If you’re a student, you’ve probably already heard people tell you to travel while you’re young. This is fantastic advice. However, you may not have the means to book first class flights and 5-star restaurants. Fortunately this is a big world, with many budget-friendly options. Just start early or you will miss out on some serious discounts.

Where and When to Go

  • Indonesia

There are ancient temples, floating gardens, and full meals for about a dollar. Add to that stunning views and a host of indigenous animal species, and you have a budget destination that feels first-class. Note: do not wear bright red, pink or orange toenail polish. Komodo dragons may see pretty toes as ripe berries. Speaking of berries, market places are the best places to get fresh local foods. Bartering, as in most cultures, is expected. In summary, according to buzzfeed.com, Indonesia is a budget traveler’s dream.

  • Thailand

Though more expensive than other nearby countries, Thailand still offers Buddhist temples, dancers, tasty food and delightful gardens. More expensive means that you may have to pay up to $10 per night for a room. Not bad! Meals are still about a dollar, and street vendors sell delicious foods for less. Cambodia, India, Laos and Nepal have about the same prices, and are well worth looking into.

  • South and Central America

Nicaragua
Nicaragua

While some countries can be rather pricey, there are plenty that are just as beautiful and cost far less. Try Nicaragua for outdoor adventures and surfing, Guatemala for extraordinary scenery, verdant Honduras and Costa Rica, and Peru, the country with nearly everything.

  • Europe

Montenegro
Montenegro

It isn’t just the UK and France (which aren’t exactly cheap to visit). Try Eastern Europe, with such lovely and wild places as Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Macedonia, or Montenegro. Also, while the roads may be rough, Albania has a gorgeous coastline and the cheapest rates.

How to Pay… and Save

  1. Be flexible! If you can change your dates by a day or two you can potentially save hundreds of dollars, particularly on airfare and hotels. As students often receive their first credit card around the age of 21, it can be useful, but be mindful of the fees involved when used abroad.
  2. Consider getting a credit card specifically for travel expenses. They are a great way to keep track of your spending and, if you like, you can pay them off as soon as you get home. Credit cards also offer a sense of well-being. In case of emergency, just charge!
  3. Always ask about deals or specials. You may get a clerk who, if you’re lucky, will be kind enough to tell you that if you wait two days the fare/rate will be changing, for example.
  4. Ask locals where they eat, shop, etc. Hotel personnel are usually happy to tell you of places that are priced for locals, not tourists. If you need staples, such as groceries, nail polish remover and the like, they know where to go. When in a shop, ask shop clerks for their advice. They will also know great spots to visit, especially if you tell them you’re on a budget. Restaurant servers will tell you the best local eateries with reasonable prices. Just make sure to ask this during or after the meal, so they don’t have to worry about you dashing away before dining.
  5. Coming to America? Both AAA and AARP offer discounts, trip planning, and much more. Just tell everyone that you are a AAA or AARP member. They will let you know what discounts are available. Again, do this as early as you can so as to have more choices. Look on their websites to see their many benefits. Plus, you can put any membership fees on your new credit card!