Cheap Thrills: Best Summer Travel for College Students

Tired of spending your summers in your home town, working or going to summer school? Are you dreaming of a summer in an exotic location but think that you can’t afford it? Traveling on a budget is a skill you learn out of pure necessity when you are poor.  Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t travel, it just means you have to travel to places where your dollar goes farther. Luckily, there are many great destinations all over the world where you can travel extensively even on a shoestring budget. The toughest part is choosing just one of these countries for your next summer vacation.


Located just south of Mexico, Guatemala is a great destination for adventurous spirits who relish in backpack style travel. It is home to the chicken bus, the public busses that are actually old U.S. school busses that owners decorate uniquely with brightly colored paint, lights and decals. The local Mayan populations still dress in their traditional clothing and speak the indigenous tongue, which makes for a truly unique cultural experience.

The main destinations here include the colonial city of Antigua, the rainforests of the Petén (in which the famous Mayan ruins of Tikal are located) and the towns located around the beautiful Lake Atitlan. In Atitlan and the Peten, you can stay in dorm rooms at hostels for as little at $3 a day.  In Antigua, costs are a bit more as this a popular tourist destination that is easily accessible by plane. In Atitlan and the Peten, which are harder to reach for many travelers, prices drop considerably. If you are looking for a laid back vacation in a gorgeous, culturally rich location, Guatemala is for you.


Nicaragua is located in Central America south of Honduras and north of Costa Rica. It offers a rich cultural experience as well as diverse landscape encompassing beaches, volcanoes and rainforest. Its lure for the budget minded is its incredible economy. Travel here is cheap. You can get away with spending just $5 a night for a dorm room at a hostel almost anywhere. Food at restaurants is local, delicious and incredibly inexpensive it’s even more affordable if you shop at the local mercado (market) and cook it up yourself at your hostel.

There are several destinations to choose from in Nicaragua. Cities include Leon, Granada and the capital city of Managua. Lake Nicaragua is home to Ometepe, a large volcanic island in the middle of the lake with two active volcanic peaks. This place is known for its outdoor activities such as hiking and wildlife watching. If the beach is what you crave, don’t miss San Juan del Sur on the southern Pacific tip of the country. Its famous swells attract surfers from all over the world year round. The Atlantic coast is home to the Corn Islands. These islands are known for their pristine white sand beaches and excellent surfing opportunities.


The continent of South America is home to the small but amazingly diverse country of Ecuador. Like the name implies, this tropical country is located on the equator. Known for its immense virgin rainforests, few people also realize Ecuador is home to glaciated Andean mountains as well! It is also home to a large population of indigenous people, offering a rich cultural experience for travelers. It is also home to a wide stretch of Pacific coastline, replete with surf quality swells and excellent seafood. And all of this for a price pretty much anyone can afford.

Prices in Ecuador are incredibly cheap. Super budget minded travelers can survive here for $15 a day. At a budget of $30 a day, you will be living large. Tips on keeping it cheap include staying in dorm room at hostels and cooking your meals at the hostel with food you buy from the locals at the mercado. Be sure and pack light, portable layers if you plan on traveling form the rainforests to the mountains so you won’t have to buy extra clothes.


About the Author

Andrea is an experienced and committed freelance writer for a professional custom writing service. She got her Bachelor’s degree from Texas State University and enjoys writing in the fields of history, psychology, biology and English literature. She feels that an opportunity to provide freelance writing services gives her a great chance to not only help others in need, but to broaden her own horizons as well.

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