I’ve always wanted to travel, I sit in the library and see people on Facebook and Instagram all over Asia, Australia, South America and Europe and I can’t help but feel jealous. Not only do I have the constraint of study stopping me from jumping on a plane and enjoying cocktails on a sunny beach, but the most significant obstacle- and I feel that this is true for many people- is money. Especially being a student, it can seem impossible to travel anywhere, even in the holidays. However, there are ways to make this possible: budget airlines, combined with thrifty budgeting while away, make anything possible! Here are my top tips:
First;y, saving beforehand. This is obviously a huge part: if you really want to travel start counting those pennies- literally! Don’t underestimate the power of a penny jar. Before I travelled I had a penny jar for about a year. Just before I left, I traded this in and got £40- the equivalent of a train ticket from Washington DC to New York. Other saving methods are planning your meals for the week, bringing a packed lunch onto campus, and saying no to those unnecessary snacks and cups of coffee while out and about. If possible, keep all travel money in a separate bank account for these purposes alone.
Secondly, planning where and when you want to travel is a good way to reduce costs. Looking into low cost ways of travelling around is crucial. For example, there are coaches that go from London to Europe at a low cost- you could get a coach right now from London to Paris for just twenty-five euros each way. Coaches are certainly the way to go, I got a five dollar (yes, five!) coach from Virginia to Atlanta- now if that’s not a bargain please tell me what is.
Substituting planes for trains is also a good call, and may actually be less stressful. Inter-railing around Europe or taking Amtrak’s around the United States definitely offer lower prices than flying everywhere. They can also offer stunning views of the local surroundings and a way to see more of the place you are visiting. Planning is also useful in helping you to book cheap hotels, hostels, or Airbnb’s, saving you money and also stress through the knowledge that you will always have somewhere to stay.
Food budgeting is also crucial. My biggest cost while travelling was food as it is extremely tempting to eat out for every meal. However, this is unrealistic as I and my bank account quickly discovered. Instead, locate the closest supermarket to your accommodation and buy in bulk your snacks, bottles of water, bread and spreads for sandwiches.
In addition, staying in hostels or Airbnb’s can actually be more useful in these ways as they will have kitchens you can cook dinners in as well as fridges to store your food. They also often have washing machines which are extremely helpful.
This leads onto my next point: travel light. It may mean that you are wearing repetitive outfits in your much desired Instagram pictures, but in comparison to having to carry around multiple heavy bags and paying extortionate rates for additional luggage on transportation is definitely preferable. Furthermore (and this was important for me), travelling light enables you more purchase space for all those souvenirs and postcards you will inevitably buy (well, if you’re me anyway- shot glasses are my collection item of choice, although, I don’t encourage the stress of attempting to travel around the United States withthirteen fragile shot glasses, each having to be wrapped in a t-shirt for travel every few days). That’s the point, if you opt for a fast pace travel trip as I did, being mobile and travelling light is in direct relation to not losing your mind- You certainly won’t be saving money paying an additional forty pound per bag every two-three days.
So students, have no fear, you can be that annoying person constantly posting cheesy holiday pictures, and for a low cost! Who doesn’t love that?
Prices of flights go up if you look at them more than once on the same browser, they recognise that you’ve already looked and have come back so put up the price. So either book them straight away or browse on one computer and book on another!
National Trust memberships are £31.50 a year under the age of 25 and gives you free entry to almost all of their sites/ homes and free parking so it’s great for a staycation.
Book travel for a wednesday or mid week – it’s always cheaper and when booking flights look to have loyalty to a certain airline and sign up for their rewards system to get air mile points, you’ll be surprised how quickly you can earn yourself a free flight!
The Italian islands like Ischia have incredible fresh food that’s so cheap, especially compared to main land.
Madrid. You’d think Spain’s capital would be mega pricey. But with cheap drinks and free tapas with every round in most bars, you can’t go wrong!
If travelling by train in the UK always look to split your fares, especially true if you’re looking at a ‘return’ ticket. Travelling from London to Norwich is often cheaper if you specify ‘via Cambridge’ when booking your ticket.
If your hostel/hotel/air bnb has a fridge, buy lunch stuff and make yourself a picnic daily.