Summer is fast approaching, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve already filled your calendar up with hypothetical travel plans. However, actually affording these trips is a whole different story. Here are some of my top tips for travelling as a student, so you can see the world without breaking the bank.
1) Save money and meet fellow travellers through hostelling.
It’s pretty well-known that hostels are a much cheaper alternative to other types of accommodation, but if you’ve never stayed in a hostel before, the concept might be a little daunting. Use websites such as Hostelworld, which offers reviews from fellow travellers and uses a ranking system to recommend the best option for you. Many hostels also offer single-sex or even private dorms, which offer more privacy and less noise while still being cheaper than a hotel.
Most hostels also have kitchen facilities or even free breakfasts, meaning you can save money on food too!
2) Go interrailing.
Don’t want to spend all of your money on transport? Interrailing is a great option to travel on a budget, as it offers flexibility and is often much cheaper than a flight. Choose from a variety of ticket options to explore Europe by train, selecting your desired duration and number of stops.
Some interrailing tips:
Discover EU offers a scheme which allows young people to apply for free interrail passes! I successfully applied for this summer, so my interrailing pass has been provided for free and all I had to do was fill in a form. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here: What is DiscoverEU? | Interrail.eu.
Alternatively, the Interrail website (Interrail Global Pass | Cheapest Train Pass in Europe | Interrail.eu) frequently runs promotions and discounts, so keep an eye on the website for a reduction before buying your ticket.
3) Don’t book the first flight you come across.
With so many options out there, booking flights can feel pretty overwhelming. Use websites such as Google Flights and Skyscanner to compare prices offered by different airlines, and set up email price alerts to find the best deals. If possible, also check flight prices from a few different airports near you, as their offers differ dramatically.
As well as considering where you fly from, it’s also important to consider when. Studies have also concluded that Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly, and booking trips outside of the school holiday period can also greatly reduce costs.
3) Apply for the UoM Work Experience Bursary Scheme (Work Experience Bursaries (The University of Manchester).
Want to enhance your CV and travel within the UK at the same time? Take advantage of the opportunity to have your travel and accommodation costs covered to undertake career-related work experience. This is a great way to make valuable connections, explore career options and visit somewhere new at the same time.
4) Use Workaway.
Workaway (Information for workawayers) offers travellers the chance to work all over the world in exchange for free accommodation, sometimes also offering board and even a paycheck. Roles available vary greatly, from caring for animals on a farm in Colombia to working in a hostel in Canada. There’s something for everyone, but bear in mind hosts often require fairly long placements of a month or longer.
5) Visit uni friends.
One of the most exciting things about university is making friends with other students from all over the world- visit them! Alternatively, if any of your friends from home have gone to university elsewhere, add going to visit them to your list too. Make the most of free accommodation and a local tour guide while catching up with those who mean a lot to you.