Cheap Travel Hacks for Students: Attractions

In between exams, research papers, and presentations, sometimes all a college student needs is some time to explore. However, this is not always easy or convenient on a college-kid budget. This post is a part of a trilogy, which will give college kids, and other budgeting travelers, some tips about traveling the USA for cheap.

Attractions can end up costing quite a bit of “moola” and sometimes are not even worth the investment. Here are a few quick tips for getting the most recreational fun out of your trip without having to skip meals.

Look for public spaces

Public parks and government-own spaces can be some of the best ways to experience the culture of a city or town. These are places where the locals come to hang out and, best of all, they are often free.

Many city parks feature local greenery and sculpture parks that offer some iconic pieces of art. Parks can also offer great views of the city you are visiting. For example, Grant Park in Chicago.


Lake-side trail in Grant Park, Chicago on a warm spring day. A view of where city meets natural beauty. Photo credit: Alexandra Olsen

Do not forget to ask about student pricing

The traveling culture of the USA is all about allowing travelers to learn and experience culture. This is why student discounts are common at museums, zoos, aquariums, galleries, and many other places… Seriously they are more common than you may think.

Never forget to research if a museum has a student discount for admission, if you cannot find this information on the museum website call and ask an employee. Sometimes discounts are not mentioned on the internet but are honored at the door.

No matter how small the discount might be it will still help keep your trip within budget.

Search for local events

Especially if you are visiting a big city, there is always something happening on the weekends. Cultural and holiday-inspired events are the best cheap entertainment there is.

Parades, markets, showcases, etc. can be perfect for some much-needed cultural immersion. Not to mention the possibility for free food.


Polish dancers perform at Navy Pier’s Neighborhoods of the world, a free event. Photo credit: Alexandra Olsen

 Ask a local

Locals know their city, and many are happy to tell you all about it if you ask nicely. While checking out a public park politely ask a local what their favorite free or cheap place to check out is. They will most likely welcome the interest and might even lead you to a hidden gem that is not a tourist trap.

This cheap student travel post series will also feature a post about cheap-delicious food and cheap-comfortable lodging ideas. All of the tips combined might just make your memorable college-kid trip possible.


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