BYU professor gives tips for traveling on a student budget

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Former BYU professor Nathaniel Lambert walked up to the airport check-in desk and felt only potential as he took out his passport and handed it to the attendant. He and his wife were planning to fly across the country, but they had more in mind than just boarding the plane.

“Do you need any volunteers?” he asked. “Is the plane overbooked?”

Those simple questions have earned Lambert $4,800 in flight credits in one year.

Requesting to bump flights — allowing someone else to take your place on a plane in exchange for vouchers and flight credits — is one of the tips Lambert, a current real estate investment coach, shared with the BYU Financial Freedom Club.

Lambert said he got bumped a few times going from Florida to Utah and made $2,400 in flight credits that he then used to go to Hawaii. On his way home from Hawaii, he got bumped for another $1,600.

Nathaniel Lambert sit on a camel in Egypt. (Nathaniel Lambert)
Former BYU professor Nathaniel Lambert sits on a camel in Egypt. Lambert shared several financial travel tips with BYU students from his traveling experience including how to find inexpensive flights and lodging. (Nathaniel Lambert)

Traveling on a student’s budget can be difficult, but with 30 plus countries under his belt, Lambert told students traveling on any budget is possible.

Lambert also said in place of bumping, other sites like Kayak and Skiplagged are keys to finding inexpensive flights.

Lodging is another aspect of travel that tends to be expensive, but Lambert said it doesn’t have to be. He said one of the best tools for cheap lodging is using hostels.

Brigham Redd, a pre-business major who attended the Financial Freedom Club meeting, said he enjoys the use of hostels because they aren’t only inexpensive but they also add to the experience of traveling.

“I’ve been to Europe four times, and we always stayed in hostels,” Redd said. “It was a really cool experience because we made our own food there, and we got to meet young college students from all around the world just doing different things. That was one of the funnest parts of the experience was the hostel experience.”

Lambert said other sites that are useful for finding inexpensive lodging are Couch Surfing, Airbnb and HomeExchange.

BYU Financial Freedom Club president Jonathan Engle has traveled with Lambert and said he found through his travels the best way to learn is to go with someone experienced.

Jonathan Engle stands on the coast of Hawaii. (Jonathan Engle)
BYU Financial Freedom Club president Jonathan Engle stands at Laie Point on Oahu, Hawaii. Engle said going abroad with an experienced traveler is the best way to learn how to travel on a budget. (Jonathan Engle)

“Travel with someone who knows more about it than you because they are going to make it fun, and they are going to do all of this stuff you never thought of that they can’t really explain because it’s almost intuitive (for them) to do it,” Engle said.

Lambert said whether it means renting a bike instead of taking expensive transportation or packing peanut butter instead of eating out for every meal, it is worth it to travel while you are young.

“There are so many amazing people out there and so many amazing experiences await you if you’ll just be creative and find solutions to make it happen,” Lambert said.

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