For many college students, Christmas provides you with an extended winter break and one that usually lasts until the middle of January. The trip back to college can be a fun one and knowing that you are going to see friends again and to get out of Mom and Dad’s house – but it can also be costly.

When I was in college, the trip back to college cost me a decent amount of money since I lived on the opposite side of the state. But, over the years and trips back and forth, I found a few ways to help me save money, which allowed me more money for late night pizza!


Save On Food

My second biggest expense during the trips back and forth was food. It can be expensive to eat out! To solve this, I used a few different approaches. First, I made sure I ate a large (free) breakfast at home. This ensured that I wasn’t hungry during the drive and helped to save money. Second, I would pack a handful of snacks. This helped to solve the issue of actually getting hungry while on the drive. If I did get the munchies, I would simply eat some snacks I packed. This helped me to avoid eating a meal out while on the drive back to college.

I also made sure to bring a water bottle and/or a jug of water to drink during the trip. This too helped me to not spend money in sugary sodas and other drinks.

Save on Gas

Obviously, gas was the biggest expense. To save on gas, I made it a point to drive a little bit slower. I wasn’t driving like grandma in the right lane, but I wasn’t Speed Racer either. I found a safe speed and did my best to maintain it. Most times, I would use cruise control to help me keep my speed constant. Using these tricks made sure I got the most out of my gas.

I would also make it a point to pay attention. By this I mean that I would scout out gas stations along my route and take notice to where prices were cheaper. For me, gas was much cheaper out at my college than back at home. So I did my best to fill up out that way than back at home.

Lastly, I would be conscious of what I was packing. The more weight you have in your car, the worse gas mileage you will get. I only packed what I needed to bring home. This meant I actually did my laundry at college instead of bringing it all home to do. Not only did this help save on gas, it kept my Mom happy too since she didnít have to do my laundry!

Find A Hitchhiker

OK, not a real hitchhiker, but a fellow college student that lives near you or on your route home. By picking up a partner, you can split the cost of gas, saving you even more money. For me, there wasnít anyone that lived close by to do this with. But I had a few friends that would get and give rides to others. For the most part, they enjoyed doing it. It gave them someone to talk to on the ride and also cut the costs of traveling.

But, there were some horror stories. Make sure you know the person you are riding with. This is for both safety reasons (bad drivers) and personal hygiene reasons.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to cut the cost of the commute back and forth to college. I highlighted a few that I took advantage of and know of. My goal was to keep my costs as low as possible, while still enjoying the trip so that I could spend my money on things more important to me & late night pizza and hanging out with my friends. The price to pay for saving money on your commute is small, so why not take advantage of this so you have more spending money for other things in life?

Readers, what are some of your tips to keeping costs down while commuting back and forth to college?