Whether you’re planning a weekend city break, a fortnight lounging on a beach to top up your tan or a month exploring Eastern Europe I’m sure you’re wondering how you’re going to make that student loan stretch to cover it and still be able to eat at the end of term. Look no further than these top tips to get the most out of your money on your travels…
- Don’t assume budget airlines are going to be the cheapest option – flights with Ryanair, Easyjet, BMIbaby, just to name a few, all look fantastic at first sight, but once you add on extras for baggage, online check in, credit card fees etc. etc. that original price doesn’t look so inviting anymore. Don’t discount budget airlines, but ensure you compare prices with traditional airlines such as British Airways whose prices tend to include all the extras. Not enough time to trawl the internet comparing prices? Use a flight comparison site such as skyscanner.com to do it for you.
- If possible try not to travel at peak times of the year when every man and his dog have the same idea and prices skyrocket. Being a student makes this slightly easier…events weeks in November and February or just after the summer exams provide the perfect time to travel.
- As inviting as a hotel may be, check out hostels in the area you’re staying. Hostels have come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and are no longer the dingy places they used to be. Many also have cooking facilities which helps you to save money on eating out. Plus if there’s a group of you going you may even have a room to yourselves. Check out www.hostelworld.com which includes ratings and reviews to help make your decision.
- Not sure on where you want to travel to yet? Look at places outside the EU or those without the Euro. This means you’ll benefit from duty free or generally much cheaper shopping. Great for the shopaholics amongst you. For example you currently get almost 30 Czech Korunas to the pound, what better time to take a visit to Prague?
- If you have the ability to pack lightly (ladies I know it can be a challenge), take advantage of budget airline sales and special offers, taking only hand luggage to keep the price down. Perfect for a mid-term weekend away.
- Look out for low cost or even free excursions and entry to attractions. Many companies offer free city tours with tipping the guide at the end being left up to you. Or always wanted to see what Paris has to offer? Many museums and attractions in France offer free entry on the first Sunday of every month.
- Still not a fan of hostelling? How about trying Couch Surfing? Couchsurfing.org is an online community of members from 230 different countries worldwide connecting you to people with a spare bed or place to crash for a few nights. Sound dodgy? Couch surfing has its own safety systems in place, including member verification, ‘vouching’ and references. Recommended by the Guardian, this could be the future of backpacking; what better way to meet new people or practice that second language?
- Don’t plump straight for taking the fastest, most convenient mode of transport. Consider the Eurostar, trains, coaches and even bikes to get around. Not only are they much cheaper, you’ll also get to see much more of the country you’re in. Check out www.eurolines.com for cheap coach travel across Europe.
By Alanna Lintin