With the holiday season fast approaching, college students across the country are thinking about their trips home. If your trip home means hopping on a plane, you’re looking at some big expenses.
Here are some tips for college students to pay for airline flights and gifts during the most expensive travel time of the year:
1.) Start saving now
If you have a part-time job, start skimming a bit off each paycheck for holiday travel costs. You can also skip one pricey indulgence each week from now until the holidays. This small sacrifice will help you save up that extra cash for when it’s time to travel. Use a savings calculator to help you achieve your savings goal. Remember that every little bit adds up!
2.) Use student discounts
Some airlines understand that you’re a broke college student wanting to spend time with family over the holidays. That’s why some, like American Airlines, offer discounts for students of specific colleges. You can also look for other student discounts on sites like studentuniverse.com and STAtravel.com.
3.) Be flexible
Don’t get fixed on flying out of a specific airport, at a certain time or on your chosen day of the week. You can shave dozens of dollars off your ticket prices by being flexible. Put things into perspective: What’s an extra fifteen minute drive when it can save you $75? And, of course, you can always catch up on lost sleep during a red-eye flight when you get home.
4.) Pack light
Airlines are tightening expenses all around, and these cuts are trickling down to customers in a big way. One area that’s come under attack is checked-in luggage. Find out what your airline’s policy is before you start packing. Remember that you’re going home, not headed for the wilderness. Most airlines allow you to bring a backpack as your personal bag for the flight, free of charge.
5.) Don’t buy anything at the airport
Airport shops, like kiosks at malls, are outrageously overpriced. Window shop if you’d like to pass the time, but bury your wallet deep in your backpack. It’s also smart to bring empty water bottles and fill them up at the airport so you’re not stuck paying $4.99 for a 16-oz bottle of Poland Spring.
6.) Find a seasonal job at home
If you still find yourself panicking over the money you’ll shell out for holiday travel, see if you can find a part-time job in your hometown. Many retailers are looking for help during this busy season, and if your break puts you in town for a few weeks, you may be able to land a position. The money you earn can help offset your travel costs.
Consider opening a free student checking account for a convenient way to manage your money with no hidden fees.