One of the joys of your college years is the opportunity for student travel. You may never have so much time again, and while you are young is the best time to take advantage of the adventure (and the discomfort) of traveling on a budget. It’s tempting just to fill a backpack and set off, but a little forethought can make your journey longer and better. Here are a few student travel tips for to start planning ahead:
Pay with Cash and Prepaid Cards
The cheapest way to buy things is always cash, but you don’t want to carry too much. Get some before you start, so you can pay the first few days’ bills without hassle. Choose your cash card carefully; some of them charge outrageous amounts for purchases and ATM withdrawals – never make small purchases this way. A prepaid card can be an economical way to use money as well as helping you stick to a budget.
Think about how you will keep your cash and cards safe. Use a money belt. Avoid keeping all your valuables in one place; that way you are less likely to lose them all. Keep your card details (encoded) and the phone number to report lost cards on a couple of scraps of paper separate from your cards—along with your insurance details.
Use Travel Deals and Discounts to Save Money
There are myriad ways to pay less on your student travel adventure.
Go to places with low costs. The exchange rate varies through the year, so it is not easy to predict which will be the cheapest places next year. Keep an eye on the financial pages and travel blogs.
Use cheap transport. This sometimes conflicts with the previous idea, as cheaper places tend to be farther away. As a general rule, train is usually cheaper than plane, and bus cheaper than train. Walking is cheapest of all!
Cities are expensive, so spend more time in smaller towns, away from the main tourist locations.
Stay at hostels rather than hotels, and avoid city centre hostels. When possible, buy and cook your own food in hostel kitchens. Carry your own water supply (with sterilising tablets if in doubt).
Check out the best phone deal for your destination. Just taking your phone and hoping for the best is probably going to cost you.
Take advantage of freebies. Lots of museums and sites have free days, or free entry for students.
Take Advantage of Refunds and Local Employment
Make sure you get any refunds you are entitled to. If your flight has been delayed you may be entitled to compensation. When you return don’t forget to use this flight delay compensation calculator to check your eligibility.
You may want to supplement your funds by working. Lots of student travelers work as bar staff in holiday resorts, sometimes getting free meals thrown in. To see a different side of life you can volunteer in return for board and lodging, and that might lead onto paid work.
Enjoy The Rewards of Student Travel
Whether you are taking a gap year, or traveling during your vacations, the opportunities to discover the world (in ways that may never be possible again) are there for the taking. Plan carefully and act sensibly, and your travels will be part of you for the rest of your life.
About the author:
Daniel Lee works for a travel agents and deals with a wide range of people each day, whether that’s a student going on a gap year, or an elderly couple going on their first cruise. He always has helpful advice to offer no matter who they are or where they are going and shares that knowledge online too.