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Thrifty Thursdays: Getting Around on a College Student’s Budget

- Alex

 If you’re like me, you have a hard time staying in one place for too long. The infamous wanderlust reaches out and grabs me every so often and I just need to get away! Fortunately for me, living on the East Coast of the U.S. makes it very easy to “get away” to somewhere very different without actually going too far. From New York City where I am usually based, it is about a 4-5 hour drive radius to some major, and majorly fun, cities that won’t drain your wallet for a weekend getaway. Here are a few tips on how to take a few East Coast weekend trips without breaking the bank.


Believe in the bus!

For some reason, it seems that the bus can get a bad rap at times but I would wholeheartedly disagree. Bus lines such as BoltBus, MegaBus, and LuckyStar have affordable deals for trips all along the East Coast, but specializing in the DC, Philadelphia, New York, and Boston areas. If you’re quick, you can snag a ticket on some of these lines for a dollar (with hushed processing fees of course). The buses often come with outlets and Wifi, and are pretty comfortable. A personal tip would be to take them at off-hours of the day so that you can avoid some horrendous traffic…believe me, as a college student trying to get from Boston to New York the day before Thanksgiving, I’ve been there.


Try to stay with friends when you can

I have found that since beginning college, my network of friends around the country has grown ten-fold. This happens to be very helpful when traveling, in that I can usually find a free place to stay. By not being picky in your arrangements, often times it’s the couch or a sleeping bag, you open yourself up to saving money on lodging. And besides, it’s often times more fun to stay with friends as opposed to a hostel or hotel. This past week for example, I was headed to Philadelphia from New York for two days for a concert. Over that time, I was able to meet up with four different friends who housed me and also showed me the coolest sights to see in Philly…a two-for!


Do your research ahead of time

            Thanks to blogs like TeenTravelTalk and others, it’s easy to find personal suggestions of what to do in various locations around the U.S. and the world. I’ve found that when I go to a new place with a plan, I am bound to spend less money than if I simply showed up plan-less. By researching free events and activities ahead of time, you are naturally less likely to have to resort to expensive ways to spend your time. (What a better place to check than Thrifty Thursdays blogs!)


These are only a few of the many ways to cut costs when taking weekend and day trips along the East Coast and even beyond. While hitchhiking may not be the way to go these days, transportation doesn’t have to cost a lot and neither does fun! Outdoor adventures, free events, the sky’s the limit to amount of fun one can have while also trying to save some cash.




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