You never know what great things you will find when you pick a weekend, set a budget, and just have some fun. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit touristy in your own town sometimes. A staycation could be as simple as trying some type of food you’ve never heard of, or going on a relaxing walk to take in the sights from a different perspective. And if done right, it is just as much fun as going on a traditional vacation.

Now I know this isn’t the Ritz, and it may not be that destination vacation you’ve always dreamed of, but they’re definitely getaways worth pursuing.

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