College Costs
Last updated: September 16th, 2022

Transportation Expenses Explained

Reduce commuting costs to stay on track with your budget

Whether you are commuting around campus or flying home for holiday break, here are three ways you can reduce your commuting costs so you can stay on track with your college budget. 

If you will be driving to school every day, you need to pay for insurance, gas and maintenance. Plan on spending at least $1,000 – $2,000+ annually on transportation and travel costs.

1. Look for discounted bus passes and/or shuttle passes

Find your school’s office of campus life or office of student life, and ask the following questions:

  • As a student, does showing my college ID card get me any discounts on public transit?
  • Do you have a free shuttle from campus to the closest public transit stop?
  • Do you have a free shuttle bus system to get around campus?

2. Use a carpool or bike share

If you are living off-campus, look for car-pooling opportunities to get to work and school, either with other students or with a verified rideshare organization. You might also try out a cheap bike-share service to commute shorter distances. Check out these options to see if they’re available near your College:

3. Plan early for holiday breaks

If your college is far enough away that you need to fly to get home, planning your travel early can save you a lot of money. You have five potential trips home throughout the year (such as moving to campus, Thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break and summer break.) When you are planning for a holiday break, consider:

  • Comparing travel by car, bus, train, and plane
    • Instead of flying, you might also consider taking a bus or train, or road-tripping with a friend who is going in the same direction.
  • Comparing airports
    • Compare the flight prices for different nearby airports. Sometimes, flights to the “nearest” airport might be much more expensive than flights to bigger airports just a little further away. Keep in mind you’ll also need to potentially spend money to get to the airport.
  • Buying at the best time
    • Buy plane tickets four to six weeks in advance for the lowest price. Set up a flight alert to get notified about the best time to buy using an app like Hopper or Google Flights.
    • You might also ask if your school has a travel agency partner/program where you can get student discounted pricing.
  • Staying on campus
    • If traveling home often seems unaffordable and you would rather stay on campus over one of these breaks, talk to the office of campus life. You may need to fill out an application to stay on campus in your dorm.

Check out these resources on how to manage your college transportation and travel budget by Edmit. You can also look to create a budget using the Edmit free template here. Check out these guides for more information on Understanding College Bill and Life Budget Expenses.