How to Explore Nearby Cities as an International Student in the US?
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How to Explore Nearby Cities as an International Student in the US?

How to Explore Nearby Cities as an International Student in the US?

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GyanDhan brings you secrets of budget-friendly city exploration for international students in the U.S. Find practical tips, personal stories, and insider insights to explore nearby cities.

GyanDhan

G Reddy

Updated on: 25 Jan 2024

Excerpt by Vivek, MS in CS student at Indiana University Bloomington

As an international student hailing from India, diving into the world of Computer Science at Indiana University Bloomington, I've uncovered a treasure trove of tips and tales about navigating nearby U.S. cities on a student budget. This blog is my way of sharing the wisdom gained from this adventure, filled with practical advice, personal anecdotes, and the kind of insider insights that only a student on a budget can truly grasp.
 

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1. Choosing the Right Mode of Transportation

Alright, let's tackle the first hurdle – getting around without wiping out your wallet. Opting for budget-friendly rides like buses and trains, and snagging those sweet student discounts, can make your travel dreams a reality. Plus, sharing rides with your buddies not only cuts costs but also adds a pinch of social spice to your journeys.


Pro tip to save on transportation:

  • list items Bus and Train Services: Dive into the world of budget-friendly options like Greyhound, Megabus, or Amtrak – they often come with student discounts.
  • list items Carpooling: Don't underestimate the power of carpooling! Platforms like Zimride or uni carpool groups are where the cool kids connect for shared rides.
  • list items Student Airfare Deals: Keep an eagle eye on student-specific airfare deals from legends like StudentUniverse or STA Travel – trust me, these can be game-changers.  

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2. Budget-Friendly Accommodation Strategies

Now, let's talk about where to crash without crashing your budget. From cozy hostels to budget-friendly hotels, and the genius idea of group stays with your pals – there's a world of affordable options out there. And, of course, the online world is our oyster for snatching up student discounts.


Pro tip to save on stay:

  • list items Hostels and Budget Hotels: Scout for hostels or budget-friendly hotels on platforms like Hostelworld or Booking.com.
  • list items Group Stays: Round up your crew and consider the magic of group travel. Airbnb is your best friend for finding sweet group discounts.
  • list items University Housing Networks: Check if the city you're visiting has a network for student housing. Sometimes, universities offer student-friendly stays – it's like a budget-friendly home away from home.  
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3. Mapping Out Affordable Eateries

Now, let's dive into my favorite part – the food! Savoring local flavors is a must, but it shouldn't drain your wallet. Hit up local markets, explore food trucks, and sniff out those affordable gems to treat your taste buds without breaking the bank.


Pro tip for budget dining:

  • list items Local Markets and Food Trucks: Go local and hit up markets and food trucks for some seriously affordable and authentic eats.
  • list items Cooking Together: If you're bunking with buddies, cook up a storm together. It's not just about saving cash; it's about building a community in the kitchen.
  • list items Student Discounts at Restaurants: Don't forget to ask about student discounts at restaurants – it's like finding hidden treasures on the menu.  
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4. Leveraging Student Discounts and City Passes

Cities are like treasure chests filled with discounts for us students. Museums, attractions, and even public transport – they all bow to the power of the student discount. So, plan your city adventure around these budget-friendly gems.


Pro tip to make the most of student discounts:

  • list items Museum and Attraction Passes: Unlock the student discounts for museums and attractions. CityPASS and Go City are your secret weapons for bundled discounts.
  • list items Public Transportation Discounts: Get savvy with student discounts on city transportation. Your student ID is your golden ticket.
  • list items University ID Benefits: Always keep your university ID handy – it's the key to unlocking a world of student discounts.  
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5. Connecting with the Student Community in Nearby Cities

Now, let's get social! Engage with the local student community for a budget-friendly and enriching experience. Attend university events, hop into meetups, and tap into university alumni networks for the lowdown on the city from a student's perspective.


Pro tip to connect with other fellow students:

  • list items University Events: Dive into events organized by universities in the city – lectures, cultural bashes, and all the good stuff.
  • list items Meetup Groups: Join groups that align with your interests or studies – it's the student version of making new friends.
  • list items University Alumni Networks: Connect with alumni in the city; they often organize events that are not just budget-friendly but also goldmines for networking opportunities.


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6. Exploring Nature and Free Attractions

Nature and free stuff? Yes, please! From city parks to free cultural events, there's a whole world out there waiting for you to explore without spending a dime. Dive in, breathe the fresh air, and soak in the city vibes.


Pro tip for budget friendly exploration

  • list items City Parks and Trails: Discover the free wonders of city parks, nature reserves, and walking trails. Nature is the ultimate budget-friendly escape.
  • list items Free Cultural Events: Keep tabs on free events, festivals, and outdoor concerts. Check local event websites and social media for the lowdown.
  • list items Student-Run Events: Hit up events organized by student groups – often free or with a student-friendly entry fee.  
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7. Documenting Your Thrifty Travels

Last but not least, let's immortalize your thrifty adventures. Start a travel journal, flood your socials with insights, or go full-on blogger mode like yours truly. Documenting your journey isn't just about memories; it's a guide for other students dreaming of budget-friendly city escapades.


Pro tip on documenting your travel:

  • list items Create a Travel Budget: Be the budget ninja and plan it all out – accommodation, transport, food, and activities. Stick to that budget like it's your study timetable.
  • list items Travel Blogging: Ever thought of being a travel influencer? Now's your chance! Share your adventures through a blog or vlog – who knows, it might even fund your next trip.
  • list items Useful Apps: Download travel apps like TripIt for itinerary magic, Splitwise for expense sharing with your buddies, and Google Maps for navigation wizardry. These apps are your travel squad.

So, my friends, armed with careful planning, an open mind, and a thrifty mindset, you can explore nearby cities without burning through your student budget. Let the adventure unfold, create memories, and let your student budget be the spark for an unforgettable exploration of the diverse cities that surround you. Safe travels!