By Sparrow Butler
Traveling seems almost totally out of reach for most college students. Between tuition, living expenses, and those expensive coffee breaks, it feels unrealistic that one of us could afford a luxurious trip to a foreign country.
What if I told you there is a tool that can help make your travel dreams a reality? Tripmasters is a travel company whose aim is finding you the cheapest rates on flights, hotels and train transportation.
The process is simple. Start by downloading the Tripmasters app from the Apple Store, Android Marketplace or by visiting www.tripmasters.com from your computer. Once logged on, you’ll be prompted to either create a custom package of which cities you’d like to visit or explore many preplanned packages the company has to offer.
There are numerous ways to personalize your trip, but here are some highlights to keep in mind:
Once you enter the dates you would like to visit your destinations, a bar will appear at the top of your screen displaying a week of possible departure dates. Be sure you scroll through these options, because certain days could be significantly cheaper than the others.
The website only partners with three to five stars hotels, so you can be fairly confident that you’ll be staying in a decent to extraordinary hotel. If you have specific preferences about what part of the city you would like to stay in or which hotel you want, just tap the “view more” button under hotels and you’ll be able to scroll through many options to maximize your experience. If you have friends to stay with, you can also select the “hotel on your own” option; regardless, you will have to purchase a hotel through the company for at least four nights of your excursion. Whether you choose to forgo staying there is up to you and your adventurous spirit.
Finally, keep in mind that if you are traveling between countries that are close to one another, the website might default to giving you train transportation. If you would prefer to fly, you can always select this option instead.
When I started as a freshman at Pensacola State College (PSC), I was determined to go on adventures while earning my degree. Over the last two years, I have used Tripmasters to visit France, Italy, Ireland, England, Spain and The Netherlands.
My first time to Europe, I was skeptical about using a new travel agency to book my trip, but I decided to go for it because there were many features I found interesting and the price was affordable. I arrived in Paris and discovered that my four-star hotel was just steps away from the Eiffel Tower, the staff was friendly and my room was exactly how the website described it.
Growing up, I had always dreamed of visiting Paris and walking along the Seine River. You can imagine my excitement when I saw the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night for the first time, stood in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and finally tasted my first macaroon cookie from the world famous Ladurée bakery on the Champs-Élysées. I immediately fell in love with the diverse culture and history scattered on every street.
After spending four nights in Paris, I hopped a flight to Rome where I chose to skip the hotel and stay with my aunt and her husband, who is a commander in the Italian Navy.
Overall, my first trip to Europe went flawlessly, and thanks to Tripmasters, I had enough money left in my pocket after travel expenses to eat at delicious restaurants and bring home souvenirs without having to stay in a hostel with strangers or continuously eat street food.
Since my first trip to Europe, I have gone back two more times and I have already booked my next trip for this coming May. This time, I’ll be spending three weeks in Paris writing in a loft home in the artist district of Montmartre and preparing for my last semester at PSC.
Visiting two to three countries at a time, I’ve never paid more than $1500 for my total package which is equal the price of just one international flight. That might still sound expensive compared to domestic trips, but with Tripmasters’ assistance I have been able to partake in different social and cultural experiences through traveling while living on a student budget.