How to save money for travelling
Summer is fast approaching and it seems that everyone is planning trips around the world. But just how are they affording this? Here are our top tips on how to save money for travelling on a student budget.
Plan well in advance
The more you plan in advance, the longer you will have to save money. Once you know where you want to go and who you are travelling with your plans can finally take shape. Your budget will vary depending on where you want to go, it will all depend on the cost to get there and the extra costs of travelling there as a tourist. A trip to Europe might work out cheaper with flights, but travelling to South East Asia might be easier on your wallet when you get there.
Roughly add up how much you believe the trip will cost, by adding the cost of flights, accommodation, spending money and emergency money together. Now you will have an overall total that you need to save. So if you will need £800 to visit Thailand in June then start planning in October! Set aside a set amount of cash per week/month. A good way to do this is to set up a standing order with your bank account. This means that every week or month, the amount you set will be transferred automatically to your savings account so you can’t accidentally splurge it away at the bar!
There are always unexpected costs for every trip
Many countries will require you to have a visa, so this is an added extra to account for, just in case. Having back up money to cover unexpected costs is a clever idea to keep yourself covered.
If you get ill on holiday these costs can add up, make sure you have taken out comprehensive travel insurance. Or if you are travelling to Europe and are from an EU member country bring your EHIC card. However, remember that if you use travel insurance you will not receive compensation for the whole medical bill which means you will need to cover some of the costs yourself.
You will also need to budget for transfers from the airport to your accommodation, as well as any other public transport you will need to take during your trip. Always save up more than you need, as you never know when you might need to catch a taxi in an emergency.
Assess how you spend your money during uni
It’s hard to resist splurging the student loan on new clothes, a bar crawl and take away dinners. If you want to travel, you’re going to have to save. This can be achieved in little ways, like swapping your takeaway pizza for one from the frozen aisle, using your student discount to bag a new top or having pre-drinks in your house before a night out so you’ll save money at the bar. Every little bit helps and for every drink you don’t enjoy in the bar here, just think how many cocktails you can get in Thailand for that money!
When to go away
One of the benefits of being a university student is long holidays which are outside of school term-time. You can use this to your advantage to get a better time on offers on out of season. Below we’ve put together some extra tips on how to ensure you get the cheapest deal possible.
Best day to pay for flights: Tuesdays are the best day to book flights. This is due to many airlines announcing their latest deals on Monday evenings.
Best days to fly: As well as Tuesdays being the best day to buy a plane ticket, they are also one of the cheapest days to fly on. If you can’t fly on a Tuesday, choosing to fly on a Wednesday or a Saturday will also help you cut costs.
Best time to fly: Early morning flights are usually cheaper than any other time. You will be sacrificing sleep, but the money you will save may even allow you to pay for another night in your chosen destination.
Best time of year: Choose to fly outside of term-time school holidays. May and October are the cheapest times of the year to travel, if you have classes then alternatively September and June are also cheaper than July and August.
Last minute: Many airlines will offer last minute deals, or drop their flight prices if the flight does not sell out. It is worth keeping your eyes peeled for these deals, but you could also end up losing out and having to pay more.
Use Budget airlines: British Airways, American Airlines, Emirates and Virgin are all very popular airlines. However, this comes at a cost. By booking flights with these major brands, you may be spending up to double on trips in comparison to a budget airline.
Choosing non-direct over direct flights: Adding a stopover to your journey can save you a lot of money. Don’t just see it as a waste of time. It can really make the difference!
Comparison websites: Using websites such as Skyscanner and Kayak allows you to compare hundreds of flights and get yourself the best deal. You can also sign up for deal notifications so you know when the flights are at their cheapest rates.
Now you have your location chosen and the flights sorted it’s the fun bit, let’s choose your accommodation!
Airbnb: If you want to take in the sites like a local and save money whilst travelling Airbnb is the perfect combination. Offering accommodation much cheaper than hotels you can find yourself staying in an ideal location for half the price. You will also have your own kitchen space which will save you money on eating out.
Hostels: If you don’t mind sharing a dorm, or you’re interested in meeting other travellers, hostels are another cheap form of accommodation! You can book in advance using Hostelworld or for many, you can just show up on the day. Some hotels even offer smaller dorm rooms or the option to pick a private double or twin room with a private bathroom!
Tips for Sightseeing
Once you get there and want to start sightseeing it’s best to look into the following ways to save cash.
Travel blogs: Follow a few travel blogs before you set off. Many will give you budget saving tips and ideas, as well as let you know the places you simply can’t miss out on.
Haggling: In many countries, it’s cool to haggle. Turkey, China and Morocco, are all known for having souks and markets, where you can test out your haggling skills. To ensure you get the best price, and you aren’t ‘ripped off’, haggling is sometimes necessary. Next time you are at a souk, offer a lower price than advertised and see how low you can take it from there. Never be afraid to walk away, chances are you’ll find someone with something similar a few shops away.
Free activities: In some countries, museums and art galleries will be free. There are also often travel companies that offer free walking tours that you will pay for with an optional tip at the end. Try a quick search for free things to do in the area and you’re bound to find plenty of stuff you can do without cost.
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