Live your life by a compass, not a clock – Stephen Covey
Quotes like this, and other travel related pieces of content such as blogs and vlogs have penetrated our social media feeds like never-before. While images of exotic destinations and descriptions of life changing experiences do inspire us to travel and explore; it’s not always as easy. Reason being, our limited, often non-existent budgets; especially if you’re a student. Student-life is probably one of the most exciting times to travel and explore the world; but having limited resources can truly be a bummer. But fear not! There are more than enough hacks available in our modern times to travel on a shoestring budget; and create memories for a lifetime.
UK is a hub for students from around the world; and an ideal starting point for great destinations within and outside the UK. While on the surface, travelling in and around UK may seem like an expensive affair, there are ways to get around. Here are a few crucial tips for travelling on a shoestring budget for students in UK.
Plan and save
Well, this one is a no brainer. While impulsive trips can be great, they aren’t always possible to execute on a tight budget. So, plan your trip in advance. Based on your preferences and finances, choose the perfect destination. There are fabulous places in and around UK. If you’re travelling to a destination within the UK like Northern Ireland or Scotland, you will not have to worry about getting a Visa. Start saving money from your expenses, even before you decide on a destination. Once you realise that the travel bug has bitten, start saving. Allot a compartment in your mind that is dedicated to saving money for your travel.
Get others interested
Finding fellow students who are interested in travelling is not a tall order anymore. If you aren’t looking to make a solo trip, find a bunch of people (friends or not) who are interested in travelling with you. Travelling in small groups is way cheaper than travelling alone as all the costs are divided. Make sure that the people are compatible with each other.
Megabus is one of the cheapest ways to get around within the UK and other European cities as tickets can cost as little as GBP 1. To get great fares to popular destinations, you should book at least a month in advance. Even if you don’t get the best Megabus deals, you will still be paying a lot lesser than you would pay for travelling by the national bus system. With Megabus, you can travel to places like Paris, Brussels, or Amsterdam with fares as low as GBP 10.
Save with 16-25 Railcard
While train travel is more expensive, sometimes its unavoidable. With the 16-25 Railcard, you can save a third off the cost of train tickets. At an annual cost of about GBP 30, these cards pay for themselves very quickly. The discount is valid on all standard and first-class fares with just one restriction. Between 4:30 am and 10:00 am on weekdays, the discount is only valid on tickets that cost more than GBP 12. However, if you’re going to be travelling on the weekends, or for day trips, it’s a great option.
Book tickets in Advance
Train or flight; book your tickets in advance. In case of train tickets, try to book at least 12 weeks in advance. Now that may involve planning way in advance, some researches show that booking in advance can save you an average of 43% on train tickets. When it comes to flight tickets, the general rule is six weeks. Avoid booking last-minute flight tickets as this is when they’re most expensive. Consider budget airlines such as Ryanair and Easy jet and compare prices on aggregator sites such as SkyScanner or Cheapflights.
Get a bike
Once you’ve reached your destination, consider hiring a bike to travel locally. Many towns and cities across Europe have dedicated cycle lanes to increase your safety. By doing this, you will not just save money on cab fare and bus tickets, you will also get a more personal look at the city and what it has to offer.
Save on accommodation
Avoid hotels as they can be heavy on your wallet. Look for other options such as Couchsurfing or hostels. Most European cities offer amazing hostels that are cheap and full of energy. If you’re travelling solo, you are sure to find numerous people your age at these hostels. Couchsurfing is also a great way to find accommodation for free; that is of course, if you’re willing to host as well.
Look for Package holidays
Ok, now this might not be the perfect idea of a student travel experience; but there are certain holiday packages out there that offer tickets, accommodation, food and drink, that are often cheaper than the flight tickets purchased alone. So, you may not want to use the other aspects of the package like guided group tours, you may get a great deal on the tickets.
Travel in low season
Low seasons are great for 2 reasons; firstly, the cost of accommodation and tickets are low and secondly, the places are not so crowded. It’s a great way to save costs and enjoy the destination of your choice in peace.
Travelling on a budget may be challenging; but like most challenges, the rewards are generally worth it. From planning to execution, you will get a hands-on experience in managing every aspect of your travel and learn much more about the places that you’re travelling to. With every budget trip, you will find yourself getting sharper and more efficient in planning holidays on tight budgets. So, if you’re ready to head out and explore, get started and be ready to be amazed. Bon Voyage!
If you have any other tip on budget travelling, please tell us about it in the comments below.