You’ve made it to the end of the University year, which probably means you have just gone through a few weeks of intense exams, essays, presentations and all the fun stuff that comes with gaining a degree.
Summer is here and it’s time to celebrate with all the new friends you’ve made… but there’s just one problem…
With the last installment of your student loan a distant memory; you may all be facing a very tight budget. If the balance is that low, of course my advice is: do not spend what little you do have on a big holiday!
But if you and your mates have managed to put a little by with your summer holidays in mind, here are some tips on getting the mo st out of your holiday, on a student budget!
Location, location, location
Choosing a good location, preferably where the cost of living is cheap, makes all the difference when going on holiday. Spain, Greece and Sicily all offer beautiful landscapes, plenty of sunshine and a bit less of a shock for your wallet. Flights can be bought for a good price if you try and get them early, and an incredible dinner with some local wine will set you back about as much as a cheap takeaway might in the UK.
Book your flights early
As mentioned before, instead of postponing booking your flights, do it as early as possible. A lot of people look for last minute flights, which may work in your favor, or it might not. Generally it’s best to book as soon as you can, also- remember to delete your cookies and search for flights from different devices to make sure you’re getting the best deal you can. There are plenty of tips online offering advice on saving on plane tickets.
Places to stay
If you can find a flight + accommodation package that might save on some extra planning, but you’ll have limited your choices by trying to book everything at once. You have many options for places to stay. Youth hostels are often the go to option for a student budget and also a fun way to meet other travelers. However, if you are traveling with a group, it is a great option to rent a villa and split the cost between all of you. Choosing to stay in a villa also offers you the chance to save on food costs, as you can do a simple trip to a local shop and cook your own meals (fresh food markets are common place across the Mediterranean). For example- if a large group of you split the cost of one of the many Sicily villas offered by Wishsicily– you could experience luxury not available in a hostel, at half the cost of multiple rooms in a hotel.
Eat local foods
“Do as the Romans do” is a very applicable mindset, no matter your destination. Eating local foods and adapting to local habits will give you a true taste of what the local culture is like. Perhaps dinners are smaller but an appetizer a couple hours earlier is popular? This might even help out your wallet! Ask locals for their advice on where to eat and drink in order to avoid the places with hiked-up prices waiting for unsuspecting tourists.
Depending on your native country and where you are planning to go for holiday, a visa may be necessary. If you are planning to travel where you need a visa, it is best to start planning as early as possible. Travel visas often require all details of your holiday, including your flight information, accommodation, travel insurance, bank statements to ensure you can cover your stay, etc. If you’re on a budget I’d suggest staying in Europe- flights are cheaper and if you’re travelling from the UK there’s very little extra work that needs doing other than booking your tickets and setting off on your way.
Pack only the essentials
It’s easy to get carried away packing for a holiday. But it is just as easy for fees to add up if your bag is overweight or oversized. Pack only what you really need for your holiday, but also what you need for where you are going. The travel friendly sun cream and travel adapter are worth the space in your bag (even if you have to leave out a top or two.) A lot of budget airlines only include hand luggage on their flights unless you’re willing to pay more for a larger case. Perhaps it’s worth chipping in and paying for one or two pieces of check-in luggage and sharing packing space among you.
Don’t forget your student ID card!
Oh, the beauty of student discounts. Be sure to have your student ID card with you at all times. Many restaurants, bars and sites have student discounts. Museums will often have a student price tickets if you’re feeling cultural, and some bars have drink offers available only to university students.
If you put some effort into the planning, and don’t get too carried away, it’s more than possible for you and your group of friends to have an unforgettable summer (without regretting it as soon as you’re back in the UK and see the number in your bank account).
Enjoy every second of your summer holiday, but know that you can do it without spending a fortune!