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Four trip-planning tips for students

With the start of classes, most students are focused on learning their professor’s name, becoming acclimated with group-project partners and figuring out their new work schedule. And while all of these things are necessary, planning your next trip should be as well. Yes, you’re reading that correctly.
You just ended a (hopefully) glorious three-week vacation, and I’m advising you to start planning your next adventure right now. Here are four tips to make planning a trip in advance worth your while.
1. Scatter the spending, don’t bundle. When you purchase flights, hotels and activities in advance, you’re able to gradually pay for things. College students are notorious for not spending their money wisely; waiting to book everything until the month of a trip will leave you with an empty bank account and a potentially lackluster trip. By looking up deals and booking months in advance, students are able to pay for their trip and save for shopping and dining money. Which brings me to my next tip…
2. Stash the cash! Don’t spend the extra cash found in your wallet on a Starbucks coffee or Culver’s sundae. Rather, store it in a personal envelope (I label mine “Travel splurges”).  You’ll be surprised how much it adds up. By keeping a little extra cash out of your bank account and in an envelope, you won’t notice the extra spending money and be tempted to spend it. When it’s time to leave for your trip, deposit the money into your account for some additional vacation splurges. The saying is true; travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
3. Research religiously. The best way to compare prices is to do your own research. Yes, flight search engines such as Expedia are great for comparing, but they also don’t show every airline. Be wise and search multiple outlets throughout the week. Prices for hotels and flights change daily (even hourly), so rather than trolling social media, I suggest you frequently search travel sights. (Tip: Purchase flights on Tuesdays or Wednesdays when airlines are known for lowering prices.)
4. Request off now. If you work, make sure to request off once the flight is booked. Doing this way in advance will be a win-win for both you and your boss. The last thing you want is a canceled trip or to find out you’re fired when you return.

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