How to travel on a budget

By Emma Bralic Velho

Warsaw, 2019

As students, we’re almost always longing for that next maintenance instalment from SFE or leeching off of our parents in order to be able to survive. At the same time, the majority of us just want to travel. I fit into both categories. As a linguist and somebody who learns another language as top-tier procrastination, all I want to do is travel. Usually you’ll find me on the Ryanair app, looking at new places to go to and continue ticking countries off my list. However, this all comes at a significant cost (unless you do it the right way!). Therefore, I’ve decided to share with you my top tips on travelling on a budget!

Take a morning outbound flight and a late return flight!

Travelling in the morning and returning later in the day maximises your time at your destination. I, for example, went to Oslo a couple of years ago. I took a 9am flight and got a 10pm return flight the next day. This gave me a fair amount of time there! In all honesty, I got so much done! Maximising your time in a place, even if the tickets are a tad bit more expensive, saves so much money in terms of accommodation! My advice is to always try to get outbound morning flights and late return flights, provided you can get airport transfer (although trains and coaches do tend to run quite early and late!). This also eliminates the extra £40-60 on a night’s accommodation.

Try to get accommodation including breakfast!

While the extra +/- £10 for breakfast may put you off, it’s always great having this peace of mind. It’s great waking up knowing you already have breakfast waiting for you instead of having to spend time having to find somewhere to eat. More often than not, as well, a croissant and coffee at a cafe will set you back quite a bit of money, whereas hotel breakfasts are almost always continental and unlimited so taking advantage of this will keep you going for a long time! Plus, you can always sneak banana and croissant away with you for a snack! If, however, you prefer to get accommodation without breakfast, I strongly suggest finding a local supermarket and getting some basic groceries there and finding a nice park to have your breakfast at! You can also stock up on bits for lunch and snacks too! Sightseeing does burn a lot of energy after all!

City travel

If you’re visiting a fairly small town, you can get away with walking from place to place if you’re quite fit. If you’re in a big place, though, it’s worth getting a bus/tram/train pass. Getting from place to place by public transport with single-use tickets can set you back quite a bit of money, whereas unlimited travel literally is your saviour when travelling. Too tired to walk? Just hop on the bus – you have unlimited travel after all! Get your money’s worth! My advice is to try and get a travel pass with airport transfer included, as airport transfer can be quite pricey on its own!

Student ID

The majority of tourist attractions always have student prices! Brilliant, isn’t it! Never forget to take your students ID – the amount of times I’ve forgotten to do so is quite honestly heart-breaking. The more discounts you can bag, the better! Although sometimes you can get a travel and tourist attraction discount combo, just have a look at the websites for the attractions you’re interested in and work out which is cheaper: the combo, or a separate travel pass and tourist attraction admission.

Luggage

This one is key. If you’re going away for a night or two, you don’t need a suitcase! Quite honestly, a rucksack will suffice. I’ve managed to go away for a week before with only a rucksack! As long as you pack the essentials, and only the essentials, you’re good to go! Plus, you can always leave some stuff at your accommodation, depending on how long you stay, of course! 

Dinner

Now, we all enjoy a fancy sit-down meal. Just because you’re travelling on a budget, doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself either! All the money you’ve saved on travel and student discounts means you can treat yourself to a lovely meal and a glass of wine! Anywhere rated 3.7/5 or above on TripAdvisor is almost always brilliant, I’ve found!

So those are my top tips on travelling on a budget. To give an example, a 2-night trip to Barcelona with ensuite accommodation, all airport transfer, city travel, great food, tourist attractions etc. cost me the grand total of… £108! Brilliant, I know. And this was during peak time, too! Always look for flights 2-3 months in advance to get the best deals… I’ve found that to always work for me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these and that they help you in the future!

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