Beach trips on a college budget

Today is all about planning the perfect beach trip when you’re on a tight budget, especially my fellow college students who can sometimes barely afford dinner. I’ve been there. I feel you. I posted about this yesterday on my Instagram story and some of you sent in some questions and I will answer anything that the post doesn’t cover at the end!

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The first step is one I think a lot of people overlook, and something I’ve learned makes a
H U G E difference in my trips! It all depends on what beach you’re visiting! This sounds like a “duh Jordyn, we know this” statement, but apparently it’s not. So I’m saying it. When you’re looking to save money for a trip, look at smaller beaches. My favorite beach town on the East Coast is a tiny island about 15 miles away from Savannah, GA. Tybee Island is so small, so quiet, and the locals are super chill. (I’ll make another post on how to now act like a tacky tourist. Stay tuned.) But why does this matter? Bigger cities with high tourist traffic cost more money! Demand is higher, so the prices rise. Look into doing an Air BnB in a smaller beach town, or renting a cottage, or even a condo unit for a week with some friends. I’ve rounded up some of the most budget friendly beaches in the US for you, there’s a list at the end of the post.

Next, watch how much you’re spending on food. I love to eat well, especially when I’m on vacation. BUT what I’ve learned time and time again is that eating out three times a day for a week makes my wallet cry. Instead, I find a local grocery store and buy some staples. Pasta, cereal, rice, frozen fruits for smoothies (if you have a freezer available) and bottled water are four things I always make sure to pick up! I usually eat breakfast in the room, pack a lunch that I can eat on the beach, and then only go out to dinner. It saves TONS of money! And one night, I’ll cook pasta which warms up well for another night or lunch one day. Traveling with friends? Split entrees and POOF, your dinner bill just got cut in half. Another thing that will help cut down restaurant costs is to ask locals where they like to eat. A lot of the popular restaurants are going to be tourist traps and will cost more money. Eat at the little places nobody else (besides the locals, anyways) knows about, you’re going to find that the food is usually better at those places too!

If you’re destination requires you to board a plane, there are websites out there that offer discounted prices for college students! My friend Maddie sent me one that I really like, click here to check it out! By creating an account with Student Universe, you’ll get reduced rates on flights, hotels, and tours. All you have to do is provide proof of enrollment by using an active “edu” email address! Another thing with this: don’t check a bag. Invest in a suitcase that follows carry on restrictions and use that! Checking bags cost extra now, and that $50 is a good three or four dinners while you’re gone! I’ll link a very helpful YouTube video for packing in smaller luggage. The only thing I’ll add from this video is to roll your clothes instead of folding them! I use packing cubes too, and find that even with them, rolling still saves space!

And before I get into the questions you guys asked, I have one more general beach vacation tip! DON’T PAY TO DO THINGS THAT SHOULD BE FREE! Want to go parasailing? You’re going to have to pay for that, I’m sorry. But, there are tons of stuff you can do for free! And you should do them! Ask some locals at whatever beach you’re at and see what there is to do around town. Hiking on beaches is one of my favorite things to do while I’m there, as well as finding lighthouses (most small beach towns have at least one, just ask!) and free museums, especially if you find yourself caught in the rain one day.

LINK FOR MOST BUDGET FRIENDLY BEACHES IN THE US — *Tybee isn’t on this list, but I 10/10 recommend looking into it for your trip! I’ve got special insider info if you want to know more! Just shoot me an email or DM on social media and I’ll be glad to talk to you!


  1. Can I rent a car while I’m gone? I’m worried about getting around with no car since I’d have to fly to the beach. Ok, great question. And, unfortunately, that answer is most likely no. Most car rental companies in the US require you to be 25 before renting a car. That being said, a lot of beach towns do have either bicycle rentals and/or golf cart rentals that you would be able to do! Just make sure the option is available to you before you go!
  2. How much spending money should I take with me for a weekend trip? That really just depends on where you’re going and what you plan to do while there. If you’re a shopper, then you’d need to prepare to spend more money. If all you need is money for food and a little extra for emergencies, you won’t need as much. When I take weekend trips, I like to have at least $250 with me, some of which is on a reloadable VISA card that I use in case of emergencies.
  3. What if my parents don’t want me to travel alone? Oh boy. I feel wildly unqualified to answer this question… BUT, I’ll try. Here’s the thing: if you’re 18 years old, you’re technically an adult. You are legally able to do a lot more stuff than you could do at 17. But you still have to respect your parents. Sit down and ask your parent(s) what they’re concerned about and have a plan to give them. They’re just worried about your safety, and you showing them a plan will probably help. Just be mature when planning, and you should be fine.
  4.  I met a girl on Twitter and we want to meet up but our parents are freaking out. What do we do? Oh this is good because it was me last year. What I did was have my mom and the friend’s mom talk on the phone before the trip. That seemed to calm the nerves a lot, so I’d definitely try that!
  5. How do I survive a layover alone in an airport I don’t know? Depending on how long your layover is, you might be making a mad dash from one flight to the next, as I have done several times. Just make sure you’re good at reading the signs and you’ll be fine. If you’ve got time, grab something to eat, find a seat with an outlet, charge up your device(s) and put some headphones in. That’s what I always do. And make sure to use the restroom before boarding your next flight!
  6. Do you travel alone a lot? I want to but I’m only 16 and it makes me nervous. I do actually travel alone quite a bit, but I’m usually meeting someone somewhere. I fly to LA by alone at least once a year (probably closer to 3 or 4 times) but I’ve never done a true solo travel trip before. If you’re only 16, I’d wait to do that. I think 18 is the youngest you need to be to do that sort of thing… but you do you, girl!

Have more questions and/or concerns I didn’t answer? Leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!

See you next time!

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