Almost every student I talk to wants to travel, but doesn’t think they can afford it. While travelling can be expensive, with ample time and prep work it is definitely possible! I have done some extreme budget travelling in the past…from living off apples and bread to sleeping in airports so I didn’t have to spring for a hostel. While I’m not suggesting you go that extreme, here are some of the budget travel tips I learned along the way:
- Give yourself time
Cliché, but true. We took over a year and a half to save and plan for our trip. Give yourself time, because needing to save up is inevitable.
- Stay in places with kitchens
Not only is cooking for yourself cheaper, but a lot of travellers leave food in the fridge that they don’t want to carry with them on their travels. Read: free food. By doing this, we had many days we didn’t even pay for our meals.
- Walk when you can
Walking is not only great because you cut costs, but you also see a lot more. Also, take advantage of walking tours on your first days. They give you a great introduction to the city, and are usually pay-what-you-can.
- Take advantage of being a student
This was our most-used form of accommodation. Hostels are relatively cheap, great for meeting people and extremely convenient. They’re no fuss, and easy to book last minute! We used hostelbookers and hostelworld to make our reservations.
Couchsurfing is great because you are able to stay for free. It’s a community website where people list their homes for you to stay in. Everyone (including you) has a review, so you can check to make sure you’re in good hands.
This may be pushing people’s limits – but tenting is a great alternative to hostels. We carried a backpacking tent across Europe for nearly three months, and it saved us a lot of money (especially in Scandinavia). Strangely, a lot of major cities in Europe have campgrounds directly in the city or near public transit.
- Buy passes
If you will be in Europe, a Eurail pass is a great option. They often go on sale, so keep your eye on them a few months before you plan to purchase. If you are going to frequently be moving from place to place, a pass is usually the cheaper route.
- Wait for seat sales
Keep an eye on sales for a while before you plan to leave. If you can, book a round trip, as it is usually cheaper. Furthermore, flying in and out of the same place often costs less. See if you can start somewhere, and then loop back there to save funds.
Are you under the spell of wanderlust? What are some of your money-saving travelling tips? Let us know on our Facebook page!