Around the world on a student budget

Two men high-five at airport
New York City resident Seth Miller, left, gets a high five as he becomes the first passenger to board JetBlue Flight 387 for Cuba on Aug. 31, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. On Wednesday JetBlue became the first U.S. airline to initiate commercial flights with Cuba in more than 50 years, kicking off with a flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Santa Clara, Cuba. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald/TNS/MCT)

Contrary to popular belief, traveling around the world doesn’t have to be so expensive for students, especially when considering the many discounts and tricks that can work around anyone’s schedule.

A study conducted by the World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation states that, “international youth trips are expected to reach 300 million per year by 2020.”

It is no wonder why WYSE has expressed traveling to be a “state of mind rather than an age category.”

Chelsee Finch, a CSUN junior, and Hermes Rocha, a senior, recently took a trip together to Seattle, Washington. They planned their trip for about a month, and while the trip was a success, they still shared some advice on what they would do differently.

“[The trip] was short but sweet,” says Rocha as they explain why it is important to save money in anticipation of traveling.

One easy and effortless way to save money comes from loyalty or rewards programs. Various credit cards offer up to 4.5% on cash back, which comes in handy when spending on everyday necessities such as groceries and transportation. ValuePenguin, a personal finance website, has created a detailed list on the best credit card reward programs.

“Know your area,” Finch emphasized. The couple explains why being aware of events such as graduations are important to hotel and car rental rates.

Websites such as Kayak, Expedia, and Travelocity are popular travel sites that compare some of the best price listings for hotels, car rentals and flights. Airbnb is among one of the affordable vacation home rentals that Finch and Rocha decided to take.

Finch also suggests clearing browser’s cookies when going from one website to another. Cookies save information that you have disclosed to give a faster web experience, but there is suspicion that they can alter the prices in competing websites.

Another useful website to consider is Google Flights. By inserting an airport location, you are exposed to some of the cheapest flights worldwide. This comes to great use for those who want to travel anywhere without having a specific location.

Finch reminds us to consider departure dates and specific times when booking. For example, flying on weekdays is said to be cheaper than weekends and overnight flights are avoided.

If waiting at the airport for a long time is not too much of a dreadful option, standby flights might be right for you. Every airline has different priorities, rules, and prices; standby flights allow customers to swap from a cheap, inconvenient flight to a similar flight that was initially more expensive and desired. The catch is, one must give up their precious time at the airport, even if the preferred flight is not guaranteed.

It is undeniable that money and time play a grand role when traveling, but most can agree that the experiences gained remain priceless.

“[Traveling] is not as scary as it seems,” says William Schiavone, a CSUN sophomore who originally moved from New York to California.

During last year’s winter break, Schiavone traveled solo to Florida to visit family. A couple months ago, he obtained his passport and hopes to travel out of the country soon. Among some of his options is Australia.

Traveling gives perspective on other cultures and teaches people how to coexist, he says. It helps one become more well-rounded by experiencing and accepting other cultures.