If you are planning on going traveling and would like to travel to a variety of different places, then nowhere is better than the American continents. The United States, in particular, is home to a range of large towns and cities, each of which has its own unique culture, types of lifestyle, and history. As a student, America is an especially great travel destination, as there are several different options available to you for transport, accommodation, and activities. So if you’re planning on going traveling around America, here are some simple and helpful tips that you might find beneficial for planning the perfect trip.
- Ensure you budget correctly
A lot of students make the mistake of planning a trip away without properly thinking through all of the possible costs that they may encounter while abroad. Of course, there are the obvious things such as flights and accommodation costs to take into consideration, but aside from the usual upfront costs, it is impossible to determine exactly what you’re going to be spending your money on at each location you spend time in. Therefore, you need to make sure that you budget for every eventuality, such as for the costs of excursions and sightseeing trips, and other possible unforeseen expenses, including needing to pay for different accommodation if your previous bookings are unexpectedly cancelled.
- Funding your trip
The amount of money you’ll spend while you are away will depend mostly on the locations that you intend to travel to, and how many different activities and events you plan on attending while you are there. Therefore, the exact amount of money you will need to save will vary, but it’s better save too much than too little! If you can’t earn enough money through working, then you could consider trying to raise funds by putting on a fundraising event. Credit cards can be useful if you can’t quite make ends meet by the time your trip comes around; however, you must be sure to pay off the minimum payments each month so that you don’t get yourself into debt.
- Checking travel requirements and visas
If you aren’t an American citizen currently, then aside from the given requirement of a valid passport, there are some other travel requirements that you will need to meet in order to enter the country and stay for a prolonged period. Most countries within Europe don’t need a visa to enter America for less than a 90-day stay, but proof of a return ticket purchase is required unless you are a Canadian citizen. However, different types of visa may be necessary if you intend on working while you are away, or need to extend your stay past the 90 days cut off.
- Finding the right method of transport
Choosing the right transport is essential for making your life easier while traveling and keeping costs down. If you’re planning to enjoy the great American tradition of a road trip, make sure to choose a reliable car that will be able to handle doing a lot of mileage throughout a range of weather conditions and terrains. Alternatively, to a car, you might consider an RV rental from Cruise America, as this could save you time and money on finding accommodation, and give you more freedom during your travels. Alternatively, if you’re planning on traveling long distances without stopping anywhere in between, flying would probably be the most cost-effective option for you.
- Best time to buy flights
If you’re going to be buying flights, comparing prices is vital for making sure that you don’t overpay for your travels. Make sure to compare different companies, dates and flight times, and start looking as far in advance as you can. Deals will pop up unexpectedly, and though they might not necessarily match your intended dates, if you have to postpone traveling to a new destination for a few days, it might be worth being more flexible to keep costs down.
- Research your destination
The more research you can do into each of your destinations, the better, as you may find that an area is bigger than expected and you might not have enough time to explore everything there is to see. Therefore, if you do some research in advance, you can pinpoint the places you would like to prioritize seeing, and this will also help you to budget for any possible expenses you might need to cover in each place.
- Pack light
As you’re (hopefully!) going to be doing a lot of traveling, the less heavy items that you can pack the better, unless you’re planning to travel in an RV, in which case you’ll be able to travel with more items as you can store them in the vehicle. Try to pack layers that can be worn casually or be dressed up for evenings out, and that can be adapted for different temperatures.
- Create a rough itinerary
While it is important to be flexible, as it stops you from being tied into a schedule that might not be practical, having some sort of itinerary is important for planning out what you want to do so that you can make sure you’re using your time effectively! In particular, an itinerary will keep you moving forward in your travels, and help you to determine how long you will need to spend in each place to see everything you want to see.
- Compare accommodation options
One of the best things about traveling is that there is now a range of different accommodation options available to people. Choosing the right accommodation for you will depend on factors such as who you are traveling with and the size of your traveling party, the size of your budget and the number of amenities that you would like to have access to.
- Invest in travel insurance
It may not seem like a top priority for student travel, but investing in travel insurance is the wisest thing you can do to protect yourself while you are away, and there is a range of different packages available depending on what you can afford.