We’d all love to splash out on big, extravagant holidays to the furthest, most exotic corners of the globe, but for some of us, our budgets simply won’t stretch that far. If you’re a student, you’ll know how real this struggle is.
Everyone knows that travelling broadens the mind, and it can feel disheartening if it feels like your budget will barely get you out of town. No worries, though, because there are ways around it.
Travelling on a student budget is easy when you know how. Here’s what you need to do.
Think about what the flight-costs actually include
When you see a flight for (what appears to be) a really cheap price, just think about it for a second. What does that price include? Are there any hidden costs? You’ll likely be charged for hold-baggage, seat-selection (especially on Ryanair), and anything else you might buy onboard.
So, before you pull the trigger on those amazingly cheap flights, look a bit more closely. It’s a good idea to look for airlines that provide the extras included.
Try to be flexible with your dates
If you’ve just finished your academic year, you’ve got the whole summer to go on holiday, and it will help you get cheaper deals if you’re flexible with dates.
Prices are always changing, so you’ll have to keep a close eye on flights and strike when you see the right deal for you. If you’re open to more dates, you’ll spread your net more widely and should catch yourself a bargain.
Also, remember that midweek flights are always cheaper than weekend flights!
Seek out discounts on public transport
One of the perks of student life is that sacred student discount. When you’re using public transport on holiday, ask about any discounts that might be available. In many places, there’ll be some form of student discount and a range of young-adult prices. Get flashing that student ID!
Avoid the tourist hotspots where possible
Or, avoid spending money in tourist hotspots at least. They’re called ‘tourist traps’ for a reason, and it’s common knowledge that the price for pretty much anything and everything is higher in these kinds of dense, popular areas. Think about New York’s Times Square and Paris’s Eiffel Tower, for example.
Of course, you’ll want to see these places, so it’s best to keep your money in your pockets when passing through.
There’s something to be said for going off the beaten track, too.
Be open to different locations
Obviously, if you’re completely set on one location, at one time, then you’re limiting yourself from the get-go. Instead, open yourself up to a wealth of new cultures and experiences. It might feel like all you can afford is a weekend sojourn to Skegness, but if you’re open to different locations (and you take on our tips) then you’ll definitely bag a bargain.
Going on holiday to somewhere you’ve never been before is exciting. Fair enough if you’re going to Benidorm for the seventh year running, but you’ll get more bang for your buck by setting out on a brand-new adventure.
Get a package deal
This one is a biggie. Lots of travel agents partner up with airlines and hotels to provide package deals, which is great for convenience. It’s often more expensive than just sorting it all yourself, but many of us go down this route to make our lives easier.
Here’s a trick: because travel agents have to sell these holidays to meet their end of the agreement, they will often lower the prices if there are not enough bums on seats. It’s their way of encouraging last-minute holidaymakers to book a package deal.
This is when you sweep in, bank card in hand. Go get those deals!
Just because you’re a student, doesn’t mean you can’t travel
Why sacrifice great experiences just because you’re a student? These are said to be your best years, and your student loan isn’t going to spend itself, is it? With the above tips, you’ll be the Master of Holiday Bargains in no time.
Callum Dawson is a writer for Mears Student Life, a UK provider of student accommodation in three city-centre locations.