For the last three years I have taken off for a couple of weeks, with a rucksack on my back, and a very precise (and often small) amount of money in my pocket. In fact, in a couple of weeks I am doing the same again! There are a couple of things I have learnt over my few years of budget travelling which may come in handy for this year’s Jailbreakers.
What to be aware of.
How expensive is the destination?
Some cities are miles cheaper than others, so plan where to go well. Sofia and Krakow are up there with the cheap city holidays whilst many Italian cities are the complete opposite.
Where to stay?
Hostels are always a good option for travelling on a budget! They have cheap rooms, cheap washing facilities (if this is a priority for you), some have free food and almost all come with a kitchen!
Where to eat?
As most hostels come equipped with a kitchen so there is no need to constantly eat out. Whilst this may sound lovely, it is quite expensive. Why not chose to cook or buy food from the local supermarket at a much lower price?
What to bring.
How much money?
Budget for your trip in advance. Think about what you want to do and how much this will cost. That way you only take what is necessary, which is great on a student budget. Take a little spare cash though, just in case. Once a friend and I missed a train and had to buy a 7-hour bus to Brussels!
What to pack?
Don’t overpack. You don’t need ridiculous amounts of technology, or massive bottles of shampoo. Take the basics – travel toiletries, a camera maybe and I would always recommend a small fold away towel. Hostels will always have the necessary things for sleeping and cooking, so you only need to pack what they can’t provide. Don’t make your bag too heavy!
Make sure you take an international student card with you – it will save you ridiculous amounts of money! In Athens, I saved €30 because all the sites were free to EU students.
What not to do.
I would not recommend this. No matter how cheap it is, it isn’t very safe at all. I can’t say I never considered it – especially when I was stranded at the wrong side of a town – but I didn’t do it as I did not feel safe. Budget travel should never put you in danger.
I know, this is quite an obvious one, but overspending is so easy to do! When your travelling you see something that catches your eye and suddenly you’ve spent a lot of money. Just think about what you’re buying it – being a good budget traveller is all about being cautious with your money (and getting a great deal when you can).
Jailbreak is happening in our Easter – not the rest of the countries’ Easter – so it a perfect time to travel. Avoiding travel at peak times is a sure-fire way of travelling on the cheap.
Budget travel can be fun. You are restricted to what you do and spend your money on, but if you pack well, plan well and stay aware of what you are splashing that cash on, you will have a whale of a time!