The Broke Student’s Guide to Travelling on a Budget

As a student, our lives are spent collecting as much experience as possible before we are thrust into the ‘real world’ – a working world where we earn our own mettle and keep. Such experiences are precious in forming our identities and who we want to perceive ourselves as: wiser, stronger, better. Travelling happens to be one way where students can expand on their experiences and have a taste of independence and freedom. It is by travelling that they learn to make the most out of this world at their own pace.

 

However, as freeing as travelling may be, careless wandering will cause major damage to your wallet. Students being students need to be mindful as they explore, and the best way to do this is to  first work out a travel budget. That way, it is much simpler to decide what is most important: food or accommodation? Tourist areas or the road less travelled? This gives you a proper framework to help you decide on the tone of your trip.

 

Find cities that use passes

Some cities like Amsterdam and London have something call a ‘pass’. This pass comes in the form of cards with names like ‘I Amsterdam City Card’ and ‘The London Pass’. Their namesakes are all telling of the benefits they provide if you want to make the most out of your holiday.

Source: https://www.iamsterdam.com/en/i-am/i-amsterdam-city-card/how-does-it-work/terms-and-conditions

 

For example, the I Amsterdam card provides a number of benefits within a limited time period (you can get to choose between the 24h, 72h, or 100h card — whichever suits your needs). It offers free entrance to places such as the Van Gogh museum, and Zanse Schaans. It also gives you free rides on the public GVB. On the other hand, The London Pass allows you to save money by giving you free entries to over 80 attractions. These include the Tower of London and Westminister Abbey.

Source: https://www.londonpass.com/how-it-works/what-you-get-with-the-london-pass.html

 

Save using your student card

In places like the UK, a student card is the key to unlock discounts on various goods and services. Many eateries, especially those located in a ‘university county’ like Nottingham are generous with these student savings. The NUS card is the most common, and it provides an ID number for redeeming discounts online. Of course, it is accepted in most UK stores.

Discounts even used in some clothing and luggage stores. UNUK students both current and future should take note of its use for discounts on trips to London using Megabus. Students get up to a 10% discount off the total journey using the NUS card.

 

Monitor market prices

It is important to do your research before locating the best place to travel. If you’re an avid traveller, websites like hostelworld.com and Skyscanner would be familiar to you. Many of these websites provide notifications when the destination you desire is having a cheap sale. Sign up for their newsletters and never miss out on the offers.

Skyscanner or Kayak is good if you intend to travel internationally, as they list prices by day. It’s often clear and accurate to what the airline is offering. Sometimes, they may even push new destinations for you to try based on your viewing history!

 

Source: https://www.hostelworld.com

Of course, hostels are a cheaper form of accommodation if you really want to save. Websites like hostelworld are great for cheap places to bunk. But the downside may be that you would have to live with many strangers, depending on the type of hostel offered. Which leads to the next point…

 

Travel as a group

 

Source: https://techcrunch.com/2015/02/27/airbnb-2/

Travelling with friends can be a good way to build lasting friendships. If your friends want more privacy, an AirBnb is perfect for staying together, especially if you book a whole space to yourself. Many AirBnb’s provide groups with the option of booking a whole house, sometimes with astounding amenities like a swimming pool or your own private garden!

These sort of accomodations are often cleaner, and if you manage to split with your friends, cheaper. They also allow for discount codes which you can share with your friends and get up till 20% off the total.

Be flexible with your dates

As with travelling where you have to be open-minded to the different cultures this world has to offer, one has to be flexible with your dates to get the most of your money. There will be some days where the departure ticket and return will be cheaper combined with one single departure ticket! While travelling, it is best to decide if you’re willing to be flexible with your dates, as in personal experience, sometimes the duration between the two tickets would be a minimum of four days. Planning is key.

Be wary of scams and read up on the typical activities before you enter a new country

Now, this tip isn’t for you to save your money, but rather for you to keep your money safe. More often than not, when you visit a new country, there will inevitably be an opportunity for local scammers to siphon you off your money. It would be smart to make a quick Google search to websites like Travelscams.org to understand the most common ways scammers may potentially target you or how their modus operandi, well, operates.

There’s nothing worse than being scammed of money during your travels and taking precautions to avoid that should be practiced.

Remember the old adage: If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Hopefully with these tips, readers will all find it easier to navigate the waters of travelling as a student and most of all, enjoy new experiences!

Written by Tennielle Callista Chua

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it. - George A. Moore

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