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20 Cheap Vacations For College Students | Best Locations

Sometimes college students are usually short on cash, and they mostly don’t have time because of school activities. But if you’ve been looking for what to do after spring break or summer break, then planning a vacation is a great idea. Going for a vacation is one of the best ways to ease off stress from school, and fortunately, there are some amazing cheap vacations for college students around the world that you can visit on a student budget.

Travel allows you to have new experiences and to consider a different point of view and perspective of life and your surroundings. You get to learn about different cultures, many people, and different foods, which is so important nowadays since we live in a global environment.

However, there are some budget-friendly accommodations like hostels and campgrounds, good exchange rates, and cheap, tasty eats around the world that you could visit as a student. Read on to learn the cheap vacations for college students.

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What is a Vacation?

A vacation or holiday is a leave of absence from a regular occupation, or a specific trip or journey, usually for the purpose of recreation or tourism. People often take a vacation during specific holiday observances, or for specific festivals or celebrations.

Why Do I Need a Vacation as a College Student?

Traveling is a privilege, and while it is believed all students should take time to travel in college. Traveling not only opens up a world of opportunities, but exposes you to so many cultures, people, and experiences that you never knew existed.

The ability to travel can change your whole perspective on life and on the world, which is exactly why it should be recommended that every student take some time to travel in college.

Here are some reasons you need a vacation as a student:

  • You Don’t Have Many Obligations Holding You Back
  • You Can Take Advantage Of Being Young
  • You will Learn More Than Any Text Book Can Teach
  • You, Will, Gain Some Valuable Advice To Share With Others.

1. You Don’t Have Many Obligations Holding You Back

Once we are done with college, reality will hit hard; finding a job, paying bills, moving out, and possibly starting a family. While all of these different experiences are and will be amazing, they will also take up most of our time and money, which is less opportunity to travel.

When you are young, you have more energy, time, and the ability to just get up and leave–no commitments holding you back. Students have an incredible opportunity to take advantage of ways to travel in college.

2. You Can Take Advantage Of Being Young

Keep in mind that a lot of companies such as STA Travel and Student Universe, offer huge discounts to students so that they can afford to travel, but once you hit a certain age and are graduated, that all goes away.

When you travel in college, you get to take advantage of all of these incredible deals! You can much more easily afford the ability to go out, explore, and gain a wealth of knowledge that you may not have had previously.

3. You will Learn More Than Any Text Book Can Teach

Travel allows you to have new experiences, to consider a different point of view and perspective of life and your surroundings. In college, traveling is part of the learning process. What you learn by traveling you don’t find written in the books, you learn something which is not a theory from a textbook, but its real-life (think about historical monuments or sites, by traveling you see them in reality, and that’s a huge value).

You get to learn about different cultures, many people, and different foods which is so important nowadays since we live in a global environment. When you discover the world with your own eyes, you force yourself to move from your comfort zone and that’s when life begins. You also discover your personality by traveling because you face your fears.

4. You Will Gain Some Valuable Advice To Share With Others.

The world as we know it is expanding at an exponential pace, and to be immersed and experienced with all different types of cultures is extremely important.

Whether you are in fashion or medicine, the world is like a book, and you can only truly understand it by reading every single page. When you decide to start reading that book and travel in college, you pick up some observations along the way.

See also: Best Field Trip Ideas for Students

How To Plan An Awesome Vacation While At College?

It can be tricky trying to decide where to go, who with, and for how long, so read our guide below to ensure your vacation is stress-free and all goes to plan:

1. Decide Who To Go With

Firstly, you need to decide who to go with. The people you go with will have a strong influence on what you do and how much fun you have, so make sure to pick a group of like-minded people.

2. Decide What You Want To Do

Once you’ve decided who you want to go with, you can then decide what you want to do. If you try to do this the other way around, you’ll likely have lots of people wanting to do different things, so it’s better to establish the group first and vacation purpose second.

3. Work Out A Budget

Before you can decide where you are going or how long for, you need to work out the budget for your group. Prepare for some slightly awkward conversations as you’re going to have to discuss how much money you all have, but it’ll be worth it in the end.

At this point, you need to make sure everyone is totally honest with each other. A good way to do this is simply to ask each person individually how much they would spend on the getaway.

That way, you avoid people feeling pressured into agreeing with a budget they can’t afford and causing tension while you’re away.

Once you’ve got everyone’s suggestions, you can consider whether that will be enough to cover the activities you want to do, accommodation, food and any extras. At this point, you may have a few drop-outs, but that’s exactly why it’s a good idea not to book anything until this point.

Now you have the budget sorted, you’ve decided what you will do and you’ve got a committed group of friends, it’s finally time to decide where you’re going.

4. Decide Where You’re Going

Chances are if you’ve got to this point of planning a getaway with your friends, you already have a good idea of where you’d like to go. If you’re still trying to pinpoint a destination, here are some pointers to help you decide:

  • Which one is closest to you? This will narrow down your options, making it easier to decide, and you’ll spend less time traveling and more time making memories.
  • What’s your budget? Can you afford a long flight? Or are you limited to a cheap bus journey?
  • Do you have specific activities in mind, like rock climbing or surfing? Or are you seeking a particular vibe?

Choosing your destination can be a minefield, but bask in the excitement and use your budget and group activities to help guide your decision.

5. Get The Vacation Booked

Once you’ve established a group, worked out a budget, and decided where you’re going – it’s finally time to get it booked. Don’t wait around too long to get the trip finalized, otherwise, people may lose interest, make other plans, or change their minds.

Booking can be the hardest part of organizing a group vacation, as you will need to make sure everyone is free on the same dates, get everyone to book the same flights and accommodation, and be prompt in paying back whoever makes the bookings.

A group chat on social media is your best friend at this stage of organizing. It’s helpful if one person takes charge of booking flights, accommodation and activities.

You can inform people of exactly what you’re booking and how much they owe you in one place, so you can see who has read your message and keep everyone in the loop.

Sometimes a few people can be extra slow at paying. If you, yourself, are on a tight budget, it can be a good idea to ask everyone for payment in advance to ensure you’re not out of pocket before the vacation has begun.

6. Enjoy It!

Now you have your trip organized and booked; it’s time to get excited! The stressful part is over, and you can now focus on packing your favourite outfits and think up all the witty captions you’ll be able to post on your Instagram to show off.

20 Cheap Vacations For College Students

If you are looking for the best and cheapest places to travel and explore while you’re in college, look no further. These locations from around the world are perfect trips for college students to visit without breaking the bank.  

Here is a list of the 20 cheap vacations for college students:

  • Ecuador
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Arenal Area, Costa Rica
  • Bolivia
  • Panama City, Florida
  • Albania
  • Niagara Falls, New york\Canada
  • Cambodia
  • New Orleans, Louisana
  • Indonesia
  • Thailand
  • Latvia
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • India
  • Vietnam
  • Colombia
  • Savannah, Georgia, USA
  • China
  • Dominican Republic

1. Ecuador

Ecuador might not be every traveler’s first pick when planning a South American adventure, but that’s part of why it’s a budget-friendly trip for college students. This country has some beautiful beaches, and sights to see, and is a great place to work on those Spanish skills you’ve been working on in class.

Tourist-targeted crime dropped dramatically, and as long as you’re smart about traveling you shouldn’t encounter safety issues. Of course, one of the big draws here is the Galapagos islands, which are totally worth a visit if you can pull it off during your trip.

2. San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an easy trip for American students because flights usually aren’t too long or expensive and you don’t even need a passport since it’s a U.S. territory. San Juan has lots of student-friendly hostels that have rates as low as $15 per night.

You’ll get to meet other students and tourists from around the world and enjoy a fun party scene with local rum-packed mojitos. Make sure to walk over to La Plaza del Mercado in Santurce, a neighborhood with lots of authentic restaurants and bars frequented by locals. It’s an awesome place to try Puerto Rico food, people-watch, and find happy hour specials on drinks.

3. Arenal Area, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is one of several great Central American destinations for college students because of the prices and adventure opportunities. You can find some really affordable hostels here, and some even serve complimentary breakfast every morning. Airfare has been pretty cheap when traveling from the U.S., and the exchange rate makes this trip a great deal.

This is a touristy area, so spend some time getting acquainted with the local businesses so you can spot tourist traps and avoid them. You can find local eating establishments called “sodas,” that serve authentic Costa Rican specialties at a low cost.

Visit local grocery stores in the neighborhood you’re staying in to stock up Costa Rican beer to save money at the bars. It is one of the budget-friendly trips for college students.

4. Bolivia

Although Bolivia has been growing in popularity among travelers, it continues to be one of the cheap vacations for college students. Depending on where you’re coming from, the plane ticket might set you back, but once you arrive, you’ll discover that you can afford lots of things on a tight budget. Transportation, food, alcohol, and accommodations can be afforded at around $20 per day if you are thrifty and plan your trip in advance.

5. Panama City, Florida

Florida has always been a top spot for college spring breakers, but why not visit during the off-season for better prices and fewer crowds? Consider visiting Panama City in the fall, say September or October.

The temperatures are warm, the sun is shining brightly, the beaches less annoying, and flight and hotel prices very reasonable. Take a look at vacation rental properties along the beach during the off-season, because you can sometimes find nightly deals as low as about $50 per night and be just steps away from the sand.

6. Albania

It’s no secret that traveling to Europe isn’t generally cheap, but Albania is an exception to this rule. The cost of living in Albania is much more affordable than elsewhere in Europe, a fact that helps out travelers on a budget too.

There are some amazing beaches to visit in this beautiful Mediterranean country if you’re looking for sunshine and relaxation, and the traditional food here is nothing short of amazing.

7. Niagara Falls, New York/Canada

If you’re looking for stunning natural beauty not too far from home, consider a trip to Niagara Falls, which straddles the border between New York and Ontario. There are lots of cheap hotels in the Buffalo area, especially if you don’t travel during the busy summer tourist season. From the U.S. side, walk over to the Canadian side for a fun nightlife scene.

8. Cambodia

Even with the popularity of countries like Thailand and Vietnam, Asia is still considered one of the budget-friendly trips for college students. And what’s one of the best Asian countries for college students on a budget? That would be Cambodia. This enchanting country offers visitors starred hotels for much lower prices than other destinations around the world. (

Food and transportation costs are also low here, as are entrance fees to places like Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Even better is the fact that many of Cambodia’s most beloved sites are completely free, as is the case with Monkey Island, said to be the real-life inspiration behind the story of King Kong.

9. New Orleans, Louisiana

Even if it’s not Mardi Gras, New Year’s Eve, or Halloween, New Orleans is a fun place to party at any time. It’s an incredibly unique place in the U.S. that’s full of fascinating history, intriguing culture, delicious food, and a constantly buzzing nightlife scene that encourages cocktail to-go cups.

There are actually a couple of hostels in and near the French Quarter that offer very reasonable accommodation rates for students. Hotels in New Orleans can get quite pricey, so look into these hostel options well in advance so they don’t get booked up. Take the streetcar or simply walk to get around instead of driving and paying high parking rates.

10. Indonesia

Indonesia — and especially its island of Bali — is currently one of the most popular and cheap vacations for college students, and for good reason: it’s cheap! From lush rainforests to postcard-perfect beaches, Indonesia is a great destination for those who love adventure but are on a budget. Whether you choose to visit Bali, Sumatra, or one of Indonesia’s other islands (there are over 1,000!), you’re likely to find:

  • Clean accommodations
  • Activities like snorkeling and beach yoga
  • Delicious delicacies that won’t cost you more than a few dollars each.

11. Thailand

Thailand has been an enduring favorite among college travelers because of its long list of alluring destinations. This is a great place to travel in the winter to get a little warmth and sunshine, and there are tons of adventure sports opportunities here with guide companies that offer kayaking, rafting, and other outdoor excursions.

Look into hostels with shared rooms and bathrooms for extra savings while traveling around Thailand.

12. Latvia

Latvia recently did a stint as the European Union’s chosen European Capital of Culture. That did a lot to highlight this beautiful, underrated, and totally budget-friendly country. Latvia’s capital city, Riga, is perfect for trips for college students on a limited budget.

Some of the city’s best features are architectural, and experiencing these UNESCO World Heritage Sites is as easy as joining a free or cheap walking tour. Riga Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church, both hailing from medieval times, are also free to enter.

Food, transportation, and accommodation options are plentiful, and very inexpensive compared to so many other European countries.

13. Portugal

Have you ever wanted to experience Europe without the insanely high prices? Then head to Portugal! Tourists often overlook this beautiful country, but that’s a mistake.

The capital city of Lisbon is a great destination for historical and cultural sites, while the coastal towns of the Algarve are ideal for relaxing on the beach.

And because Portugal’s overall cost of living is 30% less than the rest of Western Europe, its costs of accommodation, food, and transportation are all much less too. Must-do activities include:

  • hiking
  • lazing on the beach
  • visiting castles
  • trying fresh seafood from cafes.

14. Romania

It will thrill college students who travel all the way to Eastern Europe with all that Romania has to offer. Surviving day-to-day in this budget-friendly country can often mean $40 a day for sit-down meals, clean accommodations, and public transportation. Romania’s best offerings — its historic architecture, welcoming charm, and interesting culture — are all free.

15. India

As the tourism industry improves in India, so does the budget-friendly options. Travelers can do well throughout India with a budget of just $50 per day. This includes affordable, yet safe and healthy, meals, accommodations, and transportation. While flights from the United States to India can cost a pretty penny, flights around India can be affordable enough to make seeing everything from the beaches of Goa to the hustle and bustle of Mumbai.

16. Vietnam

Vietnam is another place in Asia where you can travel for about $20 per day if you play your cards right. Tourism is picking up in Vietnam lately, but it’s still a very affordable destination with lots of student-friendly options for backpacking. Con Dao Island and National Park are great destinations in Vietnam to see sea turtles and other wildlife while exploring the area on foot.

17. Colombia

Colombia is experiencing a Renaissance. With local businesses, tour companies, and even the government desperate to attract visitors and prove themselves a worthy destination, Colombia is extremely one of the budget-friendly trips for college students.

The capital city of Bogota has plenty to see and do, as does the charming city of Cartagena, a historic walled city chock full of colonial-era architecture and cobblestoned streets just inviting you to explore.

In both cities, large hotels can be booked for less than $100 a night, though we recommend finding something unique like an eco-friendly coffee farm, where you can stay for a mere $30 a night.

18. Savannah, Georgia, USA

Savannah might sound like a place where your parents go to celebrate their anniversary, but it’s actually a really fun town to walk around, see the sights, and transform yourself into another time and place. This is another southern city that embraces “to-go cup culture,” so you can explore this southern gem with your favorite cocktail or brew in hand.

This is an amazing place to visit if you’re a foodie or just curious about what the hype is over southern cuisine. If the weather is warm, make sure to spend a day on Tybee Island to lounge on the beach and soak up some sunshine.

19. China

Flight deals and travel packages are quite common for China, making this powerhouse country a great budget destination for college students. The big cities of Shanghai and Beijing are great additions to any journal.

Both places offer plenty of safe, no-frills accommodation options averaging $10 per night. Street food or popular chain restaurants can cost as little as $1. Even day trips to such iconic sights as the Great Wall of China can be extremely affordable, with plenty of options to choose from.

20. Dominican Republic

Dominican Republic is one of the cheap vacations for college students. College students on a budget, but desperate for beaches, would do well to consider a trip to the Dominican Republic. Extremely affordable four- and five-star resorts are easily available from online travel agencies like Groupon and Expedia.

Once in the DR, activities are also budget-friendly, and range from kayaking Los Haitises National Park ($3 for the rental) to lounging on the world-class, white-sand beaches (free!).

Final Thoughts About The Cheap Vacations For College Students In 2023

  • Things are generally cheaper when you travel in a group.
  • Consider different methods of transportation – weighing their costs, travel time, and reliability.
  • Prioritize the things and places you want to see – you won’t be able to do it all (unfortunately).
  • Always have a pair of comfortable walking shoes.


Vacations are pretty great already. Before going for a vacation as a college student, you should check your budget and probably opt for cheap vacations for college students.

FAQs On 20 Cheap Vacations For College Students In 2023 | Best Locations

Why do I need a vacation?

Traveling not only opens up a world of opportunities, but exposes you to so many cultures, people, and experiences that you never knew existed. Also, it will allow you to gain some valuable advice to share with others.

How do I go on vacation as a college student?

Below are things you need to do so you can go on a vacation as a college student:
Do your research.
Be flexible.
Work for accommodation.
Stay cheap
Get a student discount card.
Take advantage of discounts on trains and buses.
Or try ridesharing.
Save with student-only flight discounts.

What are the best vacation locations for college students in 2023?

The best vacation locations you can travel to in 2023 are as follows:
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Arenal Area, Costa Rica
Panama City, Florida
Niagara Falls, New York
New Orleans, Louisiana


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