Cheap and easy ways to explore as a broke college kid
by Francesca Gugino
College students usually spend summers working crazy hours to save up enough discretionary money for the school year that lies ahead. This means working on the weekends, picking up shifts and at times working doubles, leaving little time for a break, let alone a vacation. But there is still a way that you could work and have the opportunity to adventure and have a unique summer.
Many people underestimate the day trip. Some of the coolest place in the WNY area take no longer than a few hours to see and much less than that to drive each way. This area is a hub for great summer hikes as it is home to places such as : Chestnut Ridge’s Eternal Flame, Letchworth State Park’s many different trails, Old Fort Niagara, Chautauqua Lake and surrounding area, Ellicottville, Griffis Sculpture Park in East Otto NY, and many other locations. All of these locations take less than two hours to drive to and offer many free and fun excursions!
If you aren’t the outdoorsy type and would rather spend days off relaxing at a beach, there are many options to pursue as well. Locally, Beaver Island State park offers a small beach, Woodlawn Beach State Park in Blasdell, Bennett Beach in Angola NY and Sunset Bay Beach in Irving NY. But if these options don’t hit the mark for you and you are willing to venture a bit further, there are plenty more options. Consider going across the boarder and visiting Crystal Beach in Ontario CA, Venturing south four hours to Rush township PA to visit Black Moshannon State Park Beach or just over two hours to Presque Isle State Park Beach in Erie PA or even heading north to Olcott Beach Carousel Park in Olcott NY, a quaint town rich in history with a beautiful view.
Requesting off a few days may seem like losing money in more than one way, but I would argue that your sanity is worth the expense. There are several camp grounds, cheap flight destinations and doable road trips for all types of summer adventure. The Northeast is home to some of the most beautiful and picturesque camp grounds including: Acadia National Park in Maine, Woodford State Park in Vermont, Eighth Lake Campground in New York, White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and that’s just to name a few. If you hope to fly off somewhere new and different, I encourage you to look into WOWair, Frontier Airlines, and Spirit Airlines for cheap flights. However, do keep in mind that it can be pricey to check a bag on these airlines. Opt to fit everything into a small carry on backpack and remember that hotels are fully stocked with toilet trees. Look into booking hotels that include breakfast as a way to save and for convenience! And plan to travel with friends, it is much cheaper to split the cost of a hotel room, gas for a long drive or food than it is to venture off alone.
A final note of advice for those who are exceedingly interested in exploration and throwing oneself into a completely new environment is to look into websites like workaway.info or hosteljobs.net. These two sites offer the opportunity to experience a new place, domestic or abroad, and earn money or work in exchange for travel costs and room and board for shorter trips. It is a unique way to see the world and to do it affordably, while also gaining some awesome life experience!
Presque Isle State Parke, Erie PA
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