Travelling soon? Here’s some tips to keep costs down.

A semester abroad is one of the greatest experiences you can have as a college student, but can be very costly. Luckily, a few measures can be taken in order to keep you from breaking the bank abroad. To get started, you may want to consult websites like StudyAbroad and StudiesAbroad, which help students find study abroad programs that will assist you in your travels. Here are some additional resources that can help ease the burden on your wallet whether you’ll be taking the trip as part of a study abroad program, or just venturing out on your own.

Airfare

While sites like Kayak, Travelocity and Expedia are old standbys for the seasoned traveller, they’ve become so ubiquitously  used that they’re no longer the cost-cutting wonders that they once were, and many of the cheaper flights or smaller airlines often don’t get listed. A great alternative is WhichBudget, a handy tool that lists smaller, less-expensive airlines that serve your intended route instead of fares.

Since prices will rise and fall according to the time of the year, planning your travel window according to when it will be cheapest to fly is one of the easiest ways to save a lot of money. Bing’s flight search is currently one of the easiest ways to do this; its price predictor will tell you whether you’re likely to pay more or less by waiting for another time to travel.

Alternatively, a good way of securing lower rates is to actually just pick up the phone and call an airline to see if you can secure a cheaper flight for another date, or even time of day. It may seem absurd to our internet-obsessed generation, but actually talking to a person could save you hundreds.

Lodging

For college students travelling abroad, staying in hotels and motels is almost entirely out of the question. Some of the best traditional means of finding a place to sleep is through the use of hostels, particularly when backpacking through Europe. A good reseource for finding cheap hostels in your intended area of travel is HostelBookers.

However, there are even options available to find lodging for even less than the price of a hostel, even for free. HomeStay allows travelers to connect with host families, who will accommodate you with a bed and food for a low price while also giving you a window into local life. Additionally, a free alternative is coachsurfing, which is gaining popularity as a free way of travel. The most popular website for this CoachSurfing.org, which has gained widespread media attention by allowing users to find a place to sleep while also meeting new people, and has been highly praised for allowing tourists to make new friends with their hosts.

Activities

Once you’ve secured cheap airfare and lodging, finding inexpensive things to do while on your trip can still be fairly difficult, particularly in hotspots where foreign travelers are exploited for a quick buck. To avoid this, consult websites like LonelyPlanet and TripnTale, which allow users to post stories of their trips as well as numerous tips and tricks for where to go get the best local experience for the lowest cost. These websites also will help you get an insight into local customs and laws, as to ensure that you don’t commit any social faux pas while travelling in an unfamiliar country.

Happy travels!