Holiday Hacks for Traveling College Students

traveling college students getting ready to travel home for the holidays

With fall break coming up soon and the holiday season fast approaching, college students across the country are thinking about trips home. If your trip home means hopping on a plane, you’re looking at some big expenses.

Whether you’re traveling home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or both, you may be wondering how a cash-strapped college student can pay for airline flights during the most expensive traveling seasons of the year? Here’s how you can afford it.

Start saving now

If you’ve got a part-time job, start skimming a bit off each paycheck for holiday travel costs. You can also skip one pricey indulgence each week from now until the holidays. This small sacrifice will help you save up that extra cash for when it’s time to travel.

If you need a way to earn extra cash for holiday travel expenses, we can help too! You can get $200 cash back when you refinance your auto loan from another lender with us. Plus, you don’t have to make a payment for 90 days! You can use that savings and apply it towards your holiday travel fund. If you already have your auto loan with us, you can Skip-A-Payment for free in December. Every little bit adds up.

Use student discounts

Some airlines understand you’re a broke college student wanting to spend time with family over the holidays. That’s why some, like American Airlines, offer discounts for students of specific colleges. You can also look for other student discounts on sites like and

Be flexible

Don’t get fixed on flying out of a specific airport, at a certain time or on your chosen day of the week. You can shave dozens of dollars off your ticket prices by being flexible. Put things into perspective. What’s an extra fifteen-minute drive when it can save you $75? And, of course, you can always catch up on sleep you lose during a red-eye flight when you get home.

Pack light

Airlines are tightening expenses all around, and these cuts are trickling down to customers in a big way. One area that’s come under attack is luggage. Many airlines are charging for each checked-in piece, while others will ask you to pay just to bring a carry-on.

Find out what the airline’s policy is before you buy your ticket. If you’re going to need to pay for whatever you stow under the plane or bring aboard with you, pack as lightly as possible. Also, most airlines allow you to bring a backpack as your personal bag for the flight, free of charge. You can fit all of your essentials and travel necessities in there, but be careful of liquid restrictions.

Don’t buy anything at the airport

Airport shops are outrageously overpriced. Window-shop if you’d like to pass the time, but bury your wallet deep in your backpack. It’s also smart to bring empty water bottles and fill them up at the airport so you’re not stuck paying $4.99 for a 16-oz bottle of water.

Find a seasonal job at home

If you still find yourself panicking over the money you’ll shell out for holiday travel, see if you can find a part-time job in your hometown. Many retailers are looking for help during this busy season, and if your break puts you in town for a few weeks, you may be able to land a position. The money you earn can help offset your travel costs.

Heading home for the holidays should be a good experience full of fun memories. By planning ahead and following these tips, you’ll be less stressed about reaching your destination.