Safety and Budget in Travel: A College Student's Guide

Travel smartly by leveraging technology, seeking reliable recommendations, and planning a safety-first itinerary to ensure your stays are secure and affordable.

Safety and Budget in Travel: A College Student's Guide
Author: Chenyang Wang

Traveling on a college budget can feel like navigating a tricky maze—especially when trying to balance the scales between cost and safety. Whether planning a semester abroad or a summer backpacking trip, finding a place to stay that won’t drain your wallet or compromise your well-being is crucial. Let’s dive into a practical guide that helps you master this balancing act with ease.

How to Vet Hostels and Budget Hotels for Safety

When it comes to safety, not all accommodations are created equal. Here’s how you can ensure you’re staying in a place that’s as secure as it is budget-friendly:

  • Look for Safety Certifications and/or video reviews: Many hostels and hotels boast certifications or affiliations with reputable organizations. These can be significant indicators of a commitment to safety standards. At, you can find video reviews from people who have stayed there before.
  • Ask Before Booking:
    • "Can you describe your security measures?"
    • "Are there any 24-hour staff available?"
    • "What do you do in case of an emergency?"
    • "Can I see recent safety inspection reports?"

Asking these questions gives you a sense of security and shows the accommodation staff that you are serious about your safety.

Effective Use of Technology to Stay Safe and Save Money

Technology can be your best friend when trying to save money and stay safe. Here’s how you can leverage it:

  • Apps and Websites for Price and Safety Comparisons:
    • Use apps like Hostelworld or to filter accommodations based on safety features, user ratings, and video reviews (in the case of
    • Google Maps is excellent for checking the neighborhood's safety by looking at nearby amenities and reading local reviews.
  • Location-Based Services:
    • Turn on location services on your smartphone to find accommodations in safer districts or neighborhoods.
    • Apps like SafeAround and TripWhistle provide safety information and emergency service numbers for locations worldwide.

Cultivating a Network for Reliable Recommendations

Sometimes, the best advice comes not from a search engine but from real people:

  • Social Media and Travel Forums:
    • Join travel forums like Lonely Planet or Reddit’s r/travel to get firsthand accounts and safety tips from other travelers.
    • Facebook groups for travelers can also be a treasure trove of up-to-date recommendations.
  • The Power of Networking:
    • Don’t underestimate the value of reaching out to friends or family who have traveled where you are going. They can offer personalized advice and connect you with locals or fellow travelers.

Creating a Safety-First Travel Itinerary

Planning is key, especially when it involves navigating unfamiliar places:

  • Map Out Your Stays: Always know your next stop. Planning your stays in advance can help you vet each location thoroughly for safety and cost.
  • Emergency Plans: Always have a backup plan. Know the location of your country’s embassy or consulate, and keep a list of emergency contacts handy.

Being well-prepared doesn’t just mean packing the right clothes or having enough money; it’s also about ensuring your travel adventures are safe and sound. Following these actionable tips, you can enjoy your travels without sacrificing your security or budget. Remember, the goal is to create memories that are exciting, not anxiety-inducing! So go ahead, take that trip, and know you’re well-equipped to handle whatever comes your way. Safe travels!