A lot of people ask me how I manage to afford to travel as much as I do on a student budget so I thought I’d compile a list of some tips I’ve picked up along the way. Here’s what I have to say about the traveling around itself.
Megabus is big in both America and Europe. You can get tickets between cities for as little as $1. The further you book in advance, the cheaper the ticket will be, although I have had some good luck booking the night before after planning a spontaneous trip too.
Pros: Megabus is cheap and comfortable. Most megabuses have wifi and the buses are clean with sufficient legroom.
Cons: I guess the only con could be the amount of time it takes. Obviously if you are bussing between states or countries it will be quicker to fly but Megabus is a fraction of the price.
Advice: Book in advance and online! I booked with Greyhound on the way back from New York very last minute and ended up paying $30 more than the online price because I left it too late.
Toronto ….To…. Niagara Falls for $16
Blabla Car and rideshare: https://www.blablacar.co.uk/
Blabla Car is popular in Europe and is a website for organising rideshares. Drivers driving between cities with spare seats will post on the site with a fixed fee of how much they want for gas. It is not for profit so most of the time the rides will come to around a tenner max. It’s good for the drivers because they get gas money and company and it’s good for those who need a ride because it’s faster and cheaper than the train.
In America unfortunately Blabla Car doesn’t exist yet but there are many rideshare pages set up on Facebook between popular cities which you can search for easily. Alternatively, if you know someone going that way anyway, even b
Pros: Cheap and social.
Cons: I guess if you end up getting a lift with someone who insists on playing hours of Brian Adams this could be a con. Avoidable if you read their profiles!
Advice: Text someone the number plate of the person you get a lift as a safety precaution.
Montreal …To… Albany, NY for $30
Many people are skeptical about hitchhiking and I have to admit that I was one of these people until I tried it in California. At first I thought it was just about getting myself from San Francisco to San Diego when I was broke, but it was actually an adventure in itself. I met lots of interesting people and have a lot of stories to tell which just wouldn’t have happened if I’d have got the bus. It took me one week to cover 500 miles although I spent two days in the same place in LA chilling with someone who picked us up. I will be writing a blog post about my experience hitchhiking soon.
Pros: It’s free and it’s an adventure.
Cons: When no one picks you up it can be a bit disheartening but I’ve never had to wait more than half an hour for a ride. In terms of risk, just don’t get into the car if you feel uncomfortable. Trust your instinct.
Advice: Smile, look friendly and be enthusiastic, even when you feel like you’ve been waiting forever. People are more likely to pick you up if you like a fun traveler than if you are slumped by the side of the rode with your thumb stuck out sulking.
San Francisco ….to…. San Diego for $0
Cheap airlines and off-peak flights:
This one sort of goes without saying, but if you travel outside of summer holidays and with cheaper airlines like Ryanair, Westjet and Easyjet, flight prices shoot down dramatically. A lot of my flights in winter 2015 around Europe were only £30 because I booked in advance in January with Ryanair. To make things even cheaper, travel with hang luggage only which is free. My flight back to England from Montreal was only $230 CAD which translated to about £130 – a bargain! Sometimes airlines have sales so just keep an eye out.