Ways Student Can Travel with $100 in your Pocket

Want to travel? Only have $100? No worries! Check out these ways to get up and get going.

House sitting

One of the best aspects of being a student is the opportunity to meet people from many places, whether they are fellow students, teaching assistants, faculty, or visiting experts.  At some point, those people will want to go on vacation, and you will – just not together.  One student way to travel with $100 in your pocket is to volunteer to house sit for someone and score free room and board.  Use that $100 for other vacation desires!

Volunteer Organizations

Spending a break or summer vacation with volunteer organizations.  It is are a great way to see a new land up close and personal while also scoring some global karma points, helping out your fellow man, and gaining potentially valuable work experience. Many programs cover travel and living expenses for the duration of your stay; some even throw in a small stipend! That $100 in your pocket will go a long way to buy treats or necessities for people in the communities you’ll be helping.

International Internships

Being an intern for a local company may have career benefits later on, but for the most part, the experience sucks.  Being an intern in a foreign country? It probably still sucks, but not as much! If you can get the company to spring for room and board, who cares how many unpaid coffee runs or dry cleaning stops you have to make?

Couch surfing

Sometimes, you just have to go to where the people are.  In this case, people who know you and/or are at least willing to let you spend a night or two on their couch. Most friends won’t let you starve in that situation, so you can consider it both room and board.  Be nice though, respect their rules (especially if they say you can only stay a certain amount of nights), and try to do something to show your gratitude like taking out the trash or getting the dishes without being asked.

Loyalty rewards programs

The smart and determined ultra-budget traveler will do well to invest the time and energy required to maximize loyalty reward programs.  Sign up for all the free ones that come your way, and seek out others through the company and promotional websites.  Follow the rules and educate yourself on the cheat-codes (loopholes) that exist. The world wide web is full of tips on just about any program you can think of, and several bloggers have got the process down to a science.  Luckily, they are willing to share their insider knowledge.

Pet sitting

Similar to their houses, people do not like to go on vacation and leave their pets unattended.  Different from houses, pets need food, water, and exercise.  If you are responsible enough to keep Fido or Fluffy alive and kicking while their human companion slips away for a break, it may mean a free room and board for you, too! Don’t skimp on the walks or the cuddles to increase your odds of being asked to pet sit again.

Carrier promotions

Recently, due to a computer glitch, United Airlines had tickets on sale for $0.  Although the mistake was soon remedied, that didn’t stop tons of people from snapping up the freebies.  While these occurrences are flukes, airlines often run dirt-cheap promotional flights when they start a new route.  Smaller, regional carriers are more likely to have these deals.  Check their websites often, but don’t stop there.  Airlines often announce plans to expand in the business news, if you see a new route is about to open up, be on the lookout for promotional offers.

Bike it

Bicycle trips are a great way to expand your horizons for very little money.  Take a little time to plan out your route ahead of time, and be sure to know your limitations.  If you are a less experienced rider, plan on a shorter, easier trip.  Invite a few friends for company and security, if you wish.  Make sure someone not going on the trip know what route you plan to take in case of emergency or if your cell phone dies or cannot get a signal.

Park it

The United States has 401 national park areas, covering over 80 million miles in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.  268 of these areas are always free!  The rest offer free entrance days throughout the year, check the national parks website for specific dates. On other days, $80 gets you an America the Beautiful pass which covers entry to over 2,000 federal recreation sites. At sites that charge per vehicle, the passes cover everyone in the car.  They cover up to four adults (aged 15 and over) at sites that charge entrance fees per person.  Split the cost with three friends and have $80 leftover from that $100 in your pocket, along with something to do for the whole year!  If you are a student who also happens to be a U.S. military member or dependent (including National Guard and Reserves) these passes are FREE.  Rates for camping in the parks are cheap, but usually first come first served, so be sure to call ahead.

Carpool it

With gasoline prices at all-time highs, it doesn’t seem like $100 will take you very far in an automobile.  Add some friends and do a little planning ahead of time together though, and it is actually a very sensible option for student travel.  Let’s say you have 3 friends, each with $100 and 4 seat economy car.  With modern hybrids getting upwards of 50 mpg and electric cars with ranges of upwards of 80 miles per charge, you can actually get quite far.  The key to this option is not to drive aimlessly.  When backpacking, an aimless orientation can lead to pleasant surprises with very little at risk.  When driving, a lack of a specific goal just wastes time and money.  Pool your funds for cheap food and accommodations including youth hostels or campsites.

Author bio: Korah Morrison, UCLA student, and working in the essay writing team at


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