We all know that you don’t have too much money as a student, but that’s no need to have to give up those wonderful travel experiences. You simply have to be more smart about your travel choices. Maybe it’s not the right time for a three-month adventure, or a shopping spree in Paris, but there’s still plenty of travel to be done!
Pick your location
Make sure to travel somewhere not too expensive. It’s always tricky to save money when on the road, as you don’t want to miss out on experiences or delicious food, and the “I can splurge just a little while travelling” excuse always wins. So make sure to pick a location where you actually can splurge, without breaking the bank that is.
Consider the costs of accommodation (as that’s usually where most the money goes), transportation, and activities. Flights to Asia or South America might not be the cheapest, but hotels, food, and excursions are a lot cheaper. So consider all the different costs before making a decision.
Volunteering is a great way to explore a new country, and do some good while you’re at it. Besides, accommodation is one of the most expensive costs when travelling, so why not get it for free? Do some research, find something you’re interested and passionate about, and go have an amazing experience.
A tip is to contact the organizations directly, and not go via a third party. You’ll most likely still need to make a donation, but at least it will go directly to the organization where you’re volunteering, and you might get away much cheaper than using those big “volunteer abroad” companies.
Consider options to hotels, Airbnb, and hostel. Couchsurfing might not be the most glamorous way of travelling, but it sure is cheap. If you can avoid the accommodation cost, especially if you’re travelling for longer than a weekend, you’ll save a lot of money.
Again, a great way to get accommodation for free. WorkAbroad is a website where you can find people and companies in need of a little extra help all over the world. Decide where you want to go, find a company or person you want to work with, and get accommodation sorted for you. It’s work for stay, and a pretty good deal if you don’t mind working a few hours a day.
Nothing will ruin your budget like last minute panic solutions, so make sure to have a plan ahead of time. Last minute deals can be a lifesaver, but a lof of the time it’ll end up costing more than expected. Use Skyscanner’s tool Price Alert, where you can enter the flight info your looking for, and get updates when the price changes.
Maybe flying isn’t the cheapest option? Maybe it’s cheaper to travel somewhere else? Maybe AirnB is cheaper than a hotel? Do your research before taking off, and consider alternatives to your original plan. There are plenty of amazing places to explore, some you might not have even considered, so make sure to check all options instead of just doing what your use to, or what everyone else does.
Check the option “Everywhere” on Skyscanner and see where it’s cheapest to fly. Search from your airport to “everywhere” and maybe you’ll find a cool place you hadn’t even thought off.
Use the long layovers
A lot of the time, the cheapest flights are not the fastest and direct ones, it’s the ones with the 10-hour layovers. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing, it’s an extra country to visit. Simply make the most out of a long layover and you can cross another country off your list for free! See if you can find a flight with a long layover during day-time and your golden.
Make a budget, and stick to it
It’s easy to make excuses when travelling and let yourself splurge, and while I think it’s important to let yourself enjoy your travels and not cheap out on those once-in-a-lifetime moments, it’s important to remember that not everything is a once-in-a-lifetime moment. So make sure to plan ahead and decide what you want to do, and what you want to spend money on. Take public transport instead of taxis, don’t eat out at fancy restaurants three times a day, and don’t go on a crazy shopping spree. Stick to the plan.
Use the student discount
The best thing about being a student, are the student discounts! Don’t forget to bring your student ID when you’re travelling, and make sure to ask if there are any student discounts. If you want to make sure you’ll get the most out of your student deals, check out the International Student Identity Card (a.k.a. the ISIC).
Explore your backyard
There are plenty of places to explore and discover right where you are. Make day trips around your home country, take road trips, or explore countries nearby. You might be able to find really cheap buses, trains, or flights, taking you to neighbouring countries and it’s just as much of a travel as going half-way around the world.