As someone who’s worked with a lot of students over five co-op terms, and as a student myself, I know that if you ask a group of students what they like to do, most of them will immediately say travel. It’s a good thing, having the desire to experience the world and open your mind. However, most of us don’t have the means to take luxurious trips. It’s also a good thing, then, that travelling can be done on a budget.
To save you some time, I searched for the best tips for travelling on a budget. Below are some particularly helpful ones that I’ll definitely be keeping in mind as I plan my graduation trip.
1. Research “secondary” destinations
You might be tempted to visit all those well-known cities everyone talks about, but nearby towns may be just as gorgeous and provide more bang for your buck.
2. Book everything using a private browsing window
You know how you start seeing social media ads for something you Googled just minutes after you Googled it? Well, a lot of travel websites will track the prices you’ve recently seen. To even the playing field, make sure you clear your browser cookies and use an incognito window when doing your research.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…
3. Search for cheap flights
This might seem obvious, but there are a few guidelines you can follow to find the best bargain. Avoid flights on Fridays and Sundays, as they are the priciest. Tuesday is almost always the cheapest day of the week to travel, due to the low demand for flights. You’ll also get a better deal if you fly on a Wednesday or a Saturday. That’s not all! The early morning is a cheap time to fly, but if you hate early morning flights as much as early morning classes, your next best options are the times surrounding lunch and dinner.
Home is where the heart is…
4. Stay with locals for free
A lot of students know about Airbnb and hostels, but a number of generous locals are also willing to let travellers stay with them for free. A shocking number of people swear by the websites that connect you to these locals. Sometimes you get a room, sometimes a couch, and sometimes an air mattress, but it’s always free. Here are some websites that come recommended:
Save thyme and money…
5. Shop at local markets
Eat seasonal and local products, and try out new recipes! Just remember to observe the prices and the offerings at markets. Rule of thumb: the easier you can find it, the cheaper it will be.
6. Leverage your position as a student
Don’t forget your WatCard! Most attractions offer discounted entrance tickets for students if they have their ID card with them. Keep in mind that sometimes discounts aren’t posted, and you’ll have to ask about them. You can also apply for an International Student Identity Card (ISIC), which offers student savings around the world. While your WatCard may not always be recognized, this card is valid in over 100 countries. You can get a teacher or youth card too!
In general, don’t be afraid to try your luck. Some people have gone to four-star hotels and asked if they could get a room with the $20 they had in their pocket, without getting turned away!
Happy travels, Warriors. Bon voyage! Buon viaggio! Cair vie! Boa viagem! ¡Buen viaje! Trevlig resa! İyi yolculuklar! Счастливого пути! Szczęśliwej drogi! God reise! ごきげんよう！Góða ferð! Καλό ταξίδι! Šťastnou cestu! Veilige reis! !سفر خوش