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How to travel on a student budget

Thinking about travelling, but don't know how to afford it? Have no fear.

The idea of travelling may seem costly, but with a little planning and utilising helpful websites and apps developed to help you save money, travelling cheap is easier than ever and totally within your grasp. Read ahead for the best tips on how to travel cheap whilst ensuring you have the best time of your life.

1. Skyscanner

This one might seem obvious, but Skyscanner will become your new best friend if you are looking for the cheapest possible flights. The website is a metasearch engine for flights, allowing you to search for the best travel options suited to you. One way to travel extra cheap is by using the 'everywhere' tool in order to scope out the cheapest places to go to. Simply type in where you will be flying from, e.g. Birmingham, and then type in 'everywhere' and the cheapest options will appear at the top of the list. This way, you can fly to totally random, fantastic destinations that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise at really affordable prices. Even better, you can search by 'cheapest month' to get a clear idea of when is the best time to book, and when to go for the cheapest price. Skyscanner has also provided a guide for this, here.


2. Pack Minimal
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Minimalist Packing for 2 weeks in Mexico + Belize. ✔️If it wasn’t for my running gear it would be even less but it’ll be worth it to ? the ? ! Pack List Below ?? . . . BOTTOMS 1 jeans 1 shorts 1 dress 1 yoga pants TOPS 5 tanks 3 tees 1 hoodie SPORT 1 running pants 1 running top 1 Sneakers 5 socks 1 Goggles 2 bathing suits 1 Fuelbelt 1 Visor 1 Headband 1 Nuun 1 Sunglasses 1 Towel 1 Headlamp 1 Waterproof Swim Bag LINGERIE 2 bras 9 undies TOILETRIES Travel Shampoo Travel Conditioner Bronners Bar Soap Lavender Oil Tiger Balm Toothpaste Toothbrush Hair Ties Ibuprofen Epipen Vitamins Qtips Tissues Hairbrush Razor TECH MacBook + Charger iPhone + Charger Backup Battery + Charger Outlet Adapter SNACKS Peanut Butter Protein Bars Miso Packets LEISURE Eye Mask Haruki Murakami Book National Geographic Mag Satchel Scarf Adulting Passport Wallet Padlock . . . #minimalistpacking #minimalist #minimalism #travel #traveler #worldtraveller #traveljunkie #run #runnersofinstagram #runtheworld #centralamerica #onebackpack #zerowasteliving #minimalistmovement #anticonsumerism #experienceovermaterial

A post shared by dLux (@amydlux) on

In order to save on baggage fees, and make your journey/travel generally less taxing, only bring what you definitely need in order to fit it all into a carry-on/hand luggage bag. This means bringing only the items you know you will wear and feel comfortable in, as opposed to picking options which you may or may not wear. At first, this may seem difficult, but trust me, travelling this way is so liberating and you will save so much time by planning outfits before you go, instead of bringing a load of clothes and shoes which are never worn and become dead weight. It makes your travels cheaper too because you won't be needing to pay for extra baggage fees every time you hop on a plane. Flight-companies make a lot of their profits this way, and you can skip those extra charges by getting yourself a carry-on bag to fit all your stuff into. The maximum size you can bring on is 56cm x 45cm x 25cm, and a lot of great companies sell bags that are exactly this size. A personal favourite, which I have been using for my travels, is the Osprey FarPoint 400 which is the exact maximum size you can bring on. The bag has zipped pockets and compartments to allow you to separate everything nice and neatly too. Buying a bag to save money may seem contradictory for someone who wants to save money, but look at it this way - this bag can potentially last you your whole life so is really worth the money for now. And, if you want to squeeze in as much as possible into your carry-on bag, then I recommend buying some travel cubes, which allow you to separate everything into airtight bags. The travel-cubes may not be necessary for some but they really do allow you to squeeze more in than you would without them.


3. Plan Ahead
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. So you have finally decided on your holiday / vacation spot and decided on your mode of transportation from home to your destination. That is great! As you prepare for your trip however, do not forget to plan a budget for the following. ​ 1. ​Other transportation ​2. ​Accommodation ​3. ​Food ​4. ​Activities ​5. ​Shopping ​6. ​Emergency Cash ​ NB: ​It is always a good idea to track your travel spending. This will help you know how much you spend while you travel and also keep you in check so you do not go broke in a foreign land. . . . #wanderlustfulsights ?? #fromghanawithlove #whereistand #travelwriter #travel #travelgram #travelblogger #wanderlust #ilovetravel #writetotravel #travelstroke #travelling #traveltheworld #igtravel #getaway #travelblog #travelphoto #travels #traveller #foodie #travelersnotebook #postcard #travelbug #travelpics #travelquotes #adventure #adventurous #seetheworld #travelbudget #traveltips

A post shared by Travel Memoir GH (@travelmemoirgh) on

Following on from the last point, planning is always important, whether it comes to what to pack, where to go, or how much to budget whilst you travel. First, figure out how much you will need by calculating the costs of accommodation, transport, food, entertainment, and any other potential costs. The website Lonely Planet is useful as each country has practical information like financial costs under the 'practical information' section. You should also add pre-trip costs like travel insurance, vaccinations, and visas which may add more costs than anticipated. Once you have got a rough sum, you now have an incentive to work towards and have a number to work towards which will make you less susceptible to buying stuff you don't really need in order to save for your travels.  By planning ahead, you avoid stress and accidentally spending too much money at the cost of enjoying your trip to the fullest.


4. Staying with friends, Couchsurf, Airbnb

This tip is really about making the most of any potential opportunities which may arise over the course of the year. For example, maybe one of your friends has started an Erasmus, or study abroad programme. This basically allows you to go and explore another country, whilst staying with your friend, hopefully, free of rent. The website Couchsurfing is also great as it allows you to stay with people all over the world who are allowing travellers to sleep in their spare space. This can save you so much money, and, in my experience, provide you with the best stories to tell your friends when you get back. And, you can potentially make a long-time friend through this process who can show you around their country when you arrive. Another alternative is Airbnb where you can stay in budget-friendly rooms in peoples houses and apartments. All of these options can be far more interesting than staying in a hotel, as well as being the cheaper option.


5. Avoid Western food, and eat at local restaurants instead

Eating in local restaurants rather than a westernised restaurant can often save you a lot of money. Whilst it's always tempting to go for the safe option of a pizza, or a burger, sample some local food which is guaranteed to be cheaper than Western food options. Tasting new cuisines can also be a really rewarding joy of travelling, too.


6. Save on foreign currency exchange

Often, withdrawing money in another country will come with extra charges. You may be better off taking out a large sum of money if you don't leave it all in the same place and keep it safe at all times. Sometimes, this isn't always easy though, so in that case, you can get yourself a pre-paid card. You put a sum of money onto the card before leaving the UK, then you can use it as a debit card. This will mean you won't have to worry about theft, and you are prevented from ID theft and fraudulent transactions. In the application, you may between £2 and £7, and ones designed for spending abroad tend to have lower fees involved in comparison to debit or credit cards.