by Katie Fleming
So, you met your best friend through Honors! Now that you understand everything about them, you know exactly where they want to travel. Why not go on a bestie vacation? Bailey Mooney and I figured out how to fit travel into our college student budget, and I’ll walk you through how we went to Boston for under $300!
Find your flights 5-6 weeks in advance. This is the prime time for airline tickets, aka, when they will be at their lowest price. Also, use websites like Kayak, which compare a whole bunch of airlines and travel websites at the same time. This way, you can organize your flight options by price, departure, etc. Bailey and I each spent $100 on airfare.
Airbnb! This is a safe option for students that is highly affordable. Bailey and I found a residence for $40 a night, and our 2-night stay translated to both paying $40. This Airbnb also fit our geographical needs as well; when we arrived in Boston at the airport, we were able to walk straight out of the airport and to the residence. The next couple of days, we took a five-minute Uber to where we wanted to go, since our Airbnb was in East Boston.
Views from East Boston
Uber. This service is becoming more common, and understandably so! Uber comes to you (which means no time wasted searching for a taxi) and is very affordable. You can choose what level of service you want, so for us money-saving city slickers, we used the economy (cheapest) option, which was approximately $7 a ride. In total, we spent $30 on Uber.
Do your research on free activities. If you want to travel to a city, like Boston, tons of free activities exist. For example, the Freedom Trail in Boston is a spectacular way to get acquainted with the history and layout of the best city on earth. It is literally a red line on the sidewalk that leads you to the most popular historical and tourist sites in the city. Entering all the historical sites may require an entrance fee, but if you are like us, just being there and reading about them is enough! That being said, some museums are free! We checked out the free U.S.S. Constitution museum and decided we would not mind sleeping in hammocks like sailors used to do. If you are not a museum person, research free music entertainment, parks and beaches, or whatever else you are interested in!
Check out seasonal activities. Bailey and I traveled to Boston right before Christmas, which meant the city was all decorated and ready to celebrate! They also created free Christmas-related activities, such as a music and light show, a Santa’s Market (like a farmer’s market), and ice skating in the city plaza.
Christmas-themed ice skating in City Hall Plaza
Santa’s Market featuring local vendors and handmade goods
Eat cheap! Try not to waste a ton of money on less than incredible food, and bring your own snacks! My bag got held at security because Bailey and I packed so much food. We brought our own granola bars, cheese sticks, fruit, nuts, bread, and (for me) coffee. This allowed us to not spend any money on lunch and have a larger dinner. Even still, we met some locals who pointed us in the direction of off-the-beaten-path restaurants within our budget. We also looked up menus online to figure out which restaurants were in our price range. In total, we each spent about $30 on food during our trip.
Bromance dinner at L’Osteria, a fantastic restaurant in Little Italy
Splurge on what you love! Using all the tips and tricks of cheap travel means you have some extra money to spend on something you have been dying to do, which in my case was attending a Boston Bruins game at TD Garden (we crushed the Blue Jackets 7-2, in case you were curious). Tickets for the most amazing experience of my life were about $70 each.
Our first game at TD Garden means I cried a bit
$100 airfare + $40 Airbnb + $15 Uber + $30 food + $70 Bruins tickets = $255 total!
You still have $45 to spend on souvenirs, other entertainment, or more food! If you want to go even cheaper, take a camping trip or find a place within driving distance (without paying too much on gas). Now get out there and travel the world!