Student life

Travelling on a student budget

University can be stressful, like majorly stressful. You’ve finished your essays, panicked your way through your final exams, and crammed so hard you could give a mechanical press a fright! With your adrenal glands all puffed out, your body, mind and soul are probably begging for a break before you rinse and repeat! So now that you’ve established you want to go on holiday (or rather you NEED to go on holiday) you go to open your wallet and all that falls out are old bus tickets, and the receipts for more end-of-term celebrations.

Well, don’t panic. We’re here to help, with tips for travelling on a student budget.

1. Do it yourself

First things first. If you’re going to travel on a budget, do it on your budget; not the budget of the travel agent or those instagrammers always holding a glass of champagne from their yachts!

You don’t have to fork out for a £3,000 organised tour if you want to have a good time. This way, you can make sure you really get value for your money. Obviously, pre-arranged tours might be less hassle to sort out – and honestly, that’s a large part of why they can charge so much – but by taking the time to book your own accommodation and travel arrangements, you can tailor your holiday so that you get exactly what you want, and more importantly, pay exactly what you want.

There are endless number of sites that’ll “compare the market” however, if you had to use one, use Kayak, Kayak searches hundreds of other travel sites at once to find the information you need to make the right decisions on flights, hotels and even packaged holidays on YOUR BUDGET!

2. Accomodation

Youth hostels are your friend. Yes, you may have to share a bedroom with other travellers. Yes, inevitably one of them may snore loudly and arrive to the room in the early hours. But, there are some real perks. The staff know that you’re travelling on a budget, and they’ll go out of their way to help you enjoy your trip, with advice and guides on the cheapest places to go, the best places to eat, and how to get around the city without getting ripped off. Plus, for those who like to travel alone (or their friends look like Cadbury flakes) that fellow hosteller could turn into a great travel companion for that particular leg of your holiday!

3. Street food

You don’t have to blow your entire budget on eating in restaurants and cafes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wherever you’re travelling, investigate nearby street food vendors. Chances are, you’ll find great local delicacies, and they’ll likely be much cheaper than you’ve just seen them on a café menu. Moreover, street food frees you up to wander and explore more of the city while you eat. Ideal.

If you’re travelling with friends, it’s also worth pooling your resources, buying a cheap picnic at a local supermarket, and then all you need to do is find yourself a local park or even better a spot on the beach.

4. Free sightseeing

Avoid the often expensive open-top tour bus and take a walk. If there are free walking tours of your destination, take advantage of it, and do it as early as you can. The more you walk around the city, the more you’ll get your bearings, and the more you’ll know how to get around without buses or taxis.

In most cases, walking tour guides are a wealth of knowledge, on everything from culture and history to the best bars and nightlife, and they’ll give you the tips and stories only a local would know. Companies like New Europe Tours operate these tours in cities across the world, and moreover, many of them will pick you up from your hostel, so you don’t even have to spend anything to find them.

5. Budget per day

It’s not exciting or romantic, but if you set yourself a clear budget per day, and if you stick to it, then you’ll be able to plan out a full, action-packed holiday. Don’t be the person who blows their entire budget in the first two days, then has to phone and beg their parents for the money for a plane ticket home.

Travelling on a shoestring is a challenge, but when you do it right, it can be one of the most enriching experiences you’ll ever have.

6. Don't look like a tourist

You’d be amazed at how endearingly helpful the local lot can be if you learn to speak their lingo. The locals know best, and often they can recommend some fantastic non-touristy things to do and see that will not cost the earth!

And in terms of looking a tourist, In places like Morocco, getting your map out in the market could land you with several carpets and a live chicken – learning some of the lingo and not being frightened to be a bit firm, could save you a few pennies.

7. Join the club - Jack's Flight Club

Don't worry, this isn't some kinky mile high situation! It's a team of people scouring the internet for the best deals and mistake fares from the UK to destinations all over the world. Sign up for the free newsletter and receive the best deals weekly, or sign up for the paid service and receive daily deals straight to your inbox!

So, with all that out of the way, here are some cheap flights to get you started, all for one week, all return. It's just down to you now to find the hostels and plan the summer break to remember.

  • Gatwick to Ibiza, 15th August for one week, return for only £74.14 (Tui),
  • Birmingham to Corfu 14th August for one week, return for only £92.60 (Rynair)
  • Manchester to Santorini 16th August for one week, return for only £90.46 (Tui)

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

More articles in Student life

× Warning: Late repayment can cause you serious money problems. For help, go to moneyadviceservice.org.uk