Summer Vacations for College Students on a Budget

While going on a backpacking trip in Europe or visiting a place like Hawaii might sound like the ultimate summer vacation idea, many college students are in budget mode. Not to mention, many students have to get summer jobs until school is back in session, so they don’t have the luxury of taking a lot of time off for vacation.

Still, vacation is beneficial for many different reasons and, simply put, it’s fun to travel when you don’t have as many responsibilities to worry about. While there are many cheap places that are commonly recommended, below are five types of summer vacations that are perfect for college students on a budget.

The nearest beach

Assuming there’s a nearby beach, this could be a cheap option for the simple fact that you wouldn’t have to buy a plane ticket, which is typically one of the biggest expenses.

Ideally, you only have to pay for the hotel or Airbnb, and you can cook meals at your vacation house for cheaper — all while soaking in the sun and partaking in the many activities that the water provides, such as paddleboarding. Paddleboarding is perfect for people who want to try something new, get some exercise, and enjoy an awesome experience on the water.


Some luxury cruises can cost a lot of money, and it depends on how many days you’re going, which cruise line you book with, and other factors. But a cheaper cruise could provide the best opportunity to visit different countries while not breaking the bank.

After all, you might only have to book one plane ticket and can visit different countries, since the ship makes stops at different places along the journey. Not to mention, you pay for the cruise ahead of time, can typically make monthly payments, and they’re all-inclusive so you know how much you’re going to spend before you set sail.

There are many costs that go into cruises, but you can still eat for free at most restaurants and add a drink package that includes alcohol (if you’ve over 21) and specialty drinks. Four-day cruises are an even cheaper option as opposed to a seven to 10 day cruise.

There are endless options to choose from in terms of entertainment, both while you’re on the ship and when it’s an excursion day. For example, if you fancy yourself a surfer, then advanced surfing lessons might be provided so you can take your game to the next level while doing what you love in a new country.

A camping trip

Not a fan of the water? That’s OK, because you can still go on a camping trip in the mountains. This type of trip is ideal for students on a budget because, more likely than not, all of the food and drinks will be store-bought as opposed to pricier meals from restaurants.

This can save your group money and the grocery tab can be split up among everyone. You will still have expenses like gas and camping fees, but those fees are nothing compared to a plane ticket, hotels, restaurants, etc.

If you and your group are looking to disconnect from the world, then camping is ideal, as cell phone service will be tougher to get in the mountains and all your attention will be focused on the great outdoors.

Go on a road trip

A road trip is what you make it. You can spend as much money or as little money as you want. It all depends on what stops you make, how far you go, and if you eat at fancy restaurants or simple diners.

You can plan every last detail of your road trip or plan as you go. You and your group are in charge and you can live in the moment while taking your journey one stop at a time. A road trip is a great way to save money while traveling and discovering the surroundings and new things you find out on the open road.

Olivia Watson

Olivia is a world traveler who has been to 27 countries in just over 15 years. She loves to share her knowledge of traveling to help others travel safer, cheaper and have more fun.
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