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Old 12-26-2006, 04:02 AM   #1
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Default How to travel for cheap

I'm new to this community and was hoping to get some help on how to travel for cheap. I'm a junior at an art college in columbus, ohio but would like to travel more both domestically and internationally. However i'm obviously tight on funds. What are my options for cheap travel?

Are courier services legit? because the sites i've vistited look pretty exploitive and have a monthly "membership fee". Which looks suspect.

Does STA really get cheaper flights for students? because i've compared it against travelocity and it always comes up more expensive.

Does just showing up at the airport and looking for a plane that isn't full really a good way to get a cheap ticket?

Is there any good literature on the subject?

Also, how do the rest of you afford your travel?




In my own limited experiences travelling within the U.S. I know to stay in hostels and buy my ticket in advance, but I'm hoping there are other options. I noticed a couple people have said they work for airlines and others have partaken in volunteer services. I've done some work for the sierra club and hrc, are there other groups out there that will comp an airline ticket in exchange for volunteer work in that country? I know this may not be the best option, but i've been using travelocity to get a gauge on international travel. Particularly I'm looking at Paris, and I would love to find a round-trip ticket for around 500. So far I can only find round trip 680 during winter and the 800s for the summer. And i would much rather fly during the summer. I know that may sound absurd, but i feel there must be a way to get a cheaper flight because it would take me far to long to save up enough more the for the flight, hostels, food, transportation, and everything else.


Thanks for any feedback.
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Old 12-26-2006, 08:59 AM   #2
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Student loans? Full time summer work?

If travel was cheap more people would do it more often (I know I would). To be able to spend any amount of time in Paris, you're going to need to save some cash. As for how much, I thought this guide was helpful: http://www.travelpunk.com/budget/

Saving a little money on the flight would be nice, but overall it won't make that big a difference. You've still got to come up with enough for food, housing, transit and everything else while you're there.

Good luck, sorry if that's not very helpful.
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Old 12-26-2006, 09:19 AM   #3
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Get a job with an airline! It's what I've done and the benefits are amazing!

The whole show and go at the airport doesn't work for cheap flights btw...
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Old 12-26-2006, 10:02 AM   #4
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hey jake is the whole airhitch thing legit


and depending on your comfort level you can save loads of money by urban camping. but i thikn the best thing to do is live as cheaply as possible before you travel,
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Old 12-26-2006, 02:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke.1 View Post
What are my options for cheap travel?
The cheapest travel you can find really depends on where your heading, when you want to go, and what comfort you'd like. The most common ways to travel within the US would be train, bus/car, or air. For trains try Amtrak or local transit services (sometimes you can take them to airports or bus stations). If you have a car I'd say to save up money for gas and then sleep in the car at rest stops (sleeping pulled off on the side of the road usually gets a tropper knocking at your window), this would save $$ on a room or dorm bed. For buses, usually small Chinatown bus companies offer cheap tickets to-and-from major cities - but usually they're in bad sections of town. Air travel is kinda pricey but if your trying to get a good distance from your home then it may be cheaper than paying for gas or a train/bus ticket. The best time to get a cheaper ticket would be to wait til just after midnight (when most airline sites update vacate seats and make price adjustments - many people do this to score cheaper international tickets). Try budget airlines like Jetblue and Southwest.

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Originally Posted by jburke.1 View Post
Are courier services legit? because the sites i've vistited look pretty exploitive and have a monthly "membership fee". Which looks suspect.
Anything that makes you pay a fee usually isn't worth the trouble! I've had many fellow travelers say this to me and to others! With the global access to the internet and so many competing mail service companies the courier business has sank. A few companies still offer it but usually a few is involved and, honestly, it would probably be easier and less stressful to just spend a bit more on regular tickets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke.1 View Post
Does STA really get cheaper flights for students?
It depends on when and where you are traveling. My best advice would be to compare it to other sites and then choose the least expensive. As with most corp. companies I'm sure if you called then directly and complained that you found a lower fare they may, keyword: may, lower the price for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke.1 View Post
Does just showing up at the airport and looking for a plane that isn't full really a good way to get a cheap ticket?
Actually it usually costs more to travel standby (although if you have a buddy pass from a airline employee its cheaper). But then it really depends on when and where your traveling.

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Originally Posted by jburke.1 View Post
Is there any good literature on the subject?
Yes, a lot! The best resources I've found are here on Travelpunk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jburke.1 View Post
Also, how do the rest of you afford your travel?
I work three jobs currently (one FT and two PT). The money from my FT pays rent/gas/bills/food and I put the majority of the rest into an ING savings account that gains 4% interest. Because I work so much I don't have much time to go out with friends, usually we stay in and watch movies and hang out. Don't get me wrong I still have a life, but my favorite thing to do is travel and if I have to work my ass off for a while to afford it I'll do it!


As for the flight to Paris I'd say check flights into Dublin or London for cheaper fares. Then check the local European airlines for a Dub to Paris or Lon to Paris flight. It may save you more but take more time. You could also work it out to spend a few days in your layover cities!

Since you live in a large city I'd say try to get a job with an airline. Most PT positions still give flight benefits and working 15 hours as a customer service agent may not be too bad if you get to fly places for cheap/free. As for nonprofit/volunteer groups, in my experience most won't pay air tickets up front. Most require you to complete the program and then they reimburse you after the fact.

Hope this helped!

PS I don't feel like proofreading this so all mistakes be ignored!
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Old 12-26-2006, 04:44 PM   #6
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One site that I have had good luck with is www.studentuniverse.com. You have to prove you are a student, but I have found good prices there.

Also, if you are looking to go to Paris, maybe check out other European cities to fly into and then bus/train to Paris. I bet you can get to London for cheaper and then take the train to Paris... anyone have info on this?
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Old 12-27-2006, 02:11 AM   #7
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wow, thanks for all of the information. it'll take me awhile to digest it all. it is nice to hear there are others out there interested in travel and willing to commit to the expenses. I guess it's a common problem to have friends that are just ambivalent to traveling.
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Old 12-27-2006, 12:20 PM   #8
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Hey J.Burke,

Welcome to the Columbus Travelpunk community! I live here (and work for America West Airlines), Jengt lives here (works for OSU), and Brookers13 is a student at OSU. There's another guy we haven't met, yet, too.

Another thing I'd recommend is to go to all the airlines websites that you can, and sign up for their e-mail savers bulletin. I get several daily, including USAirways, American, Virgin Atlantic, Icelandair, etc. Watch their sales and snag a good fare when you see one. Right now, in the next few weeks, is the BEST time all year for sales. Early January is a great time to buy international tickets.

Let me know if you'd like to get together. Brookers, Jengt and I all are planning to get together when OSU school starts back up so we can see her pics of Spain/Portugal, and I can show off my Africa one...! We'd love to have you show up, as well.

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Old 12-29-2006, 01:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheJake View Post
The whole show and go at the airport doesn't work for cheap flights btw...
But the Simpsons did it!

And welcome J.Burke! I can only second everyone else's suggestions. Just be flexible - you'll get the most out of your travel dollars that way. Super fare to Japan, but you have no interest in Japan? Manifest some, and say nihongo to Tokyo!!
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:57 PM   #10
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^^United just announced a big sale last week...they have some great international fares. Through Chicago you can head to Europe or Asia. Flexibility is key......always check pricing on various days within the same week, Tues, Weds Thurs departures/returns may all generate different fares. Good luck!
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