If you have scoured the Internet for travel inspirations, you would know these generic tour packages all too well: Take a bicycle tour of the Dutch countryside, go white water rafting in Austria, experience a Parisian cabaret show & rub shoulders with the rich & famous on the French Riviera…all in a little over 2 weeks!
Sounds Brilliant. Except, minor detail: IT COSTS 1685 POUNDS AND DOES NOT INCLUDE FLIGHTS AND EXTRAS! Unless your parents are willing to top up your bank account like unlimited soda refills at restaurants, how, as students, are you meant to afford this? But there is no need to get disheartened. Travelling can be just as amazing and cost you next to nothing!
Book transport well in advance.
It’s no surprise that booking flights (or buses- we’re students, after all!) well in advance will get you the cheapest deal. Get on the mailing list for Ryan Air, Easy Jet, and other low cost airline. They often have really lucrative promotions.
You don’t have to have a destination in mind, go wherever is feasible and tick one country off your bucket list at a time!
If possible, try not to travel during peak seasons. If you’re lucky enough to have a reading week, travel then. Not only do you save money on transport but you’ll also avoid crowds.
Don’t spend on accommodation
Accommodation (even if you are staying in youth hostels) is most probably going to form the bulk of your budget and also dictate how long you’re going to be able to afford to stay in a city for.
It’s best to crash at a friend’s place. Take advantage of the international students at your universities. Don’t be afraid to message that one girl your seminar for advice if you’re planning a trip to her city. Chances are, she will be more than glad to at least meet up and show you around if not offer to put you up.
If you’re brave enough, another option to consider is Couch Surfing. It is a website allowing you to meet people around the world with the purpose of staying with them.
The word “Student Discount” is your new best friend.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. A lot of places do a student or a youth discount- all you have to do is ask! You actually do end up saving a ton of money.
And hey, you’re only young once so take full advantage of your youth!
Quit being a ‘tourist’ and become a ‘traveller’
There’s no need to fork out a ton on money on those sightseeing/ travel passes aimed at tourists when there are ton of free attractions. Ask yourself, what do the locals do?
Prioritise the attractions and sights you really want to visit. But there is no need to visit every single attraction. Wander about the streets, try local delicacies, people watch, be in awe of your new surroundings, and most importantly, make some memories!
Remember: the entire city is your museum!
And if you need to get from one place to another, you could always try hitchhiking!
So, what are you waiting for? Go grab your closest friends, sit down, work your budget, and plan a trip. It may sound clichéd, but it is honestly not so much the destination but the journey and the people you share it with that make the trip worthwhile.