Save Money in College on Trips Back Home

College is expensive! Tuition, room and board, books, lab fees, and even trips back home! Even if you drive, this can be expensive. After all there’s a lot to consider: time, wear and tear on vehicle, fuel costs…


The following article will give actionable ways to save money on college road trips back home.

Save on Flights

Flights don’t have to be expensive. The first rule when saving on flights is to book about 60 days before departure. This is how you get the best deal. Next, know to use a travel search engine like Kayak. It aggregates most flights and you can search based on price, layover, etc. This is soooo much handier than going to each airline’s individual page. Finally, do away with checked bags. Many airlines, like Delta, allow you to take 3 things on the plane: a personal item, a back pack, and a carry-on. This much cargo should last anyone for a college trip back home. Save checked bags for moving trips.

Save on Driving

The expense of driving can vary wildly. For instance, driving a Honda Civic will always be cheaper than driving a BMW. So to really save on driving, drive a car that’s cheap. If you don’t have a cheap car, instead of selling just because of these road trips, find friends who are headed the same way you are. Offer to split the cost of gas with them + buy all the food on the trip. That’s a pretty fair split. You don’t want to feel like you’re mooching off them.

Another great way to save money on trips back home is to pack snacks. Convenience stores are expensive – hence their name. If something is convenient, it’s usually expensive. Go to Walmart and buy snacks like nut mixes, dried fruit, and crackers. Furthermore, you can even take a cooler with you and pack entire meals. This will save big money on a multi-day road trip back to see the family.

If you don’t have any friends headed your way, don’t be afraid to check Craigslist, Uber or Lyft. You may find opportunities to save money with this platform. I’ve found opportunities by just browsing Craigslist.

Ask Your Parents for Help

Consider asking your parents for some help traveling home. Sending $100 to you for fuel can be a life saver for you. But to someone who’s 50, it won’t even make them flinch. Especially if your parents are helping you in other ways, they won’t want you to stress out over a trip home. But if asking your parents isn’t an option, you can always just work a little harder to make the money for the trip. Actually, working may be a wiser option from the beginning.

Check your dorm room before leaving.

Leaving over break takes a little planning. First, make sure you take out the trash and get everything out of your room that you don’t want to come home to. Make a sweep to see that no one has left anything in your room. It’s really annoying to leave for break just to have someone text you, wanting something out of your room. It’s locked. Also, make sure the room gets locked. If you have a forgetful roommate, try being the last one to leave. This way, you’ll be sure it’s locked. If you can’t leave last, call your resident director and have them check if your roommate did indeed lock the room.

Also, save money on road trip snacks by taking to-go bags from your cafeteria. Often, you get the same allotment of meals, even on holidays. This means if you have a weekly 21-meal plan but you’ll only be on campus for 2 days, see if you can still punch in extra meals. Take the food to go and eat it on the road.

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One Comment

  1. Kathy says:

    When I was in college 40+ years ago….(yikes! am I that old?) we would have ride boards in our dorms, the student union etc. People who had cars would put up a message they were going home to a specific city and you could call to get a ride with them. They’d charge like $10 plus your share of gas so it was pretty reasonable. Now, however, I realize that might not have been so safe and would discourage my child from doing that now, unless they knew the person driving.

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