In the future, I’ll see the whole world with my friends! This is a fantasy I dreamt about in high school. After all, once you reach college, meals become instant noodle cups and the reality of being a student requires living on a budget. The exciting European summer dream quickly dwindles once you look at your monthly rent and weekly grocery expenses.
However, this fantastic fantasy doesn’t have to disappear quite yet.
Being a student and fending for yourself financially is tough, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to stretch money further. Planning a fun trip within a smaller range is always a possibility! Let’s face it, you’re a student, not the Queen of England. You don’t need to stay in a five-star hotel and have a limousine driver.
With these tips, hopefully, you’ll be able to plan a fun trip and stay within your budget!
Sleep for cheaper
Chances are, you’ve already lost the privilege of living in your own room and have become accustomed to roommates. Why should your vacation be any different? You don’t need to book a hotel room, because chances are even a three-star hotel will be pricier than staying in a decent hostel. Hostels are much cheaper, and you’ll meet different yet interesting people in the communal living spaces! If you aren’t down for the hostel, you could look for an Airbnb, which is also typically half the cost of a hotel. An upside of Airbnbs is that you’ll experience living like a local! Staying in an Airbnb with a kitchen will also help cut food costs. You can save money when you cook your meals, but more on that later.
Navigating foreign locations can be tricky, and you may be tempted to call an Uber or taxi to get across the city. However, if you have access to the Uber app, chances are you probably have access to Google Maps, which pulls up the alternate public transportation route! Get in touch with the city’s underground rail system or buses, which will come at a lighter price! Or, you could even rent a bike, which is a more fun way of getting around! After all this navigational work, you’ll know the city much better than if you were to call a car to any destination.
Although being a student may seem financially challenging, at least there are discounts. Various airlines offer student discounts to get you to your destination for cheaper airfare. Be sure to scour all the budget websites first to ensure that you’ve found your lowest price and compare between different potential flights. Airlines that offer student discounts include (but aren’t limited to) United, Lufthansa, American Airlines and Delta.
Look for cheap eats
If you’re traveling to a foreign country, the most authentic foods from the regions will probably be sold by street vendors or small businesses. Eating in nice restaurants for every meal will add up, and sometimes, the best meals are from the most unexpected spots! Also, as alluring as airport snacks are on display, they’re overpriced and usually not great, so bring snacks from home to save money.
Pack only what you need
If you feel the need to bring three bags, then what are you overstuffing your bags with? Try to limit your load by packing only what you need. This way, you won’t need to check in your bags, which is an additional cost. When packing, look through everything and think: do I need to bring this? Maybe I’ll bring this dress in case there’s a fancy occasion! No, you don’t need it. Leave it behind if there’s any maybes involved — your wallet will thank you later. Singular clothing items and unnecessary items may seem minimal, but the weight adds up!
Do your research
If you’re reading this, you probably have already got this one down. Nonetheless, I’ll still repeat it because, seriously, that’s how important it is. Research your destination for cheap and free things to do because there’s always options — no matter where you go. Your budget-friendly options might consist of walking tours of a city, free museums, public landmarks and so much more! Don’t judge a book by its cover, as even the seemingly lame activities could be the best experiences!
Have fun planning your next vacation, and stay away from overpriced tourist traps!