Nobody wants to travel more than a freshly minted student. You are finally away from your parents’ home – why not go further? Unfortunately, you’re probably not that flush with money. But that’s not too bad if you follow our budget travel tips for students!
Choose your location carefully
Not all countries are as accepting of budget travel. France is expensive, Norway is more expensive still. So before you get tricked by cheap flight fares, consider whether the country itself is within your budget. Maybe you should look into Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe or South America.
Consider the timing
Of course, the most comfortable time to travel would be during your holidays. But every other student in the world and a good bit of regular travelers have the same idea. So, on the macro scale, you best choose off-season or shoulder-season to see your favorite spots. On the micro-scale, fly on the days that are unpopular with regular travelers. Most of all, don’t on major holidays, Fridays or Sundays.
Think about stopovers
A stopover is a layover that lasts longer than 24 hours. And seeing how major airports just so happen to be next to large cities, this just sounds like an opportunity to visit another location. Major airlines usually set no restrictions on stopovers in their hub cities.
Invest in some good shoes
There’s no cheaper way to tour a city than on foot. In fact, a lot of walking activities are cheaper than the alternative – but your feet have to be ready for that. Buying a pair of sturdy and comfortable shoes will help you stay on the road for longer periods of time and save you from having to buy new shoes while in transit.
See your doc
Make sure that you’re in ship-shape before traveling. Any health issues you can catch at home are health issues that you don’t have to explain to a weird foreign doctor. Make sure you have your meds (and possibly prescriptions) with you as well. Also, travel health insurance is a must.
Find some cheap accommodations
Hotels are easy to find – and expensive to boot. However, there are many other possibilities out there. If you don’t mind a rougher experience, you can sleep at hostels – the ones further away from downtown are usually cheaper. And you may even make friends! Similarly, Couchsurfing (and possibly even homestay) may not only get you a prime spot to stay but also possibly grant you a free local guide. Or you can go volunteering – a guaranteed, non-shady place to stay, some activities to keep you busy and helpful locals abound!
Know how you’ll travel
Public transport is your friend. Forget taxis (and maybe even drive sharing) – embrace metro and trains (especially if weekly cards and other such tickets are available), busses and so on. In some European countries, it’s better to ride the railway than pay for a plane ticket. And nothing will ever be cheaper than walking around. Then again, app-based bicycle sharing is becoming ever more popular, so you should look into that.
Take full benefit of your student status
ISIC and other student cards are a great way to get discounts basically whenever you go. Make yourself one and enjoy discounts on transport and many (think 125,000 spots in the 133 countries around the world) other things. This is your multipass! Seriously, ISIC will get you a 7% discount on Eurail pass, which will allow you to ride trains in 28 European countries.
Paying for luggage? What is this nonsense?! Take only as much stuff that fits in the free in-cabin luggage rate. Consider taking a backpack instead of a rollaboard – it will be easier to truck it around if you can’t leave it at your destination (or you don’t want to).
Cook your own food
When in Rome, buy fresh and cook at the hostel/homestay/whatever. This is a good economical choice for groups, as you don’t have leftover products and it’s more efficient to cook for more people. And if you’re doing a lot of walking, consider fast food – yeah, it’s not that healthy, but you’ll be burning those calories anyway and it’s usually cheap.
Hunt those bargains
Museums may offer free walking tours, free days and more. Make sure to know when is the best time to visit any location. Build yourself an efficient plan to see as many of the cool (and cheap) spots as possible. Ask if they have student discounts. Flash that ISIC card like it was going out of style.
We also have one final tip for you. If you end up traveling by air, but experience flight disruptions, claim flight compensation! You can get up to €600 for those pesky flight delays, cancellations, and overbooking. Do it via Skycop and we’ll do all the work for you while you plan your next trip!