Whether you are commuting around campus or flying home for holiday breaks, here are three ways you can reduce your commuting costs and stay on track with your college budget.
If you will be driving to school every day, you need to pay for insurance, gas, and maintenance. Plan on spending at least $1,000 – $2,000+ annually on transportation and travel costs.
1. LOOK FOR A DISCOUNTED BUS PASS AND/OR SHUTTLE PASS
Find your school’s “Office of Campus Life” or “Office of Student Life” and ask the following questions:
- As a student, does showing my college ID card get me any discounts on public transit?
- Do you have a free shuttle from campus to the closest public transit stop?
- Do you have a free shuttle bus system to get around campus?
2. USE A CARPOOL OR BIKE SHARE
If you are living off-campus, look for car-pooling opportunities to get to work and school, either with other students or with a verified rideshare organization. You might also try out a cheap bike-share service to commute shorter distances. Check out these options to see if they’re available near your College:
3. MAKE PLANS FOR HOLIDAY BREAKS EARLY
If your college is far enough away that you need to fly to get home, planning your travel early can save you a lot of money. You have 5 potential trips throughout the year when you may need to buy tickets (getting to campus, thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break, go home for summer.) When you are planning for a holiday break, consider this:
- Compare travel by car, bus, train, and plane.
- Instead of flying, you might also consider taking a bus or train, or road-tripping with a friend who is going in the same direction
- Compare airports.
- Compare the flight prices for different nearby airports
- Sometimes, flights to the “nearest” airport might be much more expensive than flights to bigger airports just a little further away
- Keep in mind you’ll also need to potentially spend money to get to the airport.
- Buy at the best time.
- Buy plane tickets 4-6 weeks in advance for the best price
- Set up a flight alert to get notified about the best time to buy using an app like Hopper or Google Flights
- Stay on campus.
- If traveling home often seems unaffordable and you would rather stay on campus over one of these breaks, talk to the Office of Campus Life because you may need to fill out an application to stay on campus in your dorm.