Today I have a fantastic guest post by Katy, who is a student who loves traveling. Here she shares how she had FIVE trips abroad already planned for next year, and her tips for getting great deals when traveling. Katy blogs at Monotony Will Kill You and can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Over to Katy…
I am an 18 year old student and as such, I generally don’t have loads of money to spare, however, personally, I spend any spare money I do have on holidays rather than clothes or material goods. A lot of my student friends at uni are astonished by how many times I go on holiday (currently I have 5 trips abroad planned for next year – two of which are long haul – Thailand and USA) and they ask me how on earth I afford it. The truth is, if you book holidays in a certain way, then they can be pretty cheap! I’m going to tell you of my top tips in how I book holidays to make sure that I can afford them on a student budget!
The first one is what I always do when I start to think about booking a holiday and that is to use Skyscanner when I am searching for flights! Often, I don’t actually put a destination in and instead use the Skyscanner ‘everywhere’ tool to see how much flights are to different places and then I pick my destination from there! It can also be useful to know that flights vary a lot depending on which airport you go from. For example, I live in Cheshire when I’m not at Uni but sometimes, flights from Manchester can be more expensive than flights from London so it is sometimes cheaper to get a £10 train (on a 16-25 railcard) down to London and then fly from there. So this tip is mainly not to be fussy! I want to go to as many places as I can in the world so I often end up seeing where is cheapest to go at the time of year when I want to go on holiday and then I pick my flights and destination based off that!
When using the Skyscanner tool, you’ll see that often, a lot of the less touristy countries such as those in Eastern Europe like Romania are a lot cheaper to fly to than Amsterdam or Italy for example so take advantage of that! A lot of those countries are also super cheap when you get there so use that to your advantage! Have an unusual city break in a country most people wouldn’t think of going to and you might surprise yourself and have lots of interesting stories about the city and their culture to tell your friends when you come back!
This tip is in regards to your accommodation. There are two methods of accommodation that I rely on when going on holiday. If it’s just me and a friend then we would probably go in a hostel as it’s very cheap. If it’s me and a group of friends then the cheapest way to do it is usually to find an Airbnb apartment and rent that out. We found a great apartment on Airbnb for my trip to Split, Croatia last summer for 3 of us and it ended up being about £50 for accommodation for each of us for a week! And this apartment was right in the centre of Split, we could literally walk 5 minutes and be surrounded by culture! There are also lots of other cheap accommodations such as couch surfing however I haven’t tried that so I can’t really give any comment.
If you do end up in your own apartment, then make use of the kitchen and cook for yourself a few nights! I love eating the local food but, depending where you are, it can be pricy. In Barcelona for example, we ate out probably once a day but had the other two meals at home because it was much cheaper. It still allowed us to taste the local food but we didn’t spend too much money!
Try and avoid the tourist traps! On the subject of food, and, this is easy to do, try and go to the local restaurants as they will be cheaper and have better food, although they might be a little out of the way. In Croatia, if a restaurant was called ‘konoba’ it was said to be a family run, smaller restaurant which were the ones we went to. We had a look at one of the restaurants on the Riva which was the main promenade and they were charging double what the Konobas were for Westernised food whilst the Konobas were serving freshly caught fish and Croatian delicacies.
Finally, and this is my main point for all of these – don’t be fussy! When I travel, I want to immerse myself in the culture that I have gone to and therefore, I try to be as open minded as possible! Try not to be fussy about where you eat and where you stay and you might find that you have a much better experience!
And if you want to ensure you're not going to be hit by bad weather, check the forecast in advance. I checked the forecast in advance for Barcelona, which is known for having quite varied weather.
Thanks for reading my tips about affording travel on a student budget and I hope it helps you to find some nice holidays! Head over to my blog to find out about my latest travels – Romania, Hungary, Lithuania, USA and Thailand are planned for 2017!