Traveling On A College Budget

Traveling On A College Budget

I swear, there's no ramen noodles involved in this "how to"

I know you're thinking, "I call b/s," because I definitely did. Although we know, deep down in our soul, that travel's endless possibilities are priceless, traveling comes with quite the price. It takes some wit and a lot of saving, but it is possible to travel on a college budget.

Find your travel buddies: First, find a group of friends that is willing to take the trip with you. Self explorations are also welcome, but it makes spending a lot easier when you have friends to help. GasBuddy shows the cheapest gas around you when you and your friends are on the road (they even have an app).

Public transportation is your friend: Greyhound, although still a little too pricey for me, provides The Greyhound Student Advantage Card, which can help you save up to 40% on travels, clothing, food, and movie theaters near you. Mega Bus also offers great bus tickets; I’ve even seen some for $1! It’s definitely a rare commodity, but I’ve gotten $10 bus tickets multiple times.

It’s all about research: Be smart about your travels and find search methods, like Wanderu or GoToBus that offer cheap rides. Sometimes, you will have to take dreaded transfers, but it will save you quite the penny. I’ve taken a 22 hour trip from Providence to Savannah, GA for just a little over $100.

Food: Now, when it comes to food, there’s always little hole in the wall eateries you can find. Mashable offers a list of iPhone apps for frugal foodies. Among the list is ScoutMob, which offers 50%, and sometimes 100% off, deals at restaurants in the area.

Even taking a trip to the nearest grocery store can get you acclimated to the city you're in. Make sure that wherever you're staying has a fridge to store food and chef it up. This article shows nifty tricks on how to use hotel appliances like the coffee maker, iron and hair dryer to make soup, quesadillas, and paninis!

Take advantage of your school’s study abroad programs: Summer programs are usually not paid by the school, but exchange programs are. Go to your student services for a chance to immerse yourself in new cultures and languages.

If the prices are still too high coming from your university, try working for room and board. Workaway is a great site that lets you pay a small fee to get in touch with 19,276 hosts in more than 155 countries. Help with an eco retreat in Belize or at a B&B in a rainforest. All hosts offer a place to stay and meals.

Now these are all volunteer opportunities, but if you’d like to get paid, have room and board, and free meals, BackDoor Jobs is the site for you. Some are long term internships, but most are short-term summer jobs. The field range on this site is endless: resort and hospitality, outdoor adventure, mind and body quests, summer camp and ranch, and teaching abroad, just to name a few.

Traveling within or out of the U.S. doesn't have to be so difficult. Save up a bunch of cash, do your research, and have the time of your life!

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We Need To Talk About The 'Ugly American'

The way we represent America abroad is starting to become problematic.

Traveling overseas has always been an exciting pastime for us Americans. In 2016 alone, the National Travel and Tourism Office reported that there was an 8.2 percent increase in Americans traveling abroad. Thanks to things like frequent flyer miles, it is now easier for people to book international flights at half the cost. Also, tour companies help take the stress out of planning by offering tour packages for various countries. While it is a good thing to get out of your vie courante (everyday life) and experience a different way of life, there is a rather unfortunate reputation that precedes us Americans: The Ugly American.

The Ugly American is a stereotype that is known across all foreign countries and that all foreign countries dread. The Ugly American is an American tourist who is loud, ungrateful, rude, and totally oblivious to their social faux pas. They tend to wear visors, those hideous wraps around sunglasses, and sport an American sports team jersey and khaki cargo shorts ensemble. Instead of choosing to eat at a local restaurant that serves the country's national cuisine, they opt for "safe" touristy restaurants where they can dine upon the familiar dish of hamburgers and french fries.

Perhaps the most famous phrase within the Ugly American's repertoire is the infamous "Do you speak English?". This phrase is usually spoken in a loud tone of voice and comes off as quite demanding and hostile, which is a major turn-off for most non-English speakers. It might even start an unnecessary confrontation. Sadly, this stereotype is sometimes completely true and paints a portrait of Americans as being totally uncouth individuals who think that their country is basically the center of the world (which some Americans actually believe).

If you haven't already heard, a Youtuber by the name of Logan Paul visited Aokigahara, a forest in Japan known for being the site of numerous acts of suicide. He filmed and reacted to finding a recently deceased body in the forest and posted to Youtube sparking an outrage.

His other adventures (or should I say, misadventures) in Tokyo show him disrupting the peace at a shrine and being disrespectful to those praying, bothering employees and other shoppers at the Tsukiji Market (a famous fish market in Tokyo), and playing "Pokémon" while dressed in a Pikachu onesie and throwing a plush Poké Ball at moving vehicles and pedestrians.

Logan would later say in one of these videos that Japanese people are "super nice" and he was glad that they were able to put up with him. What he doesn't know, is that most of the people featured in his videos were annoyed with his antics and found him to be quite disrespectful to both the culture and people of Japan.

I know that was a bit redundant, but there is a serious issue here regarding the way we allow people like Logan Paul to represent America while abroad. It shows other countries that Americans have little to no respect for their international neighbors and that we expect all other countries to follow the American way of life. It demonstrates ignorance and an unwillingness to put the effort in to at least learn about another peoples' culture and heritage. It's already becoming harder to gain the respect of the world due to our current president, we should at least try to gain back some of our prestige.

Next time you go abroad for either leisure or to study, I want you to think of yourself as a representative of America. Do some research about the cultural norms and expectations of the country you are visiting and learn about the actions or behaviors that could be considered rude or threatening. Take some time to learn some key phrases in the language of the country you are visiting; trust me, saying "hello" in their language goes a long way. Scout out some restaurants or activities in cities that only locals know about in order to truly immerse yourself in that city's culture.

A little effort to learn another person's culture is a major sign of respect. It opens the borders of your mind and helps to combat prejudice and ignorance. Next time, don't go to a foreign country as the Ugly American, go as the Educated American.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Paul

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5 Tips On Saving Money On Airfare This Year

Traveling is food for the soul.

2018 is finally here! Hopefully it's a great year for all of us! Please go on a lot of vacations this year! With the new year being here, here are 5 tips on how to save money this year on airfare!

1. Book in advance on a weekday and at a weird time.

When you're looking to travel you should book your flight 2 months ahead of time to ensure that you're getting the best deal. As the date approaches airlines tend to jack up the prices. During the weekday prices are typically lower than weekend prices.

Also, booking a flight a 3 a.m. is better because airlines know that most people would be sleeping so prices are at their lowest peak at odd times. Avoid booking in the morning-afternoon.

2. Compare, compare, compare!!!

Don't just settle on the first flight you see. Use a computer and have millions of tabs open that way you can compare prices, times, layovers, stops, etc. Some websites I like to use are Bookingbuddy.com, Google Flights, Expedia.com, Cheapoair.com, Hotwire.com, and Hipmunk.com

3. Do research daily.

Airfare prices fluctuate daily. Keep record of the prices everyday that way you may see a correlation between prices and the day of the week.

4. Be flexible about the time you want to fly.

Morning flights and night flights tend to be the cheapest. Unless you have a specific time you have to be at your destination, try to be open about the times you want to travel, as it can save you hundreds of dollars.

5. Be flexible about the airport you're flying out of or into.

Flying out/into a less popular airport is cheaper than flying out/into a popular one so if you're able to play around with the airport do so! You'll save hundreds of dollars just by switching airports.

Please use this guide before you buy your ticket. Traveling is important and essential so please do so this year!

Cover Image Credit: Aaliyah Pina

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